Bristol Federation of Teachers

Contact us at bft1464@gmail.com

— January 18, 2018

AFT Connecticut’s annual Legislative Conference will be held on March 3, 2018 at the Legislative Office Building, Hartford.

 Please join us to learn more about the legislative process and the issues that will be effecting us this session.

Our state federation’s annual conference features planning and discussion of key public policy issues that AFT Connecticut and our affiliated unions will pursue in the General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session.
Registration begins at 8:30AM — conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00AM. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Confirmed speakers:
  • Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman;
  • Comptroller Kevin Lembo;
  • Attorney General George Jepsen;
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney;
  • Six leaders of the House Democratic Caucus;
  • AFT Research and Strategic Initiatives Manager Ed Muir;
  • CT Voices for Children Associate Policy Fellow Ray Noonan & Communications Director Roger Senserrich; &
  • Working Families Party Executive Director Lindsay Farrell;
Issue areas to be addressed (final agenda linked below):
  • Progressive Agenda and Why It’s Important;
  • State Employee, Teacher, and Municipal Pensions;
  • What to Expect This Legislative Session;
  • How the National Dialogue Will Impact Connecticut?;
  • State Budget and Process; &
  • Constituent Group Break-Outs:
    • Healthcare;
    • Education; &
    • State Employees.
Click here to RSVP to attend.
Note: conference will be canceled in event of inclement weather – check back for any announcements to be posted here.
Legislative Office Building

300 Capitol Avenue

HartfordCT

 

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AFT Scholarships Available — January 17, 2018

AFT Scholarships Available

Each year, three scholarship programs are available for members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions and their families. The 2018 application windows for these valuable benefits are now open:
  1. AFT Connecticut awards two $2,500.00 scholarships annually; one to a member for their own higher education and another for a spouse, domestic partner or child of a member;
  2. Our national AFT’s Robert G. Porter Scholars Program offers one-time $1,000.00 grants to union members and four-year, $8,000.00 scholarships to their dependents; &
  3. Union Plus awards grants to members and their families ranging from $500.00 to $4,000.00 each year.
Make your New Year’s resolution to take advantage of these unique members-only benefits for your family and apply for all three today. The first deadline is in two weeks when the Union Plus scholarship application window closes on January 31st.
BOE Hit Pause Button at Meeting — January 4, 2018

BOE Hit Pause Button at Meeting

At last night’s BOE meeting, a presentation of the feasibility study was made by DRA, the firm that conducted the study. There was also public commentary, and a motion made to accept ‘Option 4″ going forward. However, after much discussion among the BOE members, it was decided to delay any decision on the matter. This returns the issue back to the BOE Operation Committee, who can gather more information, reexamine data, and consider other options to bring back to the full BOE for a final decision at some point in the future.

BOE to Discuss Feasibility Study at Tuesday Meeting — December 16, 2017
Closures & Conversions: Results from the Bristol Schools Feasibility Study — December 7, 2017

Closures & Conversions: Results from the Bristol Schools Feasibility Study

What will the the configuration of the Bristol Public Schools look like in the fall of 2022? Continue with neighborhood schools? Convert to K-8’s? A single middle school? That is the decision that will be made by the BOE at the January 3, 2018 BOE meeting.

The four options being considered were developed as part of a commissioned “Feasibility Study” and have just recently been released. You can read the full document here- Bristol Schools Study-FINAL 11-21-2017

The options are…

Option 1 – No Change

Keeps all schools open and makes significant renovations to many schools.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.

 

Option 2 – Full Conversion to K-8 Schools

Converts Chippens Hill to a K-8

Demolishes Northeast Middle School.

Converts Ivy Drive and Mountain View to K-8’s (with building expansions)

Closes Edgewood, Hubbell, South Side, and Stafford.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.

 

Option 3 – One Middle School (NEMS version)

Replaces NEMS with a newly constructed middle school on the same site.

Converts Chippens Hill into K-8.

Closes Stafford and South Side.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.

 

Option 4 –  One Middle School (CHMS version)

Keeps CHMS as is.

Converts Northeast to K-8.

Closes Edgewood and Stafford.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.

“Difficult Students” Workshop — November 22, 2017

“Difficult Students” Workshop

Back by popular demand — our professional development workshop for educators to help positively influence the way we think about what is possible in dealing with difficult students. Union members who are PreK-12 teachers or school support personnel are invited to attend next month’s session:
WHEN: Tuesday, December 12 from 5:00 to 7:00PM.
WHERE: The Soifer Conference Room on the second floor of AFT Connecticut union headquarters, located at 35 Marshall Road in Rocky Hill (plenty of free parking available).
HOW: Click here to RSVP online — there is no cost for members to attend, but please sign-up in advance because a light dinner will be served.
The presenter is our own New Britain Federation of Teachers union member — as well as award-winning author, life coach and speaker — Dan Blanchard. Hear real-life lessons and inspiring stories that he’s shared with audiences of teens, parents and educators.

Click here for more info, including a flyer you can print and distribute in your workplace and local union hall.

I hope you will join us next month in Rocky Hill for this informative workshop.
In solidarity,
Jennifer Benevento

Teacher Tax: A Summary — November 21, 2017

Teacher Tax: A Summary

You may question why CEA and AFT CT opposed the increase in the teacher payroll tax from six to seven percent. That is a fair question, and I want to share with you facts about the payroll tax increase so that we are all on the same page.

 

·         The proposed teacher tax increases teacher payroll taxes from 6% to 7%.

 

·         This would cost the average teacher about $750 per year, and it would raise $38 million in additional teacher payroll taxes.

 

·         This increase does not “strengthen” the teacher retirement fund or add to the fund. It increasesthe share that teachers pay into the Teacher Retirement System, and reduces the state’s share and payment by the same amount ($38 million).

 

·         Not one penny of the additional $38 million adds more to the Teacher Retirement System. All of it replaces and supplants dollars that are supposed to be contributed by the state. By reducing the state’s payment, the state pockets the pass-through revenue of $38 million—just as if it were general tax revenue.    

 

This is unfair for a number of reasons:

 

1.      Teachers are being singled out for a significant tax increase—about $750 per average teacher.

 

2.      Teachers have always paid more than their fair share into their retirement—about 60% of the total costs.

 

3.      In years past, the state underfunded its required payment for the year-to-year costs—which was only 4.5% of salary. Now teachers are being taxed more so that the state can pay less.

 

4.      Teachers have already saved the state and municipalities billions of dollars by having an independent retirement system instead of Social Security—and the savings began in the late 1950s. The state and municipalities would have otherwise paid an additional 6.2% of teachers’ salary in Social Security payroll taxes, or an extra $236 million per year.

 

5.      Teachers have sacrificed and offered other substantial concessions over the years that have saved millions of dollars, including in health insurance, where many teachers have significant deductibles ($4,000), and pay a high percentage of the premium.

 

Some have been caught up in a semantics game of saying the increase in teacher payroll taxes is a “contribution” instead of a “tax.” A payroll tax is, however, a tax. In referring to the Social Security payroll tax, the Internal Revenue Service states, “The current tax rate for Social Security is 6.2% for the employer…” (emphasis added). A payroll tax is a tax.

 

So, to summarize, the increase in the teacher payroll tax in the proposed budget unfairly singles out teachers and does not strengthen or contribute any additional funds to the teacher retirement fund. It simply reduces the state’s payment into the fund. Net result? The state gains pass-through revenue of $38 million paid by teachers, the same outcome as for any other tax increase.

Teacher Stress Survey Results — November 20, 2017

Teacher Stress Survey Results

On Oct. 30, the AFT and the Badass Teachers Association released the results of the 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey. Four thousand educators responded to the public version of the survey online, and another 830 educators responded in a random sampling of AFT members. The survey also oversampled educators from the Solvay (N.Y.) Teachers Association and the North Syracuse (N.Y.) Education Association, which have strong labor-management collaborative environments. The report has already gotten press coverage from USA TodayEducation Week, CBS This Morning and others.

The 2017 survey served as a follow-up to a similar poll the AFT and the Badass Teachers Association conducted in 2015 in which 30,000 educators reported often feeling emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of the day. In the 2017 survey, educators remain highly stressed, with the biggest difference between 2015 and 2017 being the jump in the number of days per month educators said their mental health was not good. In 2015, 34 percent said their mental health was not good for seven or more days in the last month. In 2017, that number climbed to 58 percent among the 4,000 public survey respondents. As a union, we fight for a better life for those we serve and those we represent, and that starts with caring—so educators’ stress is a big concern for us.

Highlights of the 2017 survey:

  • Nearly two-thirds, or 61 percent, of educators find work “always” or “often” stressful, twice the rate of other employees in the workforce.
  • 27 percent of educators said they have been threatened, bullied or harassed, compared with 7 percent of employed adults in the general population. Who was the bully? 35 percent identified a principal, administrator or supervisor; 50 percent said it was a student.
  • Educators felt most respected by their co-workers, students and students’ parents—the people with whom they interact daily—and felt most disrespected by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (86 percent), the media (61 percent), and state and federal elected officials (59 percent).
  • In Solvay and North Syracuse, union-management partnerships focus on developing good supports for teachers, including mentoring programs for new teachers and peer evaluation systems.
  • Educators in Solvay and North Syracuse reported decreased likelihood of very stressful work and decreased likelihood of leaving the profession within the next year. They were significantly less likely to report being bullied, harassed or threatened by a supervisor.

You can read the full survey report here.

We ask that you share the survey report with your members. Please let us know if there any additional ways this information can be made useful to your local. You can tweet about the report using the hashtag #EduStressSurvey.

Our deepest thanks to those who participated in this year’s survey. We will continue to fight for our members and the communities they serve.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten

Free First Aid Course — November 11, 2017

Free First Aid Course

AFT CT is offering a free Basic First Aid course at its office in Rocky Hill. Details as follows:

Join us for a workshop where you
will learn, handson, the steps for
CPR, AED and Basic First Aid.
Would you know what to do in
an emergency, could you help?
With the help of this workshop your
answer will be YES!
Refresher:
11/14 (48pm)
Full Course:
11/16 (47:30pm)
and
11/18 (9am1pm)
Must attend both days.
SPRING 2018:
Refresher:
3/13 (48pm)
Full Course:
3/15 (47:30pm)
and
3/17 (9am1pm)
Must attend both days.
ONLY 20 SEATS AVAILABLE
EACH CLASS
RSVP to 8602579782
A light dinner/lunch will be provided
Union-backed Canidates Win Big In Bristol! — November 7, 2017