MEA - Retired
Jack Ellis wins the Kennedy Center, Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award
Jack Ellis, an active member of MEA-Retired, has just been named as a winner of the annual Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards.
The annual Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards publicly recognize specific teachers by spotlighting their extraordinary impact on the lives of students. The Awards celebrate the teaching profession, the important role of teachers in society, and seek to inspire others to pursue this noble profession. Nominated by students they once taught, these former students' stories exemplify the power one teacher has to inspire others and transform lives. Read about the Stephen Sondheim Award by clicking here.
Mr. Ellis was nominated for this prestigious award by a former student, Cheryle Kahl, who is a 31-year veteran middle school teacher in the Chippewa Valley School District in Macomb County. Ms. Kahl herself was a former Macomb County teacher of the year winner. In her nominating essay, Ms Kahl was quoted stating: “The lessons I learned from Mr. Ellis formed the foundation for my own craft. My teaching norms are based on the mutual respect, I felt in that choir room. The knowledge that we all have value is the credo that shapes my interactions with the young people entrusted to my care. Mr. Ellis changed me. He charged me with the task of finding the talents inherent in each of my students and actively doing something to help develop them.” Read the complete nominating essay by clicking here.
Mr. Ellis retired from the St Clair Lakeview Public Schools in 2001. Jack taught choir, band, and orchestra while spending his entire career with the same school district. Jack has been active in the MEA since 1973, and he continues to be a very active leader within MEA-Retired. Mr. Ellis also serves as the choir director in his church.
Jack lives with his wife Joellen in St. Clair Shores and they are the proud parents of three sons. Their middle son is a middle school teacher, their oldest is a professional cellist teacher at Cornell College in Iowa, while their youngest son works with a variety of rock and roll music groups. The Ellis’ intend to use the substantial award money to take their entire family on a vacation.
CSR's 1st Annual Lobby Day at the Capitol
The Coalition for Secure Retirment (CSR) will host its first annual Lobby Day on Tuesday, April 14 at the Capitol. CSR is a coalition that represents active and retired state and school employees in Michigan who advocate for the protection of public pensions and retiree health care, issues that have become politicized and controversial at the Michigan State Capitol. MEA and MEA-Retired are supportive and active in this coalition.
CSR’s Lobby Day:
April 14, 2015 from 9:00a.m.-3:00p.m - at the Mackinac Room, Anderson House Office Building, 124 North Capitol Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. You will find all other pertinent information on the registration form.
We would like to see a large contingent of MEA-Retired members join their coalition partners at this event. Early registration is encouraged since Grassroots Midwest will be setting up meetings for CSR members with individual Legislators. All are encouraged to participate!
Breakfast & box lunches will be provided. A map for downtown Lansing map can for parking information can be found on the CRS website below.
Registration forms for the CSR-Michigan Lobby Day at the Capitol can also be found on CSR's website: http://www.csr-mi.com/lobby-day-2015.html and on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/coalitionforsecureretirement?ref=hl
House passes bill to let retirees return to teach without penalty, now moves to Senate
The House passed HB 4059 which eliminates a sunset that kept retirees from returning to work without losing their pension and health benefits. Rep. Holly Hughes' bill (R-Montague) will allow school districts to hire retired teachers in areas designated as "critical shortage," as substitutes, or as instructional coaches.
With this bill, a retiree must be retired for at least 12 months before returning to work in a critical shortage area; the retiree can be employed for no more than three years. Meanwhile, the school district must continue to pay for 100 percent of the unfunded liability for the pension and retiree health care.
Retirees who have been retired for at least a month can return to substitute teach can earn no more than one-third of their final average compensation in a calendar year.
In addition to benefiting retirees, the bill will help out school districts that need qualified teachers in certain subject areas. MEA is supportive of this legislation. The bill now moves to the Senate
Please contact your Senator by clicking here.
AFT Michigan Statement on Snyder's School Reform Executive Order
The American Federation of Teachers responds to Gov. Synder’s Executive Order which move the School Reform Office from the Michigan Department of Education (State Board of Education), to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which is under the Governor’s authority..
“Today’s executive order is another example of Governor Snyder ignoring the voice of Michigan's voters by stripping the elected State Board of Education of its oversight authority of the Department of Education's school reform work," President David Hecker said. "Moving an office with an educational focus from the Department of Education, which understands education policy and has expertise to a department focused on budgets is bad public policy.”
Michigan Underfunding Pensions!
Michigan Capitol Confidential has reported that Michigan has underfunded Public Pensions by over $2.2 billion over the past 10 years. They have reported that Michigan routinely fails to fund the annual required contribution into the pension system. The article quotes Michael Sharrow, the superintendent at Midland Public Schools when he stated, ““I have found it interesting that the state of Michigan owns this retirement system and controls all aspects of it and yet the unfunded debt is passed on to the School Aid Fund”. Read the complete article at this address: http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/21095 .
Legislature OKs shifting money from School Aid to pay down budget deficit
The Michigan House and Senate passed two bills that balance the 2014-15 budget through fund shifts and cuts to state agencies. HB 4110 covers K-12, community colleges and higher education and calls for shifting money from the School Aid Fund to the General Fund. HB 4112 cuts money from state agencies and departments. Both bills are now on their way to the Governor for his signature.
HB 4110 replaces $250.3 million in the General Fund with School Aid revenue. A shift of $167.1 million from the School Aid Fund is allocated for community colleges.
The House and Senate Fiscal agencies provide a full analysis of the cost shifts and the impact on the School Aid Fund.
Both bills are meant to deal with a $325 million projected shortfall in the General Fund.
Contact Gov. Snyder and tell him to veto HB 4110