Once again questioned about transparency and expenditures, the ASBA tried to distance themselves and deny responsibility for the actions of the ASEBP:
This is contradictory, considering the ASBA has made it clear that they consider the ASEBP to be a service of the ASBA and changed the rules after thirty four years of operations to require ASBA membership to participate in this benefit plan.
We understand that they did not sign off on the Hawaii trip, but as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation notes in their blog post:
Considering the ASBA seems to be in charge of holding the ASEBP board accountable, is the fox guarding the hen house?
The ASEBP board is made up of five appointees from the ASBA and five appointees from the Alberta Teachers Association (the teachers union). When an Edmonton Public School Boards trustee asked for more information about ASEBP expenses and travel, the ASBA voted the request down.
According to Janz, ASEBP board members created their own policy that encourages each of them to attend one conference per year through their international umbrella org.
(Note to self: come up with CTF policy encouraging me to go to Hawaii every year. Pitch to boss. Try not to get fired.)
So, will the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan board make their per diems, expenses, travel and compensation public? Will the Alberta School Boards Association make them disclose this information? Will the Alberta government make the benefit plan organization subject to freedom of information requests?
Perhaps there’s a perfectly reasonable justification for sending taxpayer-funded ASEBP board members on trips to Hawaii and “significant out-of-province travel” for “professional development.” But that case must be made to taxpayers.
All of this again begs the question: why are school boards required to be members of the ASBA to access the benefits of the ASEBP? Furthermore, Can a School Board Leave the ASBA?
Edmonton Public School Board is not alone in our frustrations. Sturgeon School Division recently wrote in support of repealing rules that require ASBA membership to participate in the ASEBP: