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May 2023 Update #2: May 30

Hello EPEA!

This will be our last regular EPEA Newsletter of the school year, so please engage in our final update that contains wrap ups of this school year, what to expect this summer, and how we will jump start our next school year.

PRESCHOOL MEDIATION:

Our preschool negotiators meet in mediation on May 25th at the Bureau of Mediation Services in St. Paul. As a result of the day, the negotiators brought back a tentative agreement to the EPPEA. The EPPEA held their ratification meeting on Tuesday, May 30th. As a result of the ratification meeting, the EPPEA approved two items:

1) 2022-2024 Contract:

  • Same health contributions as EPEA (Backpaid to July 2022) (L to R: Dominic Kirkpatrick, Theresa Thum, Lindsey McDermott, Andrea Steinberg)

  • Same TSA match as EPEA as of July 2023

  • Lead Stipend of $1000

  • Same summer school/training rate as EPEA ($30/hr)

  • Same "Other Duty" rate as EPEA ($40/hr)

  • Improved salary schedule: +10% (2022-2023) with back pay to July 2022; +4% (2023-2024) until included on the EPEA contract.

2) Move to the EPEA Contract as early as July 1, 2023:

EPEA LEADERSHIP UPDATES:

On Monday, May 22, Rep. Congress unanimously approved the appointment of Charles Cooper as the EPEA Vice President to carry out Nate Gabel's remaining two-year term. We thank Nate for his many years of service to EPEA in his VP role as he fully concentrates on his classroom and family endeavors. Charles will join the EPEA Executive Board with Dominic Kirkpatrick (President), Brent Bovitz (Treasurer), and Jessica Premo (Secretary-elected in Feb) on July 1.

There are still a couple vacancies for leadership positions in the following areas:

1. Site Representative: (2 positions at Oak Point, 2 positions at EPHS)

2. Meet and Confer: (1 position at Oak Point)


LEGISLATION UPDATES:

There is a lot to unpack regarding what came out of the education, labor, and early learning/family bills during this legislative session. Following are some new highlights that impact our work with students (previous updates found in May 17 newsletter):

Unemployment to School Seasonal Workers: bus drivers, food service, paras, etc. can now apply for unemployment in the summer.

QComp: District's currently receiving a pro-rated portion of state aid to fund Q-Comp will now receive full amount of state-aid.

Media Centers: Each student must have equitable access to a media center and the media center must be served by a licensed media specialist.

Paraprofessional Training: Paras are required to have 8 hours of training (6 before school starts) and specific to the population they will serve.

Reporting of class size: School districts must report all class sizes based on grade level to MDE.

Report Hirings/Resignations: School districts must report all hires, resignations, and terminations to PELSB along with the reason for resignation. (Jon Kahle "Being the Union" at State Capitol rally)

Graduation Requirement Changes: science, personal finance, civics, community based service credit, computer science has updates.

Indigenous People's Day: Replaces Columbus Day. Schools that are in session on Indigenous People's Day day are required to observe this day for a portion of the day, including education and recognition.

Active Shooter Drills: Defined in law with specific requirements to follow.

Suicide Prevention: Information for resources must be printed on school IDs and in handbooks, starting in Grade 4.

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Expansion: adding 5200 seats and $50M; this more than doubles the amount of funding for the program.

Topics of Bargaining: Student to staff ratios, student testing, conditions of e-learning days must be negotiated

Continuing Contract Rights: ECFE and ABE teachers now have rights to continuing contract.

Captive Audience: Employers no longer can require attendance at meetings about religious of political matters, such as referendums, school board elections, etc.

Safety Emergency Leave: Employers must now allow at least 48 hours of leave for staff to respond to weather emergency, public health emergency, and/or leave related to domestic abuse, known as "safety leave."

Paid Family Medical Leave (Jan 1, 2026): Up to 12 weeks of paid leave for one of the following or up to 20 weeks if both categories are used in the same 12 month period.

- medical leave, including for pregnancy or recovery from childbirth, and

- all other kinds of leave, that is parental leave, safety leave, caregiving leave, and deployment-related leave.


TAKE ADVANTAGE of MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS:

Whatever summer brings, know that we are here to support you. Below are a few programs that might be helpful as you plan the next few months. 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.

In addition, summer is a great time to review insurance, financial planning and budgeting, especially if you have had life changes such as marital status, job location, home purchases, birth of children, or children moving on to new things. View the Education Minnesota ESI Member Benefits brochure for more information.


WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING WITH QCOMP?: (REPEATED)

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?


CHANGE OF PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?: (REPEATED)

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.

**Timing Note: For those who are still contemplating a resignation from Eden Prairie Schools, state statute allows notification up until July 15 before a teacher can be "held to contract." If you have any timing questions or if life circumstances bump up against this timing, please reach out to Dominic Kirkpatrick for more information.


LOOKING AHEAD:

1) EPEA negotiators will be providing updates of negotiations each week. When necessary, they will be asking for input, attendance at negotiations, testimony, or input regarding specific language to make the right moves at the bargaining table.

2) On August 21, 2023, EPEA will be hosting a New Teacher Lunch for all new staff who fall within the EPEA contract (E-Tassel). Any EPEA members who will be in attendance are asked to wear EPEA gear this day.

3) We have a tentative EPEA Leaders list to provide for the 23-24 school year. If you see a vacancy and you have interest in serving in a role, please reach out to Dominic Kirkpatrick. Meanwhile, over the summer, EPEA Executive Board will be planning out the year to come to provide service and advocacy when and where needed.


Thank you for your support to others during this 22-23 school year. As an organization we look forward to strengthening our resolve, improving our working conditions, and securing a solid future.


Gratefully yours,

Dominic








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