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.