By Victor Joecks, NPRI
No teacher or support-staff professional in Nevada has to join their local affiliate of the Nevada State Education Association. Once they do, however, most can only leave by submitting written notice during the middle of their summer vacation.
An NPRI analysis of teacher and support-staff union contracts around the state found that almost all contain clauses requiring teachers who want to opt-out to submit written notice to their union and/or school district in the two weeks following July 1. Most support-staff employees, including secretaries, librarians, nurses and other staff who keep schools functioning, may also leave their union from July 1 to July 15.
School district contracts for teachers in Carson City and Elko, Douglas and Lincoln counties do not include an opt-out period, although one may be stated on the form teachers sign when they join the union. The Mineral County School District offers teachers the most freedom, because its contract states that a dues “authorization shall continue in effect unless such authorization is formally revoked by the teacher in writing and copies thereof are delivered to the association and the board.”
During the first two weeks of July, most school employees are on vacation, with school-related activities far from their minds — which is why union bosses choose that period: It gives them their best chance to avoid accountability.
But because accountability is important, NPRI is making available generic opt-out letters for teachers in every school district in the state and support-staff employees in the Clark, Washoe and Elko County School Districts — as well as citing some of the many reasons that their fellow teachers opt out of union membership.
|School district||2013 yearly dues||Link to opt-out letter|
|Clark County (Teachers)||$773.88||Link|
|Clark County (Support staff)||$486.48 ***||Link|
|Elko County (Support staff)||$348 ***||Link|
|Washoe County (Teachers)||$710.76 (avg.)||Link|
|Washoe County (Support staff)||$329.40 ***||Link|
|White Pine County||$600.00||Link|
* Letters must be sent to the school district and the union.
** School district did not provide yearly dues amount by publishing deadline.
*** Dues represent 2012 charges
What are the reasons many school district employees leave their unions?
Reason 1: Union officials are paying themselves lavish salaries with dues money from school district employees.
In 2011, the latest year that records are available, the seven highest paid officials with the Nevada State Education Association had an average compensation of $174,354. This included three workers with the job title of “employee.” Those three “employees” took home an average of $171,606 in 2011.