Reconsidering this, I think you are probably right, Steve, about the board's authority vis-a-vis the website.  I was straining to relate this to the experience in Montpelier that I mentioned earlier, but, thinking about it further, I believe that there was a specific law in place about using budgeted funds for the mailing that was done.  On another level, though, I wonder about fair labor practices.  Again, I'm stretching here, but in most cases an employer cannot prevent a union that it has contracted with from posting information in the workplace about union activities, etc..  If information is now typically promulgated via a website rather than a bulletin board, would the union have some right to use that means to deliver its messages as well? 

From: School Information Technology Discussion [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stephen Barner
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 1:53 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: appropriate Website use?

Fundamentally, the school board has a right to control what is published to the school's website, while the teachers association has no such right.  The teachers association may request permission to have information published or to include a link to a separate website from the board, but the board has no obligation to provide same.
It would have been wise for the teachers association to request a link to their own website at some point in the past, when contract negotiations were not taking place.  I suspect it would be a lot harder for them to gain access now.
Steve Barner
South Burlington High School

From: School Information Technology Discussion [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Drew Blanchard
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 7:39 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: appropriate Website use?

It's contract negotiations time in Winooski, and the school's website is caught in the crossfire.  As one of the Website's administrators, I'm now looking at biased talking points from the school board linked on the site's main page, with an angry teachers' union breathing down my neck requesting equal time and space on the site.  I find this whole thing an extremely inappropriate use for our site.  Have any other districts used their school's Website for such purposes?  It feels like an unprofessional "he said, she said" sort of thing, but if it's a commonly accepted use for the site, well, I should smile and nod and keep my mouth shut.   

Are other schools' sites used this way during contract negotiations?

Winooski's main page

Talking points page

Drew Blanchard
Technology Teacher
Winooski City Schools
Normand St.
Winooski, VT 05404
(802) 655 - 3530 x6073

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