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BAS board to consider third-party facility agreement in response to GOP-led criticism of union office

A resolution to explicitly define the usage of Brighton Area Schools’ facilities will come before the Board of Education Monday, created in response to objections of a decades-long agreement with the district’s teachers’ union.

The two-page resolution (found on pages 11 & 12 in the board packet) follows criticism of the arrangement with the Brighton Education Association voiced by Treasurer John Conely at the January 23 board meeting in which he questioned why district officials did not have a key to the room and whether by providing it to the union, they were in fact, providing support for the union’s political activities, which would be illegal.

Conely’s criticism of the arrangement, which district officials said had been in place for approximately 40 years, came just days after Jennifer Smith, the Chair of the Livingston County Republican Party, requested legal advice on the issue in a social media forum. The local GOP then explicitly backed the effort in a news release four days later, publicly cementing the party’s role in leading the effort.

The resolution to be voted on Monday would, among other things, formalize third-party usage including the prohibition of political activity, as well as curtailing the provision of phone service, computers, copiers and printers, without a rental agreement in place. In addition, access to the space would be made available to the district.

When asked how the resolution would impact the current agreement with the union, BAS Superintendent Dr. Matt Outlaw told GIGO News that it simply clarifies the district’s terms and conditions for any third party usage of district facilities.

“The collective bargaining agreement with the Brighton Education Association has not been modified and item 3 in the board resolution states that “Unless a collective bargaining agreement expressly authorizes otherwise, any third party utilizing a district building or district facility space shall comply with the following rules unless expressly authorized in writing by the superintendent or designee,” said Outlaw. “The district has been in communication with the Brighton Education Association on this matter.”

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