Voters pass Prop 104 and shine light on teachers’ salary negotiations

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr Creative Commons

By Natalia Bayona & Natalie Cange

Despite the state legislature’s rejection of Proposition 104 four times over the past decade, residents of Colorado passed a ballot measure on Tuesday that will require public school board negotiations with teachers’ unions to be open to the public.

Prop 104 passed with the support of 70 percent of voters.

All school board collective bargaining negotiation meetings will be open to the public effective immediately after the election, said Ranelle Lang, the assistant dean of the University of Colorado School of Education and a key player in the opposing Local Schools, Local Choices campaign, which fought against the measure.

Because the proposition boasted transparency, she knew Coloradans were likely to approve it. Due to the “misleading language” of the ballot measure, Lange admitted, “it polled very, very well.”

Ben Degrow, senior education policy analyst for the measure’s main proponent, the Independent Institute, thinks the more transparency in our government, the better.

“I think it’s kind of an idea that sells itself because it’s kind of hard to oppose transparency,” Degrow said.

The Sunshine on Government Initiative donated over $300,000 in support of the campaign while the Colorado Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers donated less than $50,000 to Local Schools, Local Choices.

Neither campaign participated in local events on election night. However, the president of the Independent Institute, Jon Caldara, hosted live election coverage from the Hyatt in downtown Denver.

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