(oder Glückwünsche, perhaps?)

We just wanted to take a moment to recognize KEA member Jammie Orth on her being named the Wisconsin German Teacher of the Year by the German Language and School Society of Wisconsin – for a second time!  Where better to be the best in German than Wisconsin?  Congratulations, Jammie!

(and another, technically – no, literally – well, both!)

Congratulations also to KEA member Jennifer Schlie-Reed, the library media teacher at Stocker, who was recognized by the International Society for Technology Education as one of seven “emerging leaders” in the United States.  She was also accepted in to the Google Teacher Academy.  Well done!


Election Results

The Elections Committee would like to thank building/unit ARs for counting their ballots. Congratulations to the elected Officers, Board of Director Reps., and Association Reps: 

Officers (1-yr. terms): 

President – Anne Knapp 

Vice President – Margaret Jeske 

Treasurer – Rebecca Velvikis 

Board of Directors (2-yr. terms): 

Middle School Representative – Write-in election; candidates being contacted. 

Elementary Representative – Colleen Robson 

ESP Representative – Henry Perez  

Association Reps: 

Bradford–Dean Hervat; Reuther Central–Karen Bowman; Bullen–Roxanne Alexander; Lincoln– Melissa Andreoli, Kim Bielewicz; Mahone—Annamarie Albright, LouAnn Pitts; Brass Community— Kimberly George (AR), Heidi Helgeson (Alt.); Cesar Chavez—Mary Jo Farmer; Education Support Professionals—Elizabeth Findlay; Forest Park—Joan Perugini (AR), Sue Brinkman (Alt.); Guidance Counselors—Gayle Clark-Taylor; Harvey—Deborah Schuebel; Jeffery—Mindy Duford (AR), Mary Andrews (Alt.); KTEC—Elizabeth Liddicoat (AR), Heather Waldron (Alt.); Pleasant Prairie—Jill Jensen; Prairie Lane—Jill Riddile (AR), Anne Tiffe (Alt.); Roosevelt—Valerie Ludlow (AR), Kim Solomon (Alt.); Somers—Helena Boles (AR), Scott McDonald (Alt.); Stocker—Steve Hartfield (AR), Jennifer Schlie-Reed (Alt.); Vernon—Sandy Chase; and Whittier—Rada Preston (AR), 

Kathy Prozanski (Alt.). (Due to Constitution amendments approved last week, all elected Alternates will be ARs for their buildings next year). 

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. Buildings with one AR will hold special elections in the fall to elect a second AR. 

Payroll Deduction of Membership and Fair Share Dues to be Restored February 19th

KEA Association Representatives Take Action to Reduce Dues by 20%

With the ratification of the Collective Bargaining Agreements for this year and next, both the availability of having membership dues deducted from your payroll checks and the restoration of non-members being required to have Fair Share Dues deducted are restored.

Given that the KEA budget was prepared at a time when there was no certainty about the level of funding that would be available to the Association, a special meeting of the Association Representatives was called last Thursday, January 30th, to review the finances given the new information.  As it has always been the intention and practice of the KEA to only collect adequate dues to meet its responsibilities, it was possible to reduce the local dues level for this year by 20%, from $447.56 to $358.05.

The ARs only have authority to adjust local dues.  Knowing that all of our members are dealing with the financial strains created by Act 10’s pension and health care contribution requirements, the KEA is in contact with WEAC and NEA as well to see if some adjustment in those dues levels can be considered. 

Thus, at this point is time, annual dues for KEA teacher members will be $848.05.  This amount includes both KEPAC ($5) and KEA Scholarship ($4) contributions, as well as WEAC’s PAC contribution of $19.99.  

Education Support Professionals/Noon Hour Supervisors annual dues level will go from $379.24 to $341.89.  This amount includes both KEPAC ($2.50/$1.25 respectively) and KEA Scholarship ($2/$1 respectively) contributions, as well as WEAC’s PAC ($10/$5 respectively) contribution.  

Adjunct Members: 

Substitute Teachers annual dues will go from 198.74 to $158.99.

Interpreters annual dues will go from $445.00 to $356.00 

Carpenters & Painters annual dues will go from $398.48 to $318.78

Since the 2013-14 contract is retroactive to July 1, 2013, all teachers and ESPs who were members in good standing at the end of last year will again be such this year.  KEA Bylaws provide a window at the beginning of each school year during which members may request their PAC contributions back from the KEA and WEAC.  Also, Fair Share members do not have these dues collected.  Since that window is closed, the ARs also took action to re-establish that window for this year through February 28,2014.  If anyone covered by the collective bargaining agreements wishes to have either PAC monies refunded, or wish to make their status Fair Share, they need to contact the KEA in writing (in-person, by post, or email) by noon on the 28th of this month.

Cash:  Members who paid their full dues by check will be issued a refund.  Those paying by cash installments will have their future amounts reduced. 

EFT deductions:  These will be reduced to equal withdrawals for the remainder of the year to correct for the reduction in dues.

Payroll: We are hoping to adjust the payroll deduction amounts for those who have been paying their dues by payroll deduction into equal deductions for the remainder of the year, but that still needs to be approved with the District.  Otherwise, the difference will be refunded. 

For those who have not yet had their membership dues or Fair Share dues deducted, the annual dues will be collected in equal installments over the next 9 pay periods that remain in the District’s 20 pay period window for such deductions. 

We know this will create stress for those who have not yet considered these payments in their budgets.  This consideration was also part of the reason for the action taken by the ARs to reduce the dues.

Consider the following, however: 

In spite of a School Board candidate’s claim that “teachers were already going to get a $900 bonus,” the District’s actual offer to over 90% -- probably over 95% -- of the staff would have been $794.40, instead of the $1,100 negotiated.  That’s an increase of $305.60. 

ESPs gained an additional $0.75/hour increase over the District’s original offer, worth $987.00 annually.

Without the KEA, you would have been paying 12% of the premium on a more expensive health insurance plan (ESPs at 12% also!), at an additional cost of about $189.00 a year, for a plan with a $2,000/$4,000 deductible, and an 80/20 copay on everything, with no maximum out-of-pocket cap (we leave it to you to calculate how much more in medical expenses that would have cost you last year – perhaps all of them, as we hope that none of you would have reached the $2,000/$4,000 deductible).

Just in direct dollar amounts, that is $494.60 – more than your local dues at the original level.

Finally, you can determine the value of being able to accrue an additional 30 days of accumulated sick leave (a month’s salary), and the stability that contracts bring to the work environment. 

We hope that you, like us, see your membership in the KEA as a very worthwhile investment.

Clinic Grand Opening Wows Guests

On Wednesday, January 29, the grand opening of the KUSD InHealth Clinic attracted curious crowds eager to learn more about the district’s new primary care facility. Over 150 people attended the event, including KUSD Superintendent Joe Mangi, KEA Executive Director Joe Kiriaki, and WEA Trust President & CEO Mark Moody.

“The goal of the clinic is not only convenient access, but cost-effective healthcare,” said Moody.  “This grand opening marks an exciting time in our long-standing relationship with KUSD—we can’t wait for everyone to see what the clinic has to offer.”

Clinic tours show off services

Staff from Interra Health—including your new Nurse Practitioner Ashley Groose—gave clinic tours to guests, showing off the waiting room, state-of-the-art exam room and various student artworks decorating the walls. Visitors were excited by the amount of quality health services the clinic offers, including:

  • Primary and preventive care
  • Diagnosing and treating illnesses
  • Prescribing medications
  • Health promotion and wellness
  • Immunizations
  • Lab tests

Event extras add fun

In addition to the clinic tours, two outstanding student ensembles, the Tremper Golden Strings and an acoustical guitar group from Reuther Central High School, performed at the event. Attendees mingled and enjoyed WEA Trust-sponsored Subway Snack Packs and cupcakes.

The Trust also hosted a raffle, giving away five $25 gas cards and one mini iPad.  Over 75 people entered to win, and Melissa Otwaska won the iPad grand prize. Congratulations!  

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the grand opening, stop by the clinic at 7201 Green Bay Road or call 262-432-2352 to make an appointment. KUSD employees, spouses and dependent children who have WEA Trust as their primary insurance can access clinic services without paying a copay or deductible.

No New News on Long Term Care Insurance

We have had both members and retirees making inquiries about whether or not any further decisions on the future of Long Term Care insurance (LTC – not to be confused with Long Term Disability insurance) beyond June 30th have been made through discussions by the Benefit Task Force.  While the Task Force did meet in mid-January, we were surprised that LTC was not included on the day’s agenda, even though questions and challenges to the proposals on LTC were made at the previous meeting.

At this point in time, all the KEA is able to state is that it is our position that we have two, one-year contracts that include Long Term Care insurance as a paid benefit, and as part of the Health Insurance benefit that accompanies the Early and Early-Early Retirement options.  From our perspective, this means the benefit should be secure for all employees and retirees through at least June 30th of 2015.

We understand that, in terms of the long-range planning of retirees, two years may not seem to be very reassuring, and some may be considering the advantages and disadvantages that accompany “paying up” the plan.  To this question, we can only state that such a decision must be made entirely upon one’s individual financial situation, and one’s feelings of concern if one waits to see what further information becomes available and of the value one places on the plan.

If you are considering “buying up” the plan, the only recommendation the KEA feels it can make at this time, being neither a financial planning agency nor a benefits expert, is that you contact the WEA Trust to get specific information about what the costs would be to do so now and going forward, and use that information in consultation with your financial planner.