1. The local MEA office is seeking volunteers to make phone calls Sunday afternoon. If you believe in Proposal Two (and fear the consequences of failure), consider giving a little of your time to call people identified as YES voters (they will be less likely to hang up on you or worse). If you are interested, reply and I’ll provide more details (the where and when).
2. The administration met with three of us to review the new online evaluation website. We still have many unanswered questions regarding evaluations this year, but the form used last year with five major categories and, under each one, several sub-categories will be essentially the same — just online instead of on paper. The observation “checklist” seems to be more aligned with the categories on the eval. form, unlike the E-Cove observation form that had many confusing categories that were not on the actual evaluation. We still don’t know things like . . . how many observations will we have, how long will the principal observe, how many goals we have to have, how we can use data to demonstrate student “growth”, etc. When we get the answers, you will know.
3. The PEA Executive Board sent a questionnaire to all sitting school board members, along with the two candidates. So far, only the two candidates have responded. Their answers will be provided at our next PEA meeting.
4. Vote. Did I mention that you should vote next week? Well, vote.
5. Do you know what “right to work” means? It means that no one has to join a union. At first, that might sound good. Think of all the things you can do with the dues money you won’t pay. However, once enough people choose not to join, the union can’t afford to stay in business. Once the union is gone, the contract is gone. They can pay you what they want to. They can require you to do whatever they want to. They can change anything you are used to — from class size, to the workday, to the number of nights you must report to work. EVERYTHING in our contract is GONE when our association is gone. Dues are high, but in the long run, well worth it. Did I mention that your insurance is a subsidiary of MEA? When MEA is gone, MESSA goes too.
7. The administration has a new contract form for us to sign. The old contract was one page. The new one is three pages. It contains things that sound really bad to me — I need to have MEA check it out. The new form was created by the Thrun Law Firm and is intended to comply with all new state laws. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to “over reach” in a couple of areas. You won’t see the new form for at least a week or two, and I hope to get some clarity before you are asked to sign it.
8. I met with other county association reps and administrators last week, to approve the “more common” calendar for next year, and review calendars for the next six years. We (PEA) really need someone who works at the K-5 level to join the negotiations team to give the elementary perspective on everything from calendar issues to class size. Please consider joining our team for next spring’s bargaining. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. We were all “first timers” once.
9. You have probably heard this already, but just in case . . . The Office of Retirement Services (ORS) is still taking retirement elections. If you made your choices by last Friday’s deadline, you can change your mind. If you didn’t choose, you still can. Until a court rules on the temporary restraining order against the deadline, the ORS site will be open. I haven’t heard if Parchment met its quota and got the $1000 bonus. I also haven’t heard what they’re going to do with the money!
As always, thanks for doing the great jobs you do with our students. Let me know if you have any questions about the above items or other contract issues. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to vote!