Advocacy Training Meetings & Article by Dr. Henry C. Mabry
Members, if we have any chance for a raise and additional funding for the raising PEEHIP costs, we must demand our legislators to support public education by changing laws in place that hurt us all.
To learn more about the upcoming 2014 Legislative Session that begins on January 14, 2014, make plans to attend one of three Advocacy Training Meetings listed below:
Area I: Seventh Street Baptist Church - December 9, Monday (Districts 1, 2, 4)
708 Seventh Street SW; Cullman 35055
Area II: Dalraida United Methodist Church - December 10, Tuesday (Districts 3, 5, 7)
3817 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery 36109
Area III: Reid State Technical College - December 11, Wednesday - (Districts 6, 8, 9)
Highway 83 & I-65, Evergreen 36401
Janice J. Charlesworth
AERA Executive Secretary
Rolling reserve law locks in losses
Dr. Henry C. Mabry,
AEA Executive Secretary
An estimated $500 million in new money will be available for new spending next year.
This is good news. The bad news is that the Senate Republican leadership wants to sit on this money.
We have already had more education funding cuts than any state in the country thanks to Rolling Reserve Budgeting and now senate leaders want to punish educators again by setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars.
This so-called education fiscal accountability law – the first bill signed into law in the 2011 Regular Session (after a supermajority of Republicans took over the Legislature in 2010) – has literally taken money out of the pockets of our teachers and support professionals.
The amount of money stashed in savings will be huge – potentially $500 million to $600 million.
Not only could the state lower the student/teacher ratio, but money could be used for much needed textbooks, technology, PEEHIP costs, and a pay raise.
Two percent doesn’t ease the pain
ARSEA/APEAL TO SPONSOR CANDIDATE FORUM IN HOUSE DISTRICT 31 SPECIAL ELECTION
ARSEA/APEAL will sponsor a candidate forum for those seeking the House District 31 legislative seat that was vacated when State Rep. Barry Mask resigned from the Alabama House to become CEO of the Alabama Association of Realtors.
The forum is scheduled to be held at the Wetumpka Civic Center on Wednesday, November 20, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 am.
The candidates will be quizzed on their positions regarding retirement and health insurance benefits, cost-of-living adjustments, employee pay raises, and other issues that directly affect state and local government retirees and employees. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit their own written questions for the panel.
Each of the four candidates who qualified for the seat, all of whom are Republicans, have been invited, and they include Tallassee lawyer Michael Griggs; former Elmore County Republican Party Chairman Mike Holmes of Wetumpka; former Wetumpka City Council candidate Frank Bertarelli; and Wetumpka car dealer Jimmy Collier.
The primary election is scheduled for December 3, and if no candidate breaks the 50 percent threshold, a run-off will be held on January 28. The winner will have to run for the seat again next year during the 2014 election cycle.
House District 31 includes portions of Elmore and Coosa Counties. For more information about the Forum, contact our office at 800-844-7732.
AEA's opposition to the Alabama Accountability Act is justified and will continue (Opinion from AEA)
By Anita Gibson
A recent column by John Hilliard criticized the Alabama Education Association for our opposition to the so-called Alabama Accountability Act.
In his column Mr. Hilliard unfairly disparages the AEA for our well-justified opposition to the Accountability Act. Worse, Mr. Hilliard perpetuates discredited myths and the unfounded notion that the Accountability Act benefits the poor and disadvantaged children of our state.
If we truly hope to set fair and effective education policy for Alabama schools, then we must have a fact-based and intellectually honest dialogue about measures such as the Accountability Act and its damaging impact on students and teachers.
So let's set the record straight. Instead of improving public education, the Accountability Act will drain more than $40 million from schools that are already severely underfunded, according to data given to the State Board of Education.
Students in the poorest schools in the poorest districts are, in fact, punished most under the Accountability Act. Ironically, these are the very same children the Accountability Act purports to help. These schools are already deep in the throes of multi-year budget cuts. And now these students and teachers are being forced to make do with even less.
According to its authors, the Accountability Act is intended, among other things, to provide $3,500-per-child per-year tax credits to parents who transfer their children from "failing" public schools to private schools.
In reality, the tax credit provision siphons millions from the Education Trust Fund and public schools. Further, transfers to private school are largely inaccessible to Alabama's poorest families because of tuition cost and geography.
There are some winners under the Accountability Act, however. The winners include for-profit corporations, for one.
Social Security benefits to go up by 1.5 percent
WASHINGTON (AP) - Social Security benefits for nearly 58 million people will increase by 1.5 percent next year, the government announced Wednesday.
The increase is among the smallest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975. It is small because consumer prices haven't gone up much in the past year.
The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a government measure of inflation that was released Wednesday morning.
The COLA affects benefits for more than one-fifth of the country. In addition to Social Security payments, it affects benefits for millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees and people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor.
The amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes is also going up. Social Security is funded by a 12.4 percent tax on the first $113,700 in wages earned by a worker, with half paid by employers and the other half withheld from workers' pay.
TRS Board of Control Retired #2 Election
Election ballots for the Retired #2 position on the TRS Board of Control were sent out October 15. The ballots were mailed to the address on file with the TRS for all retired members currently on the TRS retired payroll. Retirees can vote by phone, internet, or mail ballot. Instructions for phone and internet voting are located on the paper ballot. Votes must be cast before 4:00 pm on November 21. Mail ballots should be sent to VR Election Services in Texas. If you do not receive a ballot, please contact the RSA at 877-517-0020 and ask for the Election Coordinator.
For a sample ballot, candidate biographies, and candidate statements, please visit the RSA website at http://www.rsa-al.gov/About%20RSA/trs-board.html#election2.
- AEA's Henry Mabry criticizes Senate budget chairman for predicting no teacher raises in 2015
- The future of PEEHIP and how it relates to the Affordable Health Care Act
- Education budget makers say no raises in 2015
- States Where the Most People Go Hungry
- Political Advocacy Is a Necessity
- Scenes from AERA’s 2013 Annual District Meetings this summer