What do you stand for? Who will stand with you?
- Published on May 23, 2013
- Written by Scott Farnsworth, Editor
Over the past few weeks, I have focused this column on the issues confronting us and over which, as individuals, we clearly have neither control nor influence. The reason, I am certain is equally clear, is that we are in the last weeks of the school year and a drive to have people commit to membership in the KEA for the new year a mere summer away. I am hopeful that is it also transparent to you just how much more restful and relaxing a time you will find those months – and all that follow – if we can be secure in the knowledge that a strong, united KEA will exist to secure the interests of our profession and public education in that uncertain future. Be assured that, in spite of misrepresentations to the contrary, the KEA will continue to have a crucial role to play.
I would hope that, given the recent update circulated on the future of health care benefits, the KEA’s importance would be obvious to all. If, however, the incredibly healthy “grape vine” that has always existed within the District has been overtaxed of late, be aware of how close we were to seeing a severe degradation to the health benefits provided to employees in this district by an inferior provider to the WEA Trust (which I need not name, as that would be anyone!). Instead, through the insistence of the employee groups on the Benefits Task Force Committee, the District pursued the vastly superior plan reported in the “Updates” report from KEA Executive Director Joe Kiriaki.
This offer provides the School Board with the opportunity to approve a new three-year agreement with the Trust and provide its employees with a much needed sense of security moving forward. Such a decision would provide significant and needed support to efforts to improve employee wellness initiatives and end the panicked use of benefits that the recent period of non-communication and uncertainty had created. The difference between what is proposed compared to “what might have been” can be summed up easily in the simple fact that the proposed plan have a “Maximum Out-of-Pocket” provision – such was limited to only specific costs in the original proposal brought to the committee.
What consideration for a better health benefit could an individual have secured?
I know that I continue to return to the voucher expansion issue, but I must confess that I was oblivious to the full impact of the financial problems such an expansion would create for the District – and every other district in the state (not an exaggeration) – until just this past week. It is a bit embarrassing to admit, but the initial impact of voucher expansion had not been clear to me. It is not just that any students in public schools who decide to switch to a voucher-based private school would drain funds from the public school system – initially, every student who fit the family income criteria, and who are already enrolled in private schools that decided to take vouchers (and, given the current complete lack of accountability or standard requirements, who wouldn’t?) would have that money taken from the state’s public school funding to the district – even though none of those students had been included in the district’s funding allotment before!
Such a loss would be significant (the average is about 1/3 of all private school students would qualify), as is the potential loss from any expansion. Again – just in case you speak to someone who believes vouchers are just fine for Milwaukee – that program costs this district somewhere in the neighborhood of $600,000 a year in lost state aid to help fund the vouchers in Milwaukee. Every district in the state has been impacted for the past 20+ years.
What consideration for these concerns would be given in Madison to an individual voice?
The KEA continues to voice our collective concerns over provisions in the handbook that many find discomfiting, objectionable or illegal. WEAC continues to help fund the efforts to overturn the unconstitutional provisions of Act 10. If either were applied to an individual, how many could hire an attorney to protect their rights? Given the authority vested in the School Board through Act 10, what impact can an individual have on whether a pro-public education candidate wins or loses?
As has been our mantra throughout this membership drive: We can do more together! If you haven’t yet taken the time, fill out your membership forms and join the effort today.
I’m in! Continue Your KEA Membership
- Published on May 23, 2013
- Written by KEA
We all have our own reasons for belonging to the KEA – from professional development opportunities that aren’t available elsewhere to legal help should you be treated unfairly on the job. One thing’s for certain, however: we’re all in it together when it comes to advocating for our students, our profession and KUSD.
If you missed the KEA Membership Social yesterday, it’s still easy to sign up! Ask your Association Representative or any KEA leader for a membership form, or download a form at www.keanow.com . And if you need help or have questions about filling out the form, we’re just a phone call away – 262-654-2127, ext. 10 or 11.
Signing up for continued membership is especially important as we push for an extended contract and deal with handbook issues in the coming weeks. Make plans to continue your membership today – and say “I’m In with the KEA!”
Stop Expansion of School Voucher-Phone Bank
- Published on May 22, 2013
- Written by Kathy Lusiak
There is a proposal in Governor Walker’s state budget proposal to expand school vouchers and use public school dollars to fund private charter schools. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that the expansion of vouchers and private charter schools will cost public school districts millions in lost aid, forcing difficult budget cuts.
There will be a phone bank (with laptops provided by WEAC) at the KEA. They will use predictive dialer to automatically dial phone numbers for the caller (like the phone bank that was used for the elections). If the person called is willing, they can be transferred over to a senator's office to leave a message opposing voucher schools.
If you would be willing to volunteer, or know someone who would be willing to make calls for 1 hour (even a half hour), it would be greatly appreciated.
Here are the dates and times that are available:
Tues. May 28-8:30-6:00, Wed. May 29-8:30-6:00, Thurs. May 30-8:30-6:00, Fri. May 31-8:30-6:00, Mon. June 3-2:00-6:00, Tues.June 4 8:30-6:00, Wed.June 5 8:30-6:00, Thurs. June 6-8:30-6:00
- Published on May 21, 2013
- Written by Kira Fetissoff, Elections Chair
The Elections Committee would like to thank building/unit ARs for counting their ballots.
Congratulations to the elected Board of Director Reps. and Association Reps:
Board of Directors
Senior High Reps (2; 1, 1-year term and 1, 2-year term): Write-in candidates being contacted.
Elementary Reps (2, 2-year terms): Margaret Jeske and write-in candidates being contacted.
Reuther Central – Margaret Wolfers; Tremper – Laura Zajicek-Bagenski; Bullen – Roxanne Alexander; Lincoln M.S. – Kim Bielewicz, Melissa Andreoli, Julie Lange; Mahone – LouAnn Pitts; Bose – Deanna Jansen; EBSOLA – Kira Fetissoff; ESC – Michelle Valeri; Forest Park – Sue Brinkman, Joan Perugini; Harvey – Deb Schuebel; Jeffery – Melinda Duford, Mary Andrews (Alt.); KTEC – Betsy Liddicoat, Christiane Ratzka; Pleasant Prairie – Jill Jensen, Mary Ann Skold; Prairie Lane – Jill Riddile; Roosevelt – Valerie Ludlow, Kimberly Solomon; Somers – Helena Boles, Ann Wojciechowicz; Southport – Michelle Burns; Stocker – Ruth Walls, Jennifer Schlie-Reed; Vernon – Sandy Chase; Guidance Counselors – Julie Mulligan, Michelle Schroeder, Gayle Clark-Taylor; ESPs – Velia Unger, Carolyn Burnett, Mary Jo Farmer.
Note: ARs and Alternates elected by write-in votes will be notified and asked to verify acceptance. Final selection will be determined by number of votes received by each write-in candidate.
GLUE Editor and Webmaster Positions Posting
- Published on May 20, 2013
- Written by KEA
The KEA pays a modest stipend for individuals serving as our GLUE Editor and Webmaster. The duties of these positions are outlined in the KEA Policies, 4100 - Communication Guidelines, Sections B and C. The guidelines also require the posting of these positions in the GLUE on an annual basis.
From the KEA Policies: The GLUE Editor serves a one-year annual appointment, July 1 through June 30. The GLUE Editor is responsible for formatting the newsletter and making grammatical and punctuation corrections when necessary. The GLUE Editor will submit the layout in an appropriate editable format for printing. The GLUE Editor will submit a weekly editorial for each issue of the GLUE during the regular school year.
From the KEA Policies: The Webmaster serves a one-year annual appointment, July 1 through June 30. The Webmaster is responsible for designing, maintaining, and archiving the website at the direction of the Executive Director and President. The Webmaster will maintain an online calendar of Association events. The Webmaster will post the position and opinion of the KEA Officers, the Board of Directors, the Association Representatives, and the members concerning specific issues or problems faced by education and educators at the local, state, and/or national level. The Webmaster will post all KEA press releases online. The Webmaster will submit a monthly report to the Board of Directors and the Association Representative Assembly, including usage statistics and monthly update information.