By next Monday, all signatures for potential ballot initiatives are due at the Colorado Secretary of State's office. At least 86,105 legitimate signatures are needed to put a citizens initative before the voters on November 4, and several efforts are still collecting signatures. One of those is Initiative 124, which would open school-board meetings to a wider audience.
What you could see on the ballot:
Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes requiring any meeting of a board of education, or any meeting between any representative of a school district and any representative of employees, at which a collective bargaining agreement is discussed to be open to the public?
if Initiative 124 passes, any board of education meeting at which collective bargaining is discussed by members of a board of education, school administration personnel or a combination of both, speaking with a representative of employees, would be open to the public. Currently, meetings between school board representatives and union representatives are allowed to be closed -- and neither unions nor school boards are big fans of the proposal.
But Jon Caldara is. Initiative 124 was created as a way to have more transparency in the education system, shining light on a critical activity of school boards. After all, contracts account for about 80 percent of a school-board budget, according to Caldara, the Independence Institute head who's a proponent of the proposal. "We expect good government in the sunshine," he says.
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Critics of the proposal argue that school boards should be able to handle negotiations by themselves. But Caldara points out that a growing number of states have made these processes public, and somehow survived.
Information about all ballot initiatives -- both those still collecting signatures, and the two that have already made the ballot -- can be found on the Colorado Secretary of State website.