GPEA Newsletter

September 2015 Volume 1 Issue 1

President's Corner

School year 2015/16 began with no bomb threats or power outages so we are in a better start mode than last year. I hope this newsletter finds you ready for our school year with a goal of making sure to prioritize yourself and your families while you juggle the demands of your students and administrators. I have been busy this summer with some of our GPEA colleagues working for better (not great) evaluations, working on relevant and timely professional development, advocating legislatively on various fronts, finishing the update on the GPEA by-laws, setting the groundwork for a new GPEA website and attending several conferences at the local and national level.


Overall, we are starting this year with some good news for the GPEA on the financial front and continued struggles locally and nationally for teachers on the legislative front. The rewriting of the ESEA and evaluations for teachers continue to be a hard fought battle across the country especially when it comes to VAM and evaluating teachers and school districts by student test scores. I am watching a law suit out of New York where a teacher is challenging her evaluations that are based on test scores. It will be interesting to see how that resolves - especially when student test scores are now 50% of our evaluation here in Michigan. Additionally, union busting continues to be a main focus this past summer for many legislators. Certainly none more so than current U.S. Presidential candidate, Chris Christie, who indicated that he thought teachers unions "needed to be punched in the face." Obviously, smart people standing together is much harder to deal with than smart people standing alone - so if you are looking for a way to bust up teachers pay, pension and health care benefits you may as well go for their unions. More locally, when it comes to the topic of union busting and cutting teacher's pay, benefits and and pension - you can send your thanks directly to the Mackinac Center!


This year, the Mikesell house has a new Blue Devil and our last Brownell Bronco. They have come home each day this week happy with their teachers and their schools. I thank you on behalf of my children and all of our 8000+ students for your dedication and hard work. You really do perform miracles every day.


L


Laura Mikesell, M.Ed.

President

Grosse Pointe Education Association

A Note From BOE President - Judy Gafa

Board Of Education President Judy Gafa reached out to GPEA leadership in August to extend her thanks and acknowledgement of the hard work our teachers are doing in this district. She specifically referenced the news from the Department of Education that several of our "Focus" schools have been moved off the "Focus" list. President Gafa acknowledged that test scores don't often make much sense but that indicators that our children are learning are always welcome. She sends her congratulations for a job well done!

GPEA Pay Scale for SY 2015/16.

GPEA leadership met with human resources last May to discuss the GPPSS budget and the impact of state funding. Currently there are two things in our contract that can trigger pay cuts - decreases in per pupil funding from the state and MPSERS (retirement) increases. This past year there was a MPSERS increase. After discussion with the GPEA the district chose NOT to trigger paycuts for this school year although it was within their right to do so. We are, therefore, one of the few districts in the tri-county area who are receiving full steps, longevity plus a 1% raise this year. Small potatoes against prior painful financial cuts but considerably better than most. Your GPEA team continues to watch the budget and spending carefully and we continue to look for ways to save money for the district so that we can grow our fund equity. Thank you to Mike Rennell, Chris Geerer, Greg Johnson, Laura Mikesell and our MEA Uniserv Director, Freya Weberman for advocating for us financially and thank you to the BOE Treasurer Brian Summerfield and Human Resources (Jon Dean and Chris Fenton) for honoring our pay raise.

Check Your Pay Stubs!

A reminder to check your pay stubs this weekend under the staff resources home page using the link to the payroll check voucher. If you notice a payment mistake (either in your favor or against) please contact Dean Niforos immediately. In general, we are responsible for overpayment just as the district is responsible for underpayment. We are already seeing incorrect payment issues with coaches stipends this year - please be vigilant. Of note, we have a new payroll clerk Johanna Eaddy-Jones who replaced Sue Moskwa over the summer.

MEA Dues Reduced for SY 2015/16.

GPEA/MEA/NEA dues will continue to be paid through the MEA’s eDues website: http://netforum.mymea.org/eweb/


Dues are set using a combination of your previous year’s salary (or current if you are new) and your employment status (full time 1.0 or part-time 0.8, 0.5, etc). The MEA dues are 1.5% of your 2014-2015 salary up to a maximum of $645. The remaining dues are set based on your employment status. 2014-2015 dues were capped at $1185.30. This year’s dues have been reduced to a maximum of $1,155.69 and will continue be billed over 10 months: September 25, 2015 through June 25, 2016


As a reminder, it is each member’s responsibility – as a condition of his/her employment - to pay their dues in full each month. If your credit/debit card or bank account changes, please update the info on file as needed. If you need to set up a replacement credit card for future payments or have questions about your balance, you can call Sande Nightingale directly at Local 1/MEA at 1-586-228-0100. Members should receive monthly emailed billing statements from the MEA. Please make sure the MEA has your correct home EMAIL address for notification purposes.


If you have questions about eDues, please contact Sheryl Hogan at GPEAOffice@gmail.com or 313-469-8193 or Greg Johnson (North), GPEA Treasurer.

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NEA Representatives Assembly

Dan Quinn (North), Rob McIntyre (Parcells) and Laura Mikesell (Barnes) represented the MEA/GPEA at the National Education Association's Representatives Assembly in Orlando this past July.


The National Education Association Representative Assembly–the RA–is the highest decision-making body within the over 3 million-member NEA. With over 8,000 delegates, the RA is also the world’s largest democratic deliberative body. Over the course of eight business sessions spanning four days, RA delegates debate the vital issues that impact American public education and set Association policy and activities for the year ahead.


If you would like to become more involved with this important work - please contact Laura Mikesell at GPEA2014@gmail.com.

Was This Your Last "First Week?"

If you are considering retirement this year - the district will offer you an early notification stipend of $2000 that will be placed directly into a 403B fund to be paid at the same time you receive your last paycheck. Please notify Human Resources no later than March 1, 2016 to be eligible for the stipend. Also, HR will extend the courtesy of having your yearly evaluation waived.


ORS Pre-Retirement Workshop at the MISD sign up below. These workshops fill very quickly. If you need a location other than the MISD - check the ORS website under Seminars and Tutorials:

http://www.michigan.gov/orsschools/

Click Here for ORS Retirement Workshop Registration

Place: Macomb ISD Date: November 2, 2015 Time: 05:30 PM - 07:30 PM Pre-Retirement Information Meeting for those within 5 years of retirement

FAQ From The GPEA

Will the GPEA be hosting another maternity leave workshop like you did last year?

YES! We are in the process of setting a date with Dean Niforos for early fall. Stay tuned.


Is this a bargaining year?

2017 is when our current contract expires. Your bargaining team will begin to gather information next semester and begin to meet regarding planning, prioritizing and strategy.


Will the GPEA have a website soon?

Yes! With thanks to John Donnellon (Parcells) and Sheryl Hogan (GPEA Office Manager) we should have the website ready to go by October 31.

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