Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | 4:07 p.m.
The Nevada Policy Research Institute is launching another campaign to encourage teachers to drop their union memberships.
The libertarian think tank drew criticism from the Clark County Education Association last summer when it began informing teachers union members of their right to drop their membership between July 1 and July 15. As a right-to-work state, Nevada employees have to right to choose whether to join a union.
The Clark County School District teachers' contract states union members may submit a written "opt-out" letter during a two-week period in July, notifying the district to discontinue automatic paycheck deductions for union dues. Annual dues to the union are $773.
Last year, NPRI sent an email blast to more than 12,000 teachers informing them of the opt-out period. NPRI representatives also distributed a number of opt-out letter templates and envelopes to teachers.
NPRI argues that teachers union dues are used to pad the paychecks of union leaders.
NPRI, which operates TransparentNevada.com, pointed to CCEA's former executive director, John Jasonek, who made more than $565,000 in 2010 while working for the union and affiliate organizations. Jasonek made more than $625,000 in the previous year, according to NPRI.
In response to another email blast last week, the teachers union fired back with its own campaign, warning teachers that "NPRI (is) working against your best interests."
The union argued NPRI was promoting an "anti-education, anti-union and anti-teacher agenda in an effort to reduce government spending." The union also characterized NPRI’s latest campaign as an effort to weaken teachers' collective-bargaining rights.
Following national trends, the Clark County Education Association has been suffering from declining membership, even as it boosted professional development opportunities and lobbying efforts for teachers.
Over the past six years, more than 2,100 teachers have left the union, according to NPRI. Currently, about 10,900 of Clark County's 17,200 teachers are members of the union.