GPEA Newsletter

November 2014 - Volume 5 Issue 1

President's Corner

November has come quickly to the Grosse Pointe Public Schools. In our world of education, falling leaves, long sleeves, jeans and visits to the apple orchard usually coincides with 1st quarter grades, parent/teacher conferences, November elections, and the reminder that Thanksgiving break is just around the corner. With the amount of snow we've had, August seems a long time ago.

This newsletter finds us back in the Snyder camp for four more years despite rallying cries from educators and labor unions statewide. As predicted with a Snyder win, lame duck begins another round of public education potshots. Among others, HB 5111 & HB 5144 target 3rd grade reading retention which significantly increases the stakes tied to standardized tests. Like so many others - this is an unfunded mandate so school districts do not have additional support to meet this requirement. HB 5112 - changes public schools to an A-F rating system, again, based on standardized test scores. As of this writing BOTH have passed the House Education Committee. Am I worried about this? Yes, I am. What am I doing about it? I am beginning to lay groundwork with other education associations to establish a consortium with our like districts that bring together EA Presidents and Superintendents to approach Lansing with a louder and more collective voice. Facing these legislative challenges we would have teacher unions and Superintendents working together. This is in the beginning stages and I am excited be a part of this initiative.

Also, of note, is the passing of our school millage (whew!) and election of two new BOE members and one incumbent who will be seated in January. Margaret Weertz, Brian Summerfield and Ahmed Ismail will be added to sitting board members, Judy Gafa, Dan Roeske, Lois Valente and Cindy Pangborn. The GPEA is committed to working proactively and collaboratively with the BOE as we navigate changes in enrollment and changing funding. All of that remains to be seen as we approach spring, 2015. Rest assured that your GPEA leadership is actively advocating for you on all fronts.

As I try to keep the newsletters of manageable length - the December newsletter will be chock full of the many, many accolades the Grosse Pointe Public Schools have recently received. I would like to end 2014 on those positive notes - so please stay tuned!

Most importantly, as Thanksgiving approaches, I have to say that I am immensely thankful for the great staff I represent every day. Your commitment to this district is of the highest caliber.

My family and I wish all of you and your families a long, restful Thanksgiving weekend!

Laura Mikesell, M.Ed.

GPEA President

FAQ From the GPEA

What does the contract language say about bereavement leave?

  • Leave with pay for up to five days will be granted because of death in the immediate family or spouses's immediate family.
  • Immediate family shall mean: parents, grandparents, siblings, child, grandchild, spouse and stepparents.
  • Days may be taken nonsequentially.
  • You will need to contact your principal/school secretary and have him/her enter this formally for you. Funeral Leave is not a choice in AESOP.
  • At the discretion of the Superintendent, additional days may be granted for other people or extenuating circumstances.

What about a Non-Immediate Family member?

  • You will need to use one of your ten Individual Leave days. (Remember - these are used for individual illness, family illness, funeral leave for non-immediate family members or any other reason you need to be out.)

Isn't the Community Roll Bank supposed to end this year? What's happening with that?

Is someone keeping track of and looking at our sick leave policy?

Your GPEA Leadership is scheduled to begin internal formal discussion on our absence leave policy in the next two weeks. We are looking at ALL the data on our absence/sick leave policy, how members have helped grow fund equity and how members have been impacted. Certainly, discussion regarding the use and future of the Community Roll Bank will also be included. The negotiating team will bring information forward early in 2nd semester

Benefits Of Membership - Your Dues Dollars at Work!

Please take time to check out MEA Advantage to see the full scope of what NEA/MEA/GPEA membership gives you. The MOST important thing is your liability insurance, legal services and employee rights experts. One reality of our job in education is the notion that we are ALL one student accusation away from a professional and financial nightmare. Your GPEA speaks on a weekly basis with our Uniserv Director, Freya Weberman, on all matters regarding employee rights, legal interpretation and legal services. Your dues dollars are working and help is here for you if you need it.

The MEA Advantage for Your Rights

The MEA Advantage for Your Wallet

- See more at:


MEA-LOCAL 1 members who began working after July 1, 2008, or who switched from a defined benefit to defined contribution plan during the election period in 2013 are invited to an information session. This is designed to help you understand your pension and retirement healthcare benefits. Dates & Times below:

  • January 22, 2015
  • 4:15 - 5:30
  • MEA-Local 1 38850 Garfield Road, Clinton Township, MI

Snacks/Drinks will be provided

RSVP: By December 15th to Sande Nightingale (586)228-0100


Chris Geerer and Laura Mikesell, along with Chris Maison (Parcells), were accepted last March to speak on STEM Education at the NSTA Conference - December 2nd-5th. Urgent GPEA business will be handled remotely via phone and laptop. For immediate assistance or representation - please contact your building AR or Mike Rennell (South) on those dates. Funding for attending this conference has been provided by Michigan Tech, DTE, the GPPSS and personal teacher expense. NO GPEA funds will be used for this conference. Chris, Laura and Chris are excited to represent the GPPSS at the national level on the topic of STEM education.