Bristol Federation of Teachers

Contact us at bft1464@gmail.com

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
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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:

http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=16054&jump=5:07:35

(If it freezes, hit pause, then play. Or use this link  http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=16054  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.

CT TEACHERS’ RETIREMENT BOARD
765 ASYLUM AVENUE  2nd FLOOR  HARTFORD, CT 06105-2822
Toll Free 1-800-504-1102    Local (860) 241-8400    Fax (860) 525-6018
“An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer”
Discipline Crisis in the Classroom — February 16, 2019

Discipline Crisis in the Classroom

Below is an email from CEA about HB 7110, AN ACT CONCERNING ENHANCED CLASSROOM SAFETY AND SCHOOL CLIMATE, that attempts to addresses the discipline problem prevalent in so many schools across our state.

BFT President David Hayes was the AFT CT’s representative on the committee that helped shape this bill as it was developed by a coalition of education groups, some of whom are fiercely opposed to the final language, which includes:

  1. A more formal record keeping requirement of disruptive or injurious incidents.
  2. A requirement that superintendents report to the BOE the number of disruptive or injurious incidents in schools, by grade level.
  3. Protection for teachers from discrimination or retaliation for reporting such incidents.
  4. Require the State Department of Education to conduct a biennial survey seeking the confidential responses of school employees (including teachers) and, in a separate confidential survey, from parents about school climate.

Bristol teachers are implored to share their stories of dangerous and disruptive classroom discipline situations by submitting testimony via the link at the bottom. 

Here is the email:

Your voice can make a critical difference in making our classrooms safe places to learn and teach.

Classroom safety and disruptive behavior from students are major problems in our schools but legislators aren’t aware of what’s happening in your classrooms. They need to hear your stories.

The legislature’s Education Committee has just announced that it is holding a public hearing on Friday, February 22, on HB 7110 which would address this incredibly important issue. Full info on the bill is here.

Click here to submit written testimony on teacher assault and get suggestions on what to include in your letter.

With a new legislature, we need to educate our lawmakers on the issue again this year. We’re pushing back stronger than ever and asking you to stand up for safe schools. Even if you were one of the many who submitted your story last year, we need you to do it again.

CEA and AFT CT are making it easy for you to submit written testimony to the legislature—no need to take time off and travel to the Capitol. Please take a few minutes to write a paragraph or two (or more if you have time) and in your own words and experience, discuss why classroom safety and disruptive behavior is a major problem that must be addressed.

Submit your written testimony HERE.

Discipline Issues and Restorative Practices in Bristol — February 15, 2019

Discipline Issues and Restorative Practices in Bristol

On Wednesday, February 20, the BOE’s Student Achievement Committee will meet in Room 36 of Central Office to discuss Restorative Practices, a discipline approach roundly rebuked by much of the staff at schools that have utilized it.

The BFT will weigh in on this issue to BOE members prior to that meeting. Staff members who wish to relay their own opinions or experiences can do so by emailing Commissioner Jen Dube, the Chair of the BOE Student Achievement Committee. Her email is JenniferDube@ci.bristol.ct.us

Click here for an outstanding essay from a teacher who very succinctly explains why more students should be suspended, and how that will lead to less suspensions.

In related news. a bill concerning classroom safety and school climate that is supported by CEA and AFT CT will be introduced soon in the Connecticut Legislature. The bill will be posted here when it becomes available.

 

 

BOE on Track to Have $1 Million Teacher Salary Surplus — February 10, 2019

BOE on Track to Have $1 Million Teacher Salary Surplus

In a year when class sizes stretch to unacceptable numbers (nearing 30 in some elementary schools and surpassing that in some middle and high school classes), the BOE is set to finish the 2018-19 school year with a $1 million surplus in the budget for teacher salaries.

From the BOE Finance Committee meeting minutes of January 14, 2019:

The budget is holding steady. We continue to forecast that we will have approximately $1M in the teacher salaries line available for transfer, and can utilize these monies to mitigate the costs of special education services.

Click here for a letter published in USA Today discussing the impact lower class sizes have.

Had that money been used as intended, and not as a rainy day slush fund, it could have paid for approximately 14 full time educators. Additional teachers could have been hired to open extra sections where class size was unusually high. It could have been used to hire instructional support, or paid for much needed SPED teachers or social workers.

The budget for the 2019-20 school year is being finalized and is expected to be voted upon at the March 6 BOE meeting.

Breakfast With Legislators — February 7, 2019

Breakfast With Legislators

Plan now to participate in one of seven regional meetings scheduled through April with area legislators on AFT Connecticut’s policy priorities for the 2019 session of the General Assembly. The first two take place in six weeks, so RSVP today to make sure your voice is heard:

Central CT –
  • WHEN: Saturday, March 16 from 9:00 to 11:00AM.
  • WHERE: Testa’s Banquet Facility, located at 26 South Center Street in Southington.
Hartford Area –
  • WHEN: Saturday, March 16 from 12:30 to 2:30PM.
  • WHERE: Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, located at 350 Roberts Street in East Hartford.
Click here to send e-mail to sign up to attend — there is no cost for members, but RSVPs help us plan since breakfast and lunch are served.
If you’d prefer one of the other five meetings taking place through April, we’ll be following-up with local area members closer to the dates they are scheduled.
We hope you can join us in showing your legislators that union members expect them to put working families first so all of us in Connecticut can “thrive together.”
More to come, and in solidarity,
 
Teri Merisotis
Legislative Advocate, AFT Connecticut
 
Jim Vigue
Legislative Advocate, AFT Connecticut
Regionalization In Connecticut: A Good or Bad Thing? — February 2, 2019
Meet CT Legislators this Saturday — January 31, 2019

Meet CT Legislators this Saturday

This Saturday, February 2, AFT CT will host its annual Legislative Conference at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) next to the Capitol in Hartford. Here is the agenda. RSVP at the bottom. The greater the attendance of teachers, the greater the focus for education  this session.

  • 9:00 – 9:10 – Welcome and Overview: AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel
  • 9:10 – 9:45 – Social Justice Issues Panel: AFT Connecticut VP Stephanie Johnson, State Sen. Julie Kushner, State Rep. Robyn Porter (invited)
  • 9:45 – 10:05 – Patient Safety Discussion: AFT Connecticut Exec. VP John Brady, AFT Connecticut VP Lisa D’Abrosca, State Sen. Matt Lesser
  • 10:05 – 10:20 – Governor Ned Lamont (invited)
  • 10:30 – 10:45 – State Sen President Pro Tempore Martin Looney
  • 10:45 – 11:15 – Post-Janus Legislation in CT: State Rep. Mike D’Agostino
  • 11:15 -11:45 – Post-Janus Federal Lawsuits: AFT Research and Initiative Director Ed Muir
  • 11:45 – 12:00 – Speaker of the State House Joe Aresimowicz (invited)
  • 12:00 – 12:30 – “Pensions 101” Discussion: CT AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano
  • 12:30 – 1:00 – Lobbying 101 Workshop (for beginners) & Public Hearing Workshop (for experienced activists)
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.
State of Connecticut Legislative Office Building (LOB)

300 Capitol Avenue

HartfordCT