Colorado Education Association Members: Do You Know How Your Dues Money Is Being Spent?

Attention, Colorado teachers and other public education employees: Do you belong as a member (or as a non-member fee-payer) to the Colorado Education Association? If so, how much do you know about how your dues money is used? It’s a good question, isn’t it? If you went to the CEA office, or your local union office, and asked to see the financial records from the most recent fiscal year, what would you find out?

Part of your dues money goes directly to the National Education Association ($158 for full-time members in 2008-09). You can learn about the NEA’s revenues and expenditures by going to this official U.S. Department of Labor site, typing 000-342 in the File Number box at the top, and clicking “Submit”.

But $363 of full-time union members’ money goes to CEA. And you know what? CEA is exempt from the requirement to file the Labor Department disclosure. So is your local association and your local UniServ office – where anywhere from another $175 to $290 per year in full-time dues goes.

To dig a little deeper into this issue, please read the new report Setting the Standard for Pro-Worker Transparency (PDF). And take a listen to this 10-minute iVoices podcast interview with the paper’s author Ben DeGrow:

So have you gone down to the CEA or local union office to ask to take a look at the books? If so, what did you find out? Wouldn’t it be easier to see an annual report filed online with a Colorado state agency – something like the reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor?

November 1-15: DCTA Deduction Opt-Out Window

Denver Public Schools (DPS) teachers and other education employees may join the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) or any other membership organization at any time. However, employees who currently have membership dues deducted to the DCTA (and by extension, CEA and NEA) may only cancel the automatic deduction between November 1 and November 15.

This policy is set by the terms of the negotiated master agreement between DPS and DCTA (PDF) – from Article 23:

At any time, employees in the bargaining unit wishing to become members of the Association may authorize such deduction by filing with the District through the office of the Association, a signed and dated Denver Classroom Teachers Association Salary Deduction Authorization Form authorizing the District to deduct from their monthly earnings and to remit to the Treasurer of the Association, an amount equal to one-twelfth (1/12) of the dues required for membership in the organization or organizations specified in Article 23-2 above.

Such form shall include a waiver of all right and claim against the Board, the District, and the officers and agents thereof, for moneys deducted and remitted in accordance with said authorization; and an agreement that such deductions and remittances shall continue from year to year, as so authorized, unless teachers notify the District through the Association office and on an appropriate form, that they desire to discontinue or to change such authorization. It will be possible to revoke the dues deductions only during November 1 through November 15 of each school year. Only Association revocation forms will be honored by the District. Once a revocation form has been signed and properly processed, no further action is necessary on the part of the employee to terminate deduction of the membership dues. [emphasis added]

Denver teachers and other employees who wish to sign up or to revoke membership may obtain the appropriate form by contacting DCTA at:

Office Phone: 303-831-0590
Office Email:

Below is contact information for Colorado public school employees’ other membership options (click on any email link to send):

Introducing Independent Teachers

The one-stop informational home for Colorado educators who want to know their options is back in business. Here’s a quick tour of what the site has to offer, with more updates and improvements slated to come:

  • About This Site introduces readers to why Independent Teachers was created, and some responses from teachers who appreciate the unique informational service
  • Membership Options gives Colorado teachers a thorough listing of the different unions, professional organizations, and other insurance options available – encouraging teachers to make the most informed choice they can
  • Revoking Membership provides details on when and how teachers can opt out of organizations to which they no longer wish to belong – in some cases, they have only two weeks out of the year to make this decision
  • Political Contributions breaks down which organizations give member money to political campaigns and how much
  • Political Refunds tells teachers who belong to the organizations that give their money to political campaigns how they can get it back, including the different Every Member Option refunds and their deadlines

Your feedback is always appreciated. You may contact us at teacher -at-

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