Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wisconsin Rally, Deducting Dues, Q-Comp and Dayton's Budget

Wisconsin Update and Rally Tonight: This past Friday, public employees in Wisconsin agreed to the compensation cuts in their governor’s budget bill and asked that their collective bargaining rights be unharmed in return.  Governor Walker flatly refused.  It is clear now that his bill is not about balancing the budget, but about eliminating their collective bargaining rights. We are getting a lot of questions about how we can help our Wisconsin colleagues. There is a rally after school today in the Rotunda of our Capitol to support our Wisconsin colleagues - it starts at 4 pm, but even if you are at our late release elementaries, it’s worth the trip down.  Here is a map to the Capitol: http://tinyurl.com/4sus6aq .  About 1000 people have already RSVP’d on Facebook alone, I hope you can make it too.

Deducting Your Dues:  For those of you filing your taxes, remember that you may be able to deduct AHEM dues.  For your 2010 dues paid amount, go to myView and look at your last check from 2010.  Here are more detailed instructions:
  • visit the district website, click the “staff” tab along the top, then click the “myView” link on the left
  • Log in
  • Click the payroll link, select detailed past payments
  • Click on 12/31/10 payment date and scroll down to YTD AHEM Teacher Dues

TRA Elections:  Ensure we continue to have strong teacher voices on our pension’s board by supporting educators when you vote for two positions on the Teachers Retirement Association Board.  You will be receiving a ballot in the mail this month and you’ll see the candidate biographies on the back of the ballot to help you make your choices.  Mary Broderick (president of the St. Cloud Education Association) is up for re-election to the board and has done an outstanding job in her recent term.  Voting is quick and easy (I follow the directions on the ballot to vote online).  Please take a moment to choose those who will be making decisions about our pension.

Q-Comp and Governor Dayton’s Budget:  In governor Dayton’s budget proposal, Q-Comp participation would be capped at those whose applications were approved by the Minnesota Department of Education by February 1st.  This would include our proposal and would mean we could be one of the last districts to be able to participate if we were to vote it in.  The bill proposed by Republican legislators to freeze school salaries would have frozen wage increases except for Q-Comp.  Together, this suggests that there is some level of bipartisan support for current Q-Comp funding, though we won’t know for sure exactly what the funding will be until the end of the legislative session in May.  We have agreement with the district that if the funding were cut, we would not be bound to participate.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Q-Comp Mtgs, Pay Freeze Bill, $20 from Medica

Q-Comp Member Meetings Start Tuesday:  Reminder, our first Q-Comp member information meeting is this Tuesday.  Here are the dates of all the meetings, you are welcome to attend any that fit your schedule:

  • Tuesday, February 8:  Coon Rapids High School, Auditorium (enter door 13), 3:30-4:30 pm and 4:45-5:45 pm
  • Thursday, February 10:  AHEM Office; 10:30-11:30 am and 1:00-2:00 pm
  • Tuesday, February 15:  Jackson Middle School, IMC, 3:30-4:30 pm and 4:45-5:45 pm        
  • Tuesday, February 22:  Blaine High School, IMC, 3:30-4:30 pm and 4:45-5:45 pm 
  • Wednesday, February 23:  Anoka High School, Auditorium, 3:30-4:30 pm and 4:45-5:45 pm          
  • Thursday, February 24:  Andover High School, IMC, 3:30-4:30 pm and 4:45-5:45 pm

Also, you can get more information on our Q-Comp website at www.ahqcomp.blogspot.com  or by emailing us at ahem@anoka.k12.mn.us .

Pay Freeze Bill: You have undoubtedly heard about the bills working their way through the legislature calling for a hard pay freeze for all educators.  Many have asked how they could share the sacrifices those of us in the classroom are already making with their legislators.  To send a message to your representatives, visit http://tinyurl.com/4uxozo4  .  You can use the provided pre-written bullet points, your own stories, or a combination of the two.  When you fill in your address, the site will look up your legislators and address your email to them automatically. In about 3 minutes, you can let your legislator know about the importance of local control in school decision making.

$20 Gift Certificate from Medica:  Grab your Medica card, visit www.mymedica.com , and sign in (don’t worry if you don’t know your password or username – it’s easy to set yourself up if you have your Medica card with you).  Click on the “Health and Wellness” tab and you’ll be asked to complete a short health survey.  Complete it and they’ll email you a link to choose a $20 gift certificate.  I know it works because I tried it a couple days ago and just downloaded my gift certificate (JCPenney was my choice).  From registering to use the site to finishing the survey took about fifteen minutes, and I found some interesting health information on the website to boot.