Tom Tolen /

On Monday, the Brighton Board of Education will consider putting new and severe restrictions on the BAS teachers’ union's use of Brighton Area Schools facilities.

At issue is the contractually allowed utilization of facilities at the high school by the Brighton Education Association, which represents 325 teachers at the bargaining table, for its meetings and conducting other business.

For the past 40 years or so — nobody seems to have the exact date — the BEA has had a high school classroom at its disposal to hold meetings and conduct other business. And until recently, the BEA held interviews of board of education candidates at the high school, which at least one board member contends is illegal.

Board Treasurer John Conely argues that it is “illegal" for a private organization like the BEA to hold interviews in a district building for the purpose of endorsing particular candidates for a position on the board. The proposed resolution is designed to address those questions, and Supt. Matthew Outlaw on Friday told WHMI that, as proposed, “Under section 3b and 4b of the third party resolution, political activity is prohibited.”

Conely also says he has contacted many school districts in and out of Livingston County to find out whether they allow their teachers’ union to use a room in a district building to conduct business and could find no district that allowed such use. Superintendent Outlaw - who inherited the BEA’s allowed use of district facilities from prior administrations — has said the situation in Brighton is unique.

Outlaw recently told WHMI that, in his words, “It’s quite unique to have an exclusive use office for a union within the district.” At the same time, the superintendent said he must comply with terms of the teachers’ master contract, which allows the use of district facilities. The resolution to be considered by the board Monday, which Outlaw told WHMI “was reviewed by legal counsel,” refers not only to the BEA but any and all "third party usage of district facilities”.

Among the new restrictions to be put in place if the resolution passes are: District phone service will no longer be provided for use in any office dedicated solely for non-BAS activities unless a rental agreement is obtained and equipment such as computers, copiers and printers will not be provided for use in any office used exclusively for non-BAS activities.

Also, the third party may not be linked directly from the BAS website unless approved by the superintendent. Likewise, office space utilized by the third party will be accessible to administration, similar to a lock and key method used in the classroom. Regarding access to the third party office space, Supt. Outlaw told WHMI that, in his words, “Building administration now has keys to this office,” adding, "This is important for safety reasons.” Until last week, when the locks were changed under the direction of building administration, only BEA officials had a key to the room.

BEA President Barry Goode could not be reached by deadline for comment on the proposed resolution.

A link to the entire resolution is attached.