April has flown by, and we have great appreciation for all the ways you have shown up to "Be the Union." Please take a few minutes to engage in our latest news and action items.
FINAL CALL: CONTRACT IMPROVEMENT SUGGESTIONS
EPEA negotiators hosted listening sessions for each site during March and April. If you were unable to make the listening session, the negotiators will still want to collect your insights regarding the area(s) of the contract you feel could be improved. Contract idea submissions are welcomed through April 30.
Please use the links below to provide your additional input for contract changes:
UNION WEEK REVIEW:
Thank you to all who participated in the 2023 EPEA/EPPEA Union Week.
Overall we strengthened and supported our community in the following ways:
- 164+ of us recorded our participation during the varied events of the week.
- Contributed over $1300 to the EPEA Scholarship Fund to expand our number scholarship recipients.
- Collected many pounds of food that will help support our kiddos and their families this summer. (Collected this week)
- Gained additional members to the EPEA through conversations and encouragement of current members
- Shared in fellowship with 70+ colleagues.
- Gained 100s of contract improvement suggestions for the 2023-2025 EPEA contract
A special "Thanks" goes to Jess Kast and Joanne Peterson, who planned our week, as well as Amanda Rublein (EPHS) and Matt Long (Tassel) and their students who prepared and delivered our mailbox treasures.
PRESCHOOL STAFF IN MEDIATION:
The EPPEA teachers continue without a settled 2022-2024 contract. EPPEA filed for mediation and have been assigned a mediator. The first mediation session will be on May 25th.
The EPPEA negotiators will be working diligently in the next few weeks to prepare for this next important step.
Please continue to show your support to the Preschool teachers in every way you can.
QCOMP PLAN UPDATE:
For those who desire to keep up on current QComp Plan concern the EPEA has raised with district Admin, here is a brief:
- the approved plan/changes submitted to MDE are not congruent with current practice in EPS.
- EPS has chosen to eliminate the TOSA QComp Coordinator; instead, it has opted to have this be a district admin position (without EPEA mutual agreement or submitting the change to MDE).
- Since the end of February, EPEA leadership has continued to promote collaborative conversations with the end goal of looking at the fundamental reasons EPEA agreed to enter into the QComp Plan in 2006 along with looking at the difference in submitted plans and current practice. In addition, EPEA leadership has asked for the detailed financial reports including complete revenue and expenditure data of the QComp program. Expenditure data has recently been provided, and EPEA leadership is asking questions about some line items.
The EPEA Labor Management team brought the topic to district leaders to study the impact of rejecting the exisiting QComp plan, the impact of moving to a state TD&E plan, and the financial burden both the QComp Plan and the state's TD&E plans have on the district's bottom line. In short, the district does not want the QComp plan to go away, and was the district team was not interested in that discussion.
Despite urging to do so earlier, this week marks the first meeting date for which EPEA leadership and district admin will come together to review the tenants of developing our QComp plan in the four areas of the program that are the cornerstones of the program's 2006 beginnings.
Career ladder/advancement options (teacher leadership positions and responsibilities)
Job-embedded professional development (frequently utilizing teacher leaders and professional learning community structures)
Performance pay and alternative salary schedules
The QComp MOU will likely be a pivotal priority during this round of negotiations and has mutliple ramifications for both teachers and the district. Your negotiations team is exploring all the facets in order to leverage our voice and our desires at the bargaining table. More information will be provided at the May 9th "Digital Prioritization Event."
EDMN RELEASES DATA OF SPED SURVEY:
The challenges facing special educators all over the state resulting from underfunding, excessive paperwork, and 76 percent of school districts not providing any dedicated time within a teacher’s duty day for IEP-related responsibilities is represented in the results compiled by Education Minnesota in a survey given to Special Education teachers all over the state. Please click the file below to view the results of the survey.
POLITICAL ACTION DAYS:
April 27: Pension Reform
For those interested in joining other educators from around the state Thursday, April 27, to lobby legislators to fix teacher pensions, you can Sign up here.
Educators should connect directly with their legislators to set up time to meet with them personally, but Education Minnesota will also have staff available to direct folks and help pull legislators from floor sessions.
NOTE: Legislators will only meet with constitutes who LIVE within their districts.
May 20: Rally for Public Education
One of Education Minnesota and EPEA goals is to get all of our education bills across the finish line. An educator rally on May 20, the last Saturday before session is scheduled to end, will be an action to help demonstrate that goal. This will be one of the final opportunities for members to show decision makers how important investing in educators is right now. More information and register here.
NEA GRANTS AVAILABLE: APPLICATION DUE APRIL 27
All members may be eligible for an NEA Foundation grant for educators! Apply by April 27 to receive a grant from $1,500 to $5,000! Get started today by visiting the NEA Foundation website.
Members are encouraged to apply for one of the three currently available grant opportunities, including Student Success grants, Envision Equity grants or Learning & Leadership grants. Specific information on applying is available via this How to Apply for A Grant video.
WHEN CAN I AFFORD TO RETIRE SEMINAR at the ARB: (REPEATED)
Education Minnesota's partners (ESI Advisors) will be hosting a free retirement planning session/boxed lunch/prizes at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Thursday, June 15. Come for the great information, a free meal, a chance to walk away with door prizes, and then explore the ARB at your leisure the rest of the day!
Spots will fill up fast for this opportunity, so register now to secure your spot! Register using the following link: https://www.cvent.com/c/express/6f7c74fa-29d2-4275-a204-bfac225b8e80
IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION: (Repeated)
For those who are interested, Education Minnesota's ESI Members Benefits offers Identity Theft Protection options to active or retired members. Additional information can be accessed through the document shown below.
Thank you for you continued support of one another, connecting with your site representatives when questions or concerns arise, and embracing all the benefits of membership.... like accessing all the wonderful NEA Benefits and EdMN Perks available to you (pet insurance, travel programs, life insurance, discounts at retailers).
Have a wonderful close to April!