Budget Forum with Legislators

Some state legislators are holding citizen budget forums this week, and they need to hear from teachers. Some budget proposals currently being considered threaten public education and teacher pensions.

If you live or teach in New London, East Hartford, Stratford, Hartford, Wallingford, Cheshire, or Southington please attend a forum and share your views about how these plans would hurt students and teachers. (See times and locations below.)

The two plans being considered would:

  • increase teacher contributions to pensions by 30% (from 6% to 8% of salary); and
  • shift state costs for teacher retirement plans onto cities and towns, resulting in higher property taxes and cuts to local public school funding, layoffs, larger class sizes, and fewer resources for communities across the state.

Tell your legislators to keep their promise to teachers and not balance the budget on the backs of students and teachers. Legislators should not put the future of our children at risk. Here are the top 5 points to stress to your legislators:

  • Create a budget that works for all of us and invests in public education.
  • Oppose a cost shift because it raises property taxes and cuts local school budgets.
  • Avoid any increases or taxes on teachers’ retirement contributions.
  • Teachers do not receive Social Security.
  • Teachers have done and continue to do their part and pay their fair share—especially compared to other states—and should not be the scapegoats for the state’s failure.

You may also share with them the following:

  • Connecticut needs an identifiable, stable, and reliable source for funding the state’s constitutional obligation to provide educational opportunity to all of Connecticut’s public school students.
  • Be fair, responsible, and transparent in decisions affecting the state budget and state funding for our schools.
  • Create a budget that examines new revenue sources to address continued deficits and the state’s chronic underfunding of our public schools.
  • Connecticut’s teachers are dedicated professionals who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The teaching profession is in jeopardy.
  • Enrollment in state teacher preparation programs is down more than 30% and schools are facing shortages in key subject areas.
  • Connecticut needs education and budgetary polices that attract people to teaching rather than discouraging them from entering the profession.

Please speak with your legislators and share these facts with them, as well as your own personal stories.

Legislators have scheduled the following budget forums this week.

New London State Budget Forum
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
5:30 p.m.
New London Public Library Community Room
63 Huntington Street, New London

Stratford Town Hall Meeting on the State Budget
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
6 p.m.
Baldwin Center
1000 West Broad Street, Stratford

Wallingford Budget Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
4 – 5:30 p.m.
Wallingford Public Library
200 North Main St, Wallingford

East Hartford Citizen’s Budget Workshop
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
Raymond Library
840 Main Street, East Hartford

Cheshire Budget Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Cheshire Town Hall
84 Main St, Cheshire

Hartford State Budget Forum
Thursday, July 13, 2017
5 p.m.
West Indian Social Club
3340 Main Street, Hartford

Southington Budget Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, July 13, 2017
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Southington Town Hall
75 Main St, Southington

NEA RA Delegates Call for Increased Accountability for Charters

Teacher delegates in Boston voted to approve a new Policy Statement on Charter Schools. It reinforces NEA’s support of efforts to limit charter growth and increase charter accountability, and slow the diversion of resources from neighborhood public schools to charters.

Actor, director, and author LeVar Burton received the 2017 NEA Friend of Education Award.

Click here to read more on CEA blog

URGENT: Medicaid and Our Students

Call now to save Medicaid for our students!

Our students need your help. Among all the dangerous consequences this new “healthcare” bill will have, one of the most alarming is how it will completely dismantle Medicaid. Republican senators are feeling the pressure from your calls, and have been forced to push the vote from this week until after the July 4th congressional recess. We must keep the pressure on.

Here’s what’s at stake:

More than a third of all children in America receive their health insurance through Medicaid, but for our students and their families this isn’t only about insurance. Medicaid provides $4 billion per year for healthcare services in our nation’s schools – that’s vision and hearing screenings, physical and occupational therapy for students with disabilities, and other critical services that keep our students healthy and ready to learn.

You don’t have to take my word for it. On Monday the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this bill will end Medicaid coverage for at least 15 million people, including millions of our students, over the next 10 years.

Click here to call your senators right now, and demand they vote NO. Even if you think they’re definitely voting for the bill, or definitely voting against, and even if you’ve already called – every last senator needs to keep hearing from their constituents on this.

If this bill passes with these Medicaid cuts, it will endanger our nation’s children and affect millions of students’ education. Take two minutes and call.

– Lily

Lily Eskelsen García
President
National Education Association

CEA Summer Leadership Conference – July 31-August 2, 2017

CALL NOW: Dangerous Healthcare Bill

A small group of Republican senators have been working behind closed doors to take health care away from millions of American families. Details are starting to emerge and, like the horrible bill that recently passed the House, the Senate bill will radically cut Medicaid and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
They are trying to rush through a vote NEXT WEEK without any chance for public input or hearings. We can’t let that happen. Right now is the time for you to speak up.
This plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is just cruel. It would slash and cap Medicaid, and as many as 24 million Americans of all stripes, including educators and their families, will lose their care or find themselves suddenly unable to afford coverage. They will create all of this suffering while giving massive tax cuts to the extraordinarily wealthy.
Please make a call today. Senators have told us their phones aren’t ringing, even with a vote rapidly approaching on a bill that would make such a huge difference in the lives of millions. Your senators need to hear from you. Our students, educators, and communities are depending on us to stop this.
Lily Eskelsen García
President
National Education Association

End of Legislative Session – A Message from CEA

The legislative session ended last week without a new state budget, prompting a special session this summer to address the issue. We expect to face some fights in the coming weeks, as legislators negotiate budget plans behind closed doors, not giving us an open dialogue regarding proposals. That means we won’t have a lot of time to react and take action.

We need to be ready to fight back against any proposals that attack teachers, disregard the needs of our students, or ignore the resources our public schools require.

The state should not balance the budget on the backs of students, teachers, and communities. But some legislators’ schemes involve shifting the cost of teacher retirement to cities and towns, increasing teacher contributions to our pensions, and other harmful proposals. These proposals mean less money for our schools, higher contributions from teachers, and higher property taxes.

From teacher pensions to cuts in education funding, we know politicians have all of us in their crosshairs. We must be vigilant to ensure that legislators don’t try to pass a budget that would negatively impact us.

I know that school will be out within days and that you are looking forward to some well-deserved time off. But I encourage you to stay connected to each other, to your local Association, and to CEA.

Please be ready to take action immediately when we reach out to you so that collectively we can urge legislators to put the needs of public education ahead of politics.

When we reach out to you, please be sure to read our emails and take a stand by making a phone call, sending an email, or meeting with your legislators. I need you—and every one of our colleagues—to stand up for our students and our profession.

There is truly too much at risk to do nothing or to rely on someone else to do it for you.

Keep Your Promise Rally Postponed

Given the uncertainty and continually changing elements of the state budget, we are postponing our Keep Your Promise Rally scheduled for May 18.

More budget proposals are expected in the coming days, and we will review and update you on how these will impact education funding and teacher retirement.

Our thanks to all of you for your advocacy and willingness to fight for what is right. There is much more work to do before the session ends on June 7.

Watch for a call to action from CEA in the coming days and weeks, as we stand ready to fight against any attacks on our students, our profession, and our future.

We need you to continue to join with your colleagues in engaging your legislators on these important issues.

We are stronger together.

CEA Summer Leadership Conference

This year’s CEA Summer Leadership Conference will be held July 31 – August 2, 2017 at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center. Each local association may send up to eight free attendees this year. Please contact your Local Association President prior to registering to determine if you are eligible to attend at no cost. If you do qualify, you have the following options to register:

Your Local Association President can register you; or
You can self-register via the CEA website at www.cea.org under Upcoming Events. If you choose to self-register, please use the special code given to you by your LP so that no charges are incurred when you register.
If no free spots are available, please reference the SLC brochure for paid options.

New this year – One Day Conference Option – Wednesday, August 2.

Please view the Summer Leadership Brochure to view your training and overnight accommodation options prior to registering.

Keep Your Promise Rally – Thursday, May 18 at 5:00PM

The state’s fiscal crisis is getting worse. Connecticut’s income tax receipts are nearly $500 million lower than expected, raising the state budget deficit to $4.9 billion.

Where will that money come from? Education and teacher retirement funds?

We can’t let that happen.

We need you to attend the Keep Your Promise Rally on Thursday, May 18, at 5 p.m. and let your voice be heard.

Our message to the governor and state lawmakers is Keep Your Promise: Fund Our Retirement. Fund Public Education.

Get on a free CEA bus to the Rally at the State Capitol. Join your colleagues and speak out to protect our pensions, our students, and our future.

 

From CEA: We Will Rise UP

Next week on May 1st in cities, towns, and communities across the country, activists will Rise Up to demonstrate the power, resistance, and strength of a social justice movement that is gaining strength and influence by the day. Change is happening – in town halls, in school board meetings – and in the streets of America.
Will you Stand in Solidarity with your fellow educators, students and communities?

  

NEA is partnering with community groups and activists across the country to “Build Schools, Not Walls.” Educators will join together with neighbors, friends, and allies to raise awareness, educate, and mobilize. We will Rise Up to ensure that we have welcoming schools that support immigrant students and their families. We will Rise Up to speak out against hate and bias. We will Rise Up to demand the resources for schools and opportunities for all students no matter where they live or what they look like.

Every School a Sanctuary 
 
Want to do more? Marches, Walk-ins, Rallies, and Town Halls are happening all around the country. Click here to find an action near you.
Are you organizing a May 1st Rise Up event? Tell us about it.
 
We can’t wait. We won’t wait. – Education Justice Starts Here.
 
Thanks,

The NEAEdJustice Team