April 9 SREA Newsletter

Education Staff Professionals, Don’t Be Left Behind!

Last week Santa Rosa EA filed for an election to challenge SRPE for the bargaining rights for teachers. So why were Education Staff Professionals not included?

While SRPE and the district have historically negotiated one contract including teachers and support staff employees, it is important to understand that the teachers and ESPs have separate certifications on file with the Public Employees Relations Commission. In order to conduct a challenge election for both groups, Santa Rosa EA required to have at least 30% of the teachers sign Showing of Interest cards and it must obtain at least 30% of the cards for the support staff employees in a separate count. So while Santa Rosa EA had collected considerably more than 30% of the cards signed by teachers, it must have at least 30% of the support staff employees signing cards to conduct a separate election.

While there are plenty of signed Showing of Interest cards from Education Staff Professionals, we still need to reach 30% of the entire group – and then some, in case some who have signed cards are no longer employed in or have retired. Santa Rosa EA has no plan to leave you behind, but we need to have more employees submitting cards before we can move forward. If you have not signed a card or know someone who would, please complete the card (please fill out the correct form – the top is for teachers and the bottom for Education Support Professionals), and send it one of two ways:

1. Mail to Santa Rosa EA, P.O. Box 723, Milton, FL 32570
2. Email us at [email protected] to arrange for your card to be picked up at your worksite

Bargaining Update – Mediation fails, now what?

Last Monday, a federal mediator met with the SRPE and District bargaining teams for nearly 6 hours to attempt to resolve the current dispute. The end result, unfortunately for nearly 2,500 employees, is that no agreement was reached and the process will move forward to a special magistrate hearing scheduled for May 11. After the hearing there is a 30-day period – if neither party asks for an extension – in which the magistrate will issue nonbinding recommendations, causing the teams to meet again to try to reach agreement. This likely will happen after school is out. Should there still be an impasse, the parties will advance to the final step, the Legislative Hearing. In this step, the legislative body – the School Board – will hear arguments from both sides and impose a resolution. From that point both sides will have to ratify all items, which might have to wait until school resumes in the Fall. So if all steps are exhausted in this process, it is very possible that final resolution, ratification votes, and payment of retroactive increases (if any) could occur after school begins in August.

Every other local association in the region has come to agreement for 2016-17, some over a year ago. Most bargaining teams all already preparing for 2017-18 negotiations and having to wait this long is unacceptable. It’s becoming clearer every week – It is time for Change, not more of the Same! Read the PNJ story.

VALIC to Provide FRS/DROP Seminar to Teachers and Education Staff Professionals

VALIC, one of Santa Rosa EA’s special benefit providers, will be conducting informational seminars this week regarding Florida Retirement System Plans and DROP Options:

  • Tuesday, April 11th, 2:45 – 3:30 PM or 3:45 – 4:30 PM at West Navarre Primary, or
  • Wednesday, April 12th, 2:45 – 3:30 PM or 3:45 – 4:30 PM at Bennett Russell Elementary

Call (850)477-4014 to reserve a seat for this important seminar!

Santa Rosa EA Listening Tour continues

Have you ideas you’d like to share to make our organization stronger? Do you have ideas for the next contract? Would you like to tell us what you think your union should be doing? If so, we would love to hear from YOU! Santa Rosa EA has been holding listening sessions across the district to hear what you think and what you want from Santa Rosa EA. In the past two weeks, we have visited Jay Elementary, Jay High, West Navarre Primary, Holley-Navarre Intermediate, Gulf Breeze High, and Avalon Middle to hear from you! Be on the lookout for the Santa Rosa EA listening tour coming to your worksite soon!

State News

Senators moving toward reducing assessment tests
A sweeping plan to reduce standardized testing in Florida’s K-12 schools cleared its first state Senate committee Monday, after lawmakers struck a compromise to blend competing reform proposals. Despite political drama last week that delayed the policy discussion, senators breezed through vetting SB 926 and passed it unanimously after considering most of the amendments — all but two out of the 19 filed — in less than 15 minutes. “I know sometimes, with the public, it looks like we rushed through this and we went through a lot of things in a short amount of time,” said Sen. Anitere Flores, who sponsored the bill. “But this is the result of not just working together in the last week, but working together over the last several months.” Her revised proposal represents an acknowledgment by lawmakers this year of the flaws in the state’s education accountability system, such as over-testing or duplicative testing that has frustrated parents and educators.Many of the changes approved Monday incorporate ideas first proposed in Montford’s testing bill, SB 964. Those include eliminating end-of-course exams in geometry, Algebra II, U.S. history and civics; allowing school districts to use paper-and-pencil exams instead of computerized tests; and, repealing a controversial formula to evaluate teachers based on their students’ year-over-year growth on exams. Read more HERE

National News

What the Charter School Industry Can Learn from Enron – Before It’s Too Late
A similar web of for-profit entities, hidden transactions and shady accounting may soon engulf the charter school sector.