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MAY 2023 Update #1: MAY 17

Happy May, All! With sunnier and warmer weather returning, it is hard to not think of our wrapping up of the school year. Still, there is still much on our minds from the legislature and negotiations fronts. Please take a few minutes to stay up-to-date with EPEA happenings.



WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING WITH QCOMP?:

So you have heard some buzz about it, but you are not totally clear on what is happening with our QComp plan-- Please watch the video to get you up to date:

- What is the QComp Plan?

- Why is there a conflict?

- What EPEA is doing?

- What possible ramifications exist for the future?



PRIORITIZATION OPPORTUNITY:

Did you miss the window for the "Prioritization Event" opportunity to provide feedback for negotiations? If, so, please use the following link to get your thoughts recorded. The negotiations team will be meeting soon to see what trends exist and set the language and financial proposals on behalf of membership. The team of negotiators will monitor what moves the legislature completed and review the feedback membership provided in order to make informed decisions moving forward.


CHANGE OF PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?:

For those who are taking a leave, retiring, resigning, or moving to another part of Minnesota, you may want to consider looking into either a reserve or retired EdMN membership. These memberships will afford you advocacy and benefits for those who are retired or on leave and who want to remain informed and/or covered by liability insurance when/if choosing to sub.

A retired membership is perfect for someone who has been with EdMN for at least 10 years, as no cost of dues will be assigned. A reserve membership is perfect for someone who is on leave who wants to retain legal service access for employment-related concerns and field staff services when needed.


PRESCHOOL MEDIATION:

Please surround your preschool colleagues with support as they enter into mediation on May 25th.

These dedicated teachers push for respect for their contributions, a voice in their working conditions, and a salary that reflects their work/education.

Please pass on your well wises, good vides, and strength as they engage in this next process.




LEGISLATION UPDATES:

Much is happening with the MN legislature right now. Yesterday the House passed its HUGE education finance and policy bill. It moves on to the Senate where it is expected to pass. Here are some highlights from the omnibus bill:

  1. An approximately 11 percent increase to the state’s financial support for E-12 public education in the first two-year budget and a 15 percent increase in the following two years.

  2. An increase to the state’s per-pupil formula of 4 percent in the first year of the budget and 2 percent in the second year of the next budget.

  3. An automatic inflationary increase to the state E-12 education budget of 2 percent to 3 percent each year starting in 2026. If this had been in place years ago, schools would have never faced the underfunding issues we've experienced in the last decade.

  4. An unprecedented funding increase for school-based mental health and student support personnel, with $30 million annually in the first two years for nurses, counselors, workers, psychologists and other student support jobs. Dedicated state funding will increase to $60 million a year in future budgets.

  5. A one-time investment of $135 million to give hourly educators, such as education support professionals, access to unemployment insurance during the summer. This will provide these educators with the same economic security as other seasonal workers, including construction workers. Minnesota will be the first state in the nation to offer this benefit to its hourly educators on an ongoing basis.

  6. Millions of dollars in programs to increase the number of teachers of color and teachers licensed to work with students with special needs.

  7. Full-service community schools would receive a $7.5 million boost for two years and then $5 million per year in the future.

  8. Expanding topics of bargaining to include staffing ratios in public schools. The bill doesn’t set a specific ratio of students to educators, but it does require a conversation during collective bargaining about how to meet students’ needs.

  9. Permitting teachers with Tier 1 licenses to join the same bargaining unit as teachers with higher-tier licenses, making it more likely that teachers with Tier 1 licenses will receive employer-paid professional development and higher compensation.

  10. Providing the same continuing contract and due process protections for early childhood and adult education teachers as K-12 teachers, which should lead to increased compensation and more professional respect for those who teach our districts’ youngest and oldest students.


BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP:

If you have not already done so, please check out the NEA Benefits and EdMN Perks available to you (pet insurance, travel programs, life insurance, discounts at retailers). Each season additional promotions, discounts, and offers are available for members, which results in savings to our personal budgets. EdMN has many discounts to state and metro area attractions for the summer months.


As always, thank you for continuing to "Be the Union" in your support and advocacy for items related to our working conditions and our contract. Please reach out to your site leader as your first level of support.


Gratefully yours,

Dominic








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