ON-Lion Letter
Many Colorado school districts grant release-time privileges to local employee associations.  Exercising these privileges, teachers and classified employees are excused from professional duties to serve extended periods as association officers or to spend particular days performing various association-related activities -- often subsidized by public funds. 

Although many school districts and ultimately taxpayers foot the bill for the net cost, little or nothing is done to ensure the underwritten absences serve basic educational purposes, according to a February report from the Independence Institute in Golden, Colo., Colorado Schools and Association Release Time:  Making the Privilege Accountable and Transparent to Citizens, by education policy analyst Benjamin DeGrow.

"Because state and local tax dollars provide the bulk of school district funding," DeGrow recommends in the report, "stronger policies at both levels should be considered to address the problems and end abuses ...."

Specifically, among other things, he recommends clearly stipulating "in policy that association release time shall be used to benefit the educational mission of the district" and indicating "in policy which activities are restricted for association release time on classroom days."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee suppports the Independence Institute.
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