Bristol Federation of Teachers

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HB 7110 Revised, Advances in Legislature — March 28, 2019

HB 7110 Revised, Advances in Legislature

HB 7110, the bill addressing Classroom Safety, has been moved out of the Education Committee with a unanimous vote, but with revision. After intense opposition from the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and certain other groups, gone is the portion that would have required superintendents to report dangerous and disruptive incidents to Boards of Education on a monthly basis. While this is an unfortunate loss, the bill, if passed, will still established a legislative foothold to build upon and strengthen in future years.

You can read the updated version of the bill here.

A Fix for Student Discipline? — March 25, 2019

A Fix for Student Discipline?

Student Discipline, and the lack thereof, has been the primary concern for teachers in Bristol the entire school year. To that end the BFT would like to offer a possible response.

BOE Student Discipline Policy is 5114 (along with Appendix A and B) and can be accessed via the CABE web site.

Policy on School Climate, very lengthy and revised in July 2018.

Language regarding student discipline in the BFT contract can be found here, in Article 28.

Teachers at each school building are advised to review these policies with colleagues. If sufficient staff feel that the policies are not being adhered to by administration at a particular building, a grievance can be filed. BFT officers are available to assist in this effort.

Further reading:

Suspension Reform is Tormenting Schools“, City Journal, December 2017

What Do Teachers Really Think about School Discipline Reform,” Education Writers Association, December 2018

Is School Discipline Reform Moving Too Fast?” The Atlantic, January 2018

Educators Worry Schools Are Botching Student Discipline Reform,” January 2017

Teachers Pre-Retirement Seminar in 3 weeks — March 17, 2019

Teachers Pre-Retirement Seminar in 3 weeks

PreK-12 Teachers’ Pre-Retirement Seminar

 Saturday 04/06/2019 – 8:00am – 12:00pm
Dues-paying members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated PreK-12 unions thinking of retiring this year are invited to the one and only retirement seminar they will need. The presenter is retirement specialist Mark Egidio, who will help attendees make the right choices and fully understand their Teachers Retirement Board (TRB) plan benefits.
Registration opens at 8:00AM. Continental breakfast is provided.
Click here to register to attend.
Note – due to limited seating, there will be a $10.00 (per attendee) REFUNDABLE deposit to hold seats. After registering online or by phone, make checks payable to “AFT Connecticut” and send to:
  • AFT Connecticut, 35 Marshall Rd, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.
Despoit checks will be returned at the registration desk the day of event, so ensure name is clearly written on it. Checks will also be returned to those that cancel prior to 24 hours before event.
Auditorium, H.C. Wilcox Technical High School

298 Oregon Road


Tomorrow – Meet Local Legislators — March 15, 2019

Tomorrow – Meet Local Legislators

Tomorrow is your chance to meet up with local legislators and engage them in discussion on education matters and pending legislation such as Classroom Safety or Consolidation.

Having a good turnout will not only enlighten legislators about what it is like in the trenches, but make them more favorable inclined to vote on issues of importance.

Questions? Contact Teri Merisotis at 860 257 9782 or

Saturday, March 16

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Testa’s Banquet Facility

26 S Center Street, Southington

HB 7110 Update — March 7, 2019

HB 7110 Update

A few brief items in relation to this bill:

  1. Bristol Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato has co-sponsored the bill.
  2. The Education Committee is trying to bring various groups to consensus on the bill’s language.
  3. An article appeared in the Hartford Courant about the bill today, with minor mention of Bristol teachers.
  4. Some studies used by opponents of the bill are a 22 year old study that shows a racial disparity in discipline rates but does not identify cause, and one concerning the community context.  There is also a 20 year old study that finds having disabled students (not highly disruptive or dangerous) included in a regular education class does not impact the education of the other students.
AFT Campaign “Fund the Future” — March 4, 2019

AFT Campaign “Fund the Future”

The walkouts and funding fights in states such as West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma, and cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, have been inspirational. What connects all these fights is the failure of politicians to fund our students’ future, which is why educators, parents, students and their communities are standing up with a clear message: We’re not going to accept underfunding and scarcity.

The AFT’s Fund Our Future campaign begins March 4, with events continuing throughout the month. Educators and our allies across the nation will be taking action to demand adequate and sustainable investment in our public schools, colleges and universities, so students—particularly our most vulnerable and at-risk children—have the resources they need to succeed.

You can join us right now by letting Congress know that it’s time to fund our future.

The Great Recession decimated school funding, and 25 states still spend less on K-12 public education than before the recession. Similarly, in higher education, 41 states still spend less. Years of disinvestment have hurt our students and faculty and led to overcrowded classrooms; schools without nurses, librarians, guidance counselors and supports to ensure children’s well-being; deteriorating school buildings with outdated teaching materials and technology; and unhealthy, unsafe environments. The testing fixation, coupled with austerity, has meant the loss of instruction in the arts, music and other programs; and disinvestment has led to huge increases in tuition and student debt as well as fewer course offerings and full-time tenured faculty.

And for the states that have made strides—we need to support that trend. In those states, we’ll focus on sustaining that commitment to fund our future.

Our campaign is not one size fits all— it’s tailored to different funding needs and issues. But the goal of Fund Our Future is the same everywhere: ensuring that the public schools and colleges that embrace all of our children have the funding they need to provide the opportunities students deserve.

This means that in addition to the state and local campaigns, on the national level we’re calling on Congress to:

  • Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
  • Fully fund Title I;
  • Increase investment in school infrastructure;
  • Secure real operating funds at the national and state levels to counteract the disinvestment in our public colleges and universities; and
  • Forgive outstanding student loan debt in keeping with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Teachers want what students need. Indeed, we are grateful that many bills have already been introduced to meet these needs. We’re fighting to prioritize these needs because every student deserves a fully funded public education.

The first step is telling Congress: Enough is enough. Write your members of Congress today, and tell them to fund our future now.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President

Teacher Pre-Retirement Seminar — March 1, 2019

Teacher Pre-Retirement Seminar

We are coordinating another pre-retirement seminar for AFT Connecticut-affiliated PreK-12 union members in six weeks — we want you to plan ahead if you’re thinking about retiring soon:
WHEN: Saturday, April 6 from 9:00AM to 12:00PM (registration opens at 8:00AM).
WHERE: The auditorium at H.C. Wilcox Technical High School, located in Meriden at 298 Oregon Road (plenty of free parking available).
HOW: Click here to RSVP to attend — a $10 per person fully refundable charge is required to hold seats.

Click here for more info, including a leaflet to share with fellow union members.

If retirement is in your near future, plan now to join us in April in Meriden for this informative event.
In solidarity,
Jennifer Benevento
Professional Issues & Development Coordinator, AFT Connecticut
Student Discipline Crisis – Update — February 23, 2019

Student Discipline Crisis – Update

Bristol Teachers, after reading this update, please take a moment to add your own written testimony in support of HB 7110 by clicking here. Bristol residents of the 77th district can also contact Cara Pavalock-Damato, who is a member of the Education Committee. Ask her to support the bill and pass it out of committee.

On Friday, the Education Committee of the Connecticut Legislature held nine hours of testimony on all education bills that have been proposed, including HB 7110, the bill that addresses Classroom Safety.

BFT President David Hayes, who served on the Classroom Safety Working Group that was convened by the SDE in the summer and fall of 2018 to develop the language in the bill, was present and gave testimony that can be viewed using this link:

(If it freezes, hit pause, then play. Or use this link  and go to 5:07:35 into the stream to go directly to Hayes’ testimony followed by most testimony focused on HB 7110)

The verbal testimony was a summation of the written testimony, which can be read in its entirety here David’s Testimony for HB 7110

The complete list of all those who submitted testimony so far can be found here. Several Bristol teachers are among the participants!

An article summarizing Friday’s verbal testimony can be viewed here.

You can follow progress on the bill here.

Governor Lamont Proposes Pension Changes — February 20, 2019

Governor Lamont Proposes Pension Changes

Late yesterday, Governor Lamont unveiled several proposals impacting pensions for teachers and state employees that are part of his first-ever legislative budget package. These so-called “structural reforms” were a significant focus of the speech he delivered this afternoon to the General Assembly.
We want to address the three of the greatest concern to union members like you.
First, the governor proposed changing how cost of living adjustments are calculated for retired members — both current and future — of public employee unions. Any such charge would require formal negotiations with the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC); leadership quickly and publicly refused to re-open the current contract.
Second, he has recommended shifting more of the state’s pension obligations for members of PreK-12 teachers’ unions to local municipalities. The share would be less than what his predecessor proposed; still, it’s an unfair approach that threatens fiscal instability for school districts across Connecticut.
Third, the governor embraced a plan to stabilize the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) by “smoothing out” future payments to the fund. That is what makes this approach good, not just for our union members, but for all taxpayers in Connecticut.
The bottom line; we’ll be calling on you in the coming days and weeks to add your voice to our collective efforts to stabilize and protect retirement security for all. We hope we can count on you to both support proposals that work — and resist policies that don’t — for working families like yours.
More to come, and in solidarity,
Mike Barry
Vice President for Public Employees, AFT Connecticut
Steve McKeever

Vice-President for Pre-K-12 Teachers, AFT Connecticut
Jan Hochadel

President, AFT Connecticut
Important Notice for Teachers Retiring — February 18, 2019

Important Notice for Teachers Retiring

Important Notice of Change Regarding the State Teacher Retirement Board (STRB)’s Voluntary Account/Annuity Purchase
February 13, 2019
Effective immediately, the Teachers’ Retirement Board is taking the following corrective action with respect to the administration of the Voluntary Account.
Effective February 13, 2019, the STRB will no longer accept funds into the Voluntary Account via direct rollovers or lump sum payments EXCEPT under the following conditions:
1.      The transfer of funds was initiated with an existing vendor in possession of the funds on or before February 13, 2019 and received by the TRB on or before March 15, 2019
2.      Teacher has filed a retirement application with the TRB on or before February 13, 2019. If the teacher has notified his/her local board of education in writing by February 13, 2019, that he/she will retire on or before August 31, 2019 and has not filed an application for retirement with the TRB, the retirement application must be filed with the TRB on or before February 21, 2019;
3.      Teacher must retire on or before August 31, 2019;
4.      These funds will be used solely for the purchase of the STRB’s annuity upon retirement on or before August 31, 2019.
The STRB will continue to accept funds deducted from your salary by your employer on an after-tax basis into the Voluntary Account subject to limits under federal and state tax laws.

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