Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MEA Scholarship

Looking for some help with the cost of your child's education? Check out the MEA Scholarship. Last year 24 public high school students and 12 returning college students were awarded scholarships totaling $30,000. MEA sent 10 copies of the application for distribution to Class A and B public high school counseling centers and 5 copies to Class C and D public high school counseling centers. The application is also available at under Conferences and Awards. The application must be postmarked no later than Friday, February 11, 2011. No fax or e-mail applications will be accepted.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The Lame Ducks in Lansing are at it in the time they have left. Dear Staff,
The following note is from Dave Stafford at MEA. Please read it and PLEASE contact your legislators to voice your opinion whether it be positive or negative. We are sending you this note to keep you informed.

However....1. Do not use Groupwise/Kentwood District Email, use your personal emails.
2. Do not use KPS Telephones, use your home or cell.

For easy email contact information please use the links to the left, these are the Lame Duckers and the list will be updated shortly.

From Doug Stafford, Wednesday, December 1.
Late this afternoon members of the Senate and House of Representatives made public their plans to attack teacher and administrator evaluations and the teacher tenure act. The Senate passed an amended version of HB 4410, a bill to change the School Code by inserting almost four pages of language to micro-manage the evaluation process for teachers and administrators. Included in this language is a requirement that at least 45% of the evaluation must be based upon student growth in academic achievement and using standardized test scores when possible. This amended version of HB 4410 was sent back to the House of Representatives where efforts are underway to buy or otherwise convince members to support this bill.

There is also a bill attacking tenure rights that passed the Senate nearly a year ago and is currently in the House of Representatives. Part of the dealing that is going on involves the House amending that bill, SB 638, passing it and sending it back to the Senate. We haven’t seen a copy of the proposed House amendments, but we know they are already drafted and that they will probably involve taking away tenure from employees with no effective recourse against such action; and some form of additional hoops for probationary employees to jump through on top of their current four year probationary period.

As they stand, these two bills closely mirror tenure and evaluation bills about which we sent you a notice before Thanksgiving. In this “lame duck” session they are trying to use HB 4410 and SB 638 to accomplish the same thing as the earlier bills.

Please have your members call their state representatives and urge them to vote NO on HB 4410 and SB 638 if they come up for a vote. Point out to your representatives that:

1) Evaluating and maintaining a professional teaching force is a complex matter. A two day “lame duck” session where late night deals are rammed through the Legislature is not the way to address these critical issues. That requires time, hearings, input from all sides and careful deliberation.
2) Right now, to get votes, all kinds of deals, earmarks and back-room enticements are being offered. This kind of “politics as usual” is not the way to secure and maintain the kind of professional teaching force our children deserve.
3) We believe that these bills will actually slow down the process of removing unsatisfactory teachers and also add substantially to the cost of the process, something that does not benefit the students, the schools, the state or educators.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Do You Really Want Rick's Plan For Michigan Education?

Time is short, you need the facts. Read Rick's plan and decide for yourself. Do you think what he says about the job you do is accurate?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome New Members

Welcome New Members
Kent County Education Association

The Kent County Education Association (KCEA) is inviting all new and not so new association members to a New Member Welcome Night.

New Member Welcome Night is to be held:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

KCEA/MEA Building
Assembly Room
3205 Eaglecrest Drive NE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49525

There will be food and beverages provided for your enjoyment.

The program will consist of Information, Questions and Answers regarding:
MESSA Field Services
The Executive Office

Reservations deadline September 21, 2010 to:
Gloria Klyce, KCEA Field Assistant
Phone: 616-957-1944 or 800-472-7857

We hope to see you there!

Friday, September 3, 2010

MEA PAC Information

MEA-PAC needs your help!

Support candidates who support public education.

Every decision that impacts public school employees is made by an elected or appointed official. That's why it is so important that local associations and individual MEA members get involved and stay involved in the political process.

Your contributions to MEA's political action committee (PAC) help support pro-education candidates in local, regional, and statewide races. If you choose to contribute to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, that money is spent on federal candidates.

Here's the 411 on PAC:
Federal campaign finance laws do not allow for dues money to be used for PAC. The law also prohibits the mingling of dues dollars with PAC dollars, which is why PAC money must be contributed separately.

MEA-PAC money is spent on recommended candidates. Recommendations come from local, regional, and statewide member screening and recommending committees, the MEA-PAC Council, and the state president. In short, candidates are chosen by members just like you!

PAC money is also given to both the Republican and Democratic House and Senate caucuses. Candidates receive support based solely on their positions on issues pertaining to public education and public school employees.

Forty percent of all MEA-PAC money collected is returned to the local coordinating council PAC to support candidates in local races, including school board, city council, and judge races.

NEA PAC money is spent on federal candidates, including president, U.S. senators and representatives. This year, Michigan's 15 representative seats are up for election.

Independent PACs, like MEA-PAC, are limited in the amount of money they can give candidates. For each statewide candidate in a statewide race, such as governor, MEA-PAC can give up to $34,000. For state Senate candidates, the candidate limit is $10,000, and for state House candidates, the limit is $5,000 each.
You can make your MEA-PAC contribution online at .

Thursday, September 2, 2010

MEA Election Recommendations

MEA Votes E-Newsletter -- Sept. 2, 2010
Election 2010: MEA announces recommendations in several statewide races

Our collective political action makes a difference and helps us improve our students' lives, public education, and the education profession. And don't forget: Nearly every decision that impacts students and staff in K-12 public schools, colleges, and universities is made by an elected or appointed official.

So, when it comes to the Nov. 2 general election, we want you to know which candidates support public education. And which candidates are recommended by MEA members who screened them and decided whether to recommend them to you.

Check out recommended candidates at

Sunday, August 29, 2010

PAC Reminder

Our annual PAC drive will once again take place during the social time of our "welcome back" morning, Wednesday, August 31. As you are all aware, this year is as important a year as education has faced in many peoples' lifetimes, perhaps ever. The issues are numerous and have the potential to change education for many, many years to come. We need people in government to hear the concerns of the professionals (us!). Perhaps the BEST way to have a voice is through our PAC. Please consider a contribution. It is for the future of education; our professional future.

To make a donation please come August 31 prepared to:
1) Make a cash/check contribution.
2) Make a credit card contribution.
3) Have monthly contributions electronically transferred from your bank account (you will need your account number/info).

Thank you in advance for your contribution. It is important to education!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Edujobs Money

‘Edujobs’ money will save Michigan school jobs (from MEA Voice Online)

The jobs of an estimated 4,700 Michigan public school employees will be saved this school year, thanks to a $10 billion federal program aimed at stemming unemployment in the states. Nationwide, the jobs of about 161,000 educators will be preserved.

States are busily applying for so-called “edujobs” funds and school employees may have questions about how the money will be spent.

Here’s what we know so far:

How much money will Michigan schools receive from the “edujobs” program?
More than $300 million total.

When will schools receive the funds?
State applications are due Sept. 9. The federal government intends to act on each state’s application within about two weeks after it is received. Governors must make awards to districts on a timely basis after receipt of the funds; Michigan districts will probably receive at least part of the money in their October state aid payment.

When can states apply for the funds?
Applications from states are due by Sept. 9.

How can schools spend the money?
The money can be used for “compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary, educational and related services.”

Up to 2 percent of the funds can be used by the state for administrative costs.

Can the money pay the salaries of non-teaching staff?

Yes. It can pay salaries of many other school employees, including counselors, librarians, secretaries, social workers, interpreters, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational workers, in-service teacher trainers, nurses, athletic coaches, security officers, custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers, and more.

Can it be used to pay the superintendent?
No. Expenses related to the operation of the superintendent’s office or the board of education is prohibited, including the salaries and benefits of administrative employees.

How will the money be distributed to schools?
States will decide whether to distribute the money through Title 1 or their state aid formulas.

Can the money be used for purposes such as equipment, utilities, renovation or buses?

Can the state tell local districts how to use the money?
No. States and local school districts will be required to report how they use the money and how it supported personnel.

Can the money be used to pay for outside contractors?

No. The money can, however, be used to pay for services provided by another public school district.

Will colleges or universities receive any funds?

Can the money be deposited into a state’s “rainy day fund?”
No. States cannot “directly or indirectly” establish, restore, or supplement a “rainy day fund.”

What does MEA recommend that districts do with the money?
The money is intended to keep teachers and other school employees on the job this school year. It would be irresponsible and against the spirit of the law for districts to put these new federal dollars into their fund balances when employees have taken pay and benefit concessions and class sizes have increased due to layoffs.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

School Aid Act

MEA sent this information to local leaders. It is a summary of the School Aid Act.

The Governor signed the 2010-11 School Aid Act yesterday with a few vetoes. You have received updates, but here are all of the important items in one place:

1. All districts will receive an additional $11 per pupil for 2009-10. The money will be distributed to districts in the July 2010 and August 2010 state school aid payment. This has the effect of reducing the cut in the foundation allowance from $165 to $154 per pupil for 2009-10. This is extra money for 2009-10 that the district did not budget.

2. For next year, districts will receive the same foundation allowance that they received in 2009-10. Most districts budgeted an additional reduction in the foundation allowance for 2009-10. The foundation allowance will not be reduced, and will actually be $11 per pupil higher than it was at the beginning of 2009-10.

3. For example – if a district’s foundation allowance was $7,165 per pupil in 2008-09, that district started out the 2009-10 year thinking it would see a cut of $165 per pupil, or an effective foundation allowance of $7,000 for 2009-10. That district will actually receive $7,011 per pupil for 2009-10. That district will also receive $7,011 per pupil in 2010-11.

4. There is no provision to restore the 20j payments in 2010-11. (The section that would have restored up to ½ of the 20j funds if a tax amnesty bill passed was vetoed by your governor.)

5. Declining enrollment, At-Risk, School Readiness, Special Education, Adult Education, and Vocational education categoricals are largely unchanged from 2009-10.

6. The 5-hour online PD requirement is eliminated.

7. Districts are still allowed to count up to 38 hours of PD as instruction if it takes place when students are not scheduled for class. It can occur any time between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.

8. Districts are NOT allowed to count a PD day as an instructional day to meet the instructional day requirement. PD can only be used to meet the instructional hour requirement (1,098 hours).

9. The instructional day requirement remains the same as current law: Districts must provide at least 165 days of instruction in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and at least 170 days of instruction in 2012-13. In addition, districts can’t provide fewer instructional days than they provided in 2009-10. If a district had 173 days in 2009-10, it has to have at least 173 in 2010-11 and beyond.

10. The “30 hours worth” of snow days is changed to the number of days "equivalent" to 30 hours, which for most districts would be between 5 and 6 days. In other words, districts are allowed to count between 5 to 6 days that are cancelled due to uncontrollable circumstances toward the day requirement.

11. A “day” for the purposes of meeting the day requirement is still not defined. In the past, if students came to school, the day counted as an instructional day. So far, the MDE has not published any rules about days having to be at least a certain number of hours.

12. The MPSERS rate increased from 16.94% in 2009-10 to 19.41% in 2010-11. There is no indication that the 3% tax on school employees will reduce this rate.

13. The $500,000 grant for Pontiac Schools that was included in the conference report was vetoed by the governor.

14. The $300,000 grant for a new Agriculture program at Saginaw Valley State University was vetoed by the Governor.

Interesting Tidbits

Interesting information sent via emails to local leaders regarding one of the counties in our state.

"The new (3%) added tax on employees will take $3,000,000.00 out of the local economy.

$3 million dollars that will not be spent at the local grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters and donations to local charities. [This]County has had one of the highest unemployment rates in the State and now we are going to take another hit. If we here in [this county] are going to lose $3 million, what does that mean for the State of Michigan?"

MEA Response:
"It means more than $200 million out of the state economy (perhaps as much as $300 million according to House and Senate Fiscal’s analysis of the conference report on SB 1227). That’s a fact we need to continue mentioning in our communities going forward…it’s a topic we touched on in the immediate aftermath of the bill’s passage (see attached copy of MEA Votes e-newsletter). I think [this] angle on it is a good one to revisit – especially where lawmakers voted for SB 1227, voters ought to be aware what that vote cost their local economy."

We should be asking, How will this impact Kentwood's economy? So should the businesses in our community!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Enough is Enough Rally

Reminder from MEA

June 22, 2010
Countdown to the Capitol

School is out and it’s time to devote your full attention and energy to the biggest pro-education event this summer—the Enough is Enough rally on the Capitol lawn. Continue to make a difference—for your students, your school and your community. Join thousands of MEA members and other public education supporters at the Capitol this Thursday to send the message to lawmakers: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
· Be sure to get to the rally as early as possible to get a good view.
· Red is the color for the day, or you can wear your MEA Proud Union Member T-shirt and fit right in.
· Bring along any signs, banners or flags from your May 24 rally.

Don’t miss out! We’ll be on the Capitol lawn come rain or shine!

Getting there
· If you’re coming by charter bus, you’ll be unloading directly at the Capitol. The buses will then park at Union Missionary Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. After the rally, shuttle buses will take you back to your charter bus.
· If you’re caravanning by car, you can park either at the Lansing Mall satellite lot behind Macy’s or at Lot 89 on the MSU campus. The lot is off Mount Hope Road, right before you reach Farm Lane. Shuttle buses will be there to take you to and from the Capitol. More parking information is available at

Rally schedule
9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Pre-rally events – music and entertainment

11 a.m.
Rally kickoff with MEA Vice President Steve Cook as Master of Ceremonies, Welcome by MEA President Iris K. Salters; You’ll hear from pro-education supporters from A Better Michigan Future, Ann Arbor PTO, AFT-Michigan, legislators, MEA members and students
Special guest – Virg Bernero, Lansing Mayor and MEA-recommended candidate for Governor

1 p.m. Closing

In between the official events you’ll have a chance to:
· Meet with legislators and send a message to lawmakers via cyber-lobbying or postcards.
· Contribute to PAC and take a swing at MEA’s punching bag or pose with “Rosie the Riveter.”
· Sign up to volunteer for Election 2010.

But there’s time for fun, too!
· Visit the “Family Fun” tent for face-painting, balloons and clowns.
· Grab a bottle of water or a snack.
· Get in the running for a new Apple iPad or a Nintendo Wii—you have to be present to win.

And why should you be there?
There really aren’t any excuses for not being on the Capitol lawn on June 24. School is out. The weather forecasts are good. There’s plenty of free, convenient parking. There’s shuttle service to the Capitol. There’s plenty to do for everyone once you get there. There will be refreshments to purchase and stations to take care of all of your needs.

But most important. . .
You need to be at the rally because we aren’t out of the woods yet. The Legislature and the governor aren’t done playing games with school funding and the budget. They aren’t through tampering with your wages, your benefits—your livelihood.

We haven’t heard the last of the Dillon health care plan, or the idea of taking money from the school aid fund to balance the budget.

You need to be at the rally to show that you’ve had enough of the attacks. Michigan students and school employees deserve adequate, equitable and stable funding for public education. This is just the beginning. From the Capitol lawn… it’s on to our communities… to our friends and families, and finally… on to the ballot box in November.

Check out Rally Central at for more details and updates.
See you Thursday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Figuring Retirement, Should I stay or do I go?

FAC, 3 consecutive years highest compensation for MIP, Use 5 years for Basic.
Multiply FAC X .016 ( 1.6%) X Years of Service(YOS) = Annual Pension
Or: FAC x .016 x 30 = Pension Divide this number by 12 to get monthly amount.

If you do not have 30 years, but you have years plus age = 80, then use the multiplier of .0155.
FAC x .0155 x 30 = Pension

If you are Basic, use the Highest Consecutive 5 Years of your pay.

Here is an example for someone making roughly $55,000.

Current 30 Years Now Rule of 80
1 $54,000 $54,000 $54,000
2 $55,000 $55,000 $55,000
3 $56,000 $56,000 $56,000
FAC $55,000 $55,000 $55,000
FAC $55,000 $55,000 $55,000
Multiplier 0.015 0.016 0.0155
$825 $880 $853
Years of Service 30 30 30
Annual Pension $24,750 $26,400 $25,575
Monthly Pension $2,063 $2,200 $2,131
FAC, 3 consecutive years highest compensation
Use 5 Years for Basic

Note: These are just approximate figures, you need to work with the Office of Retirement Systems to get accurate numbers for your data.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Send a message to your Senator!

From Dave Stafford, MEA Communications, late this afternoon, Tuesday, May 4.

The Senate has adjourned for the day without any action on retirement legislation. The conference committee on SB 1227 has not reached agreement on a compromise, but its members are still talking to each other. Despite what you may have heard about “deadlines” for action, the issue is still alive.

Therefore, please keep messages from our leaders and members going to members of the Senate. Our message is the same as it has been.

The MEA believes the House version of 1227 is good for our members.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rally Dates

There are two important rallies coming up that require a strong turnout. The first one is on Monday, May 24 at 6:00 p.m. This rally is being held in our own house, so we expect a very large number of KEA and KESPA members to attend. We need to show the community and the press that we feel the issues surrounding education in Michigan are important enough for us to gather together. A poor turnout would indicate that we aren't concerned enough to sacrifice our time for a rally. Is that the message we want to send? NO WAY!! So mark it on your calendars and plan to attend.

The second important rally is being held on Thursday, June 24 in Lansing at the State Capitol. As more details become available, we will post them here. Carpooling ideas will be posted here as well.

Rally Dates
Local rally: Monday, May 24 6:00 p.m. at EKHS field or auditorium (depending on weather conditions)
Statewide rally: Thursday, June 24 at the State Capitol in Lansing

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Hardiman, Bill Kentwood 29 Republican (517) 373-1801 (517) 373-5801 305 Farnum Building


Interestingly, Senator Hardiman does not have an easy email link!!!! Any Questions?

Jansen, Mark C. Grand Rapids 28 Republican (517) 373-0797 (517) 373-5236 520 Farnum Building


Kuipers, Wayne Holland 30 Republican (517) 373-6920 (517) 373-2751 1005 Farnum Building


George, Thomas M. Kalamazoo 20 Republican (517) 373-0793 (517) 373-5607 320 Farnum Building


Birkholz, Patricia L. Saugatuck Twp. 24 Republican (517) 373-3447 (517) 373-5849 805 Farnum Building

E-mail Address:

Bishop, Michael Rochester 12 Republican (517) 373-2417 (517) 373-2694 S-106 Capitol Building


To find any others click here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

BREAKING NEWS, Some Good, Some iffy, Some Yet to Come.

From Jeanne Hewitt, KEA PAC Chair: 10:51 A.M. 2/18/2010
The Dillon proposal is sunk!!!! Yeah, thanks to all of your efforts and the number of calls to the negative, it failed to come to the floor.

I have a direct line into the ORS and they will let me know the minute any action is taken on the proposal set forth by Granholm.
If the retirement proposal should pass, members will only have from April 15 to May 15 to make up their mind and put in an application for retirement.

The state, as it stands now will vote on the House speaker Bishop plan to lower your wage for 3 years by 5 %. We don't know how this will affect schools that have already reduced wages of their employees.


Follies Time

Get your act together! Or at least organize your school to make a donation. Mary Molyneux has been working hard on the show. Remember it is for a GREAT cause, and the scholarships that we give out truly make a difference.
The Follies, March 27th! Be There or Donate!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Public Employees

MEA Votes E-Newsletter -- Jan. 20, 2010

Just say NO to balancing the budget on the backs of public employees -- again!
Senate Republicans and their leader, Sen. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), want to solve the state's budget crisis on the backs of public employees -- again.

This week, Republicans unveiled a 10-point plan that includes measures to cut wages by 5 percent for all public employees and require public workers to pay 20 percent of health insurance premiums -- ignoring the fact that school employees alone have saved the state almost $1 billion during the past three years through concessions made locally.
This plan is the Senate GOP's lame entry into a broader effort to fill an estimated $1.6 billion hole in the 2010-11 budget. Legislators on both sides of the aisle are considering major reforms, and Gov. Jennifer Granholm is reportedly also working on several initiatives, including tax reform.There's no doubt that the state budget is a mess -- it has been for a decade. This year's gubernatorial and legislative elections are likely to make this year's budget process even more rancorous.

But before proposing more cuts to police and fire protection, schools, or other vital public services, lawmakers must consider how to get the revenues necessary to provide services that citizens need -- especially strong public schools to prepare students for the jobs Michigan needs. One place to look for such revenue is by examining tax breaks for businesses; currently, too little is known about how effective these incentives are and whether the promised jobs ever materialize. According to the Pew Center, last year Michigan gave away $6.3 billion more in tax exemptions, credits and deductionsthan it actually collected in taxes -- if only some of those programs are found to be ineffective, their elimination would fix part of this huge budget hole. (For more on real solutions, read the next item on "A Better Michigan Future.")
In addition to public employee wage cuts and mandatory health premium payments, the Senate Republican plan calls for up to $663 million in additional education cuts, including a proposal to require competitive bids for all K-12 non-instructional services. The other ideas include further cuts to state departments, Medicaid, and local police and fire. None of these so-called "reforms" fixes our decade-long budget mess, because Sen. Bishop and his colleagues refuse to address the real problem -- Michigan's antiquated tax structure.

Contact your state senator -- especially if they are Republican. Call or write your senator insisting that they oppose the Republican leadership's cuts-only plan because it would devastate -- not help -- tens of thousands of Michigan families and the communities where they live.
Stay tuned for more information on the 2010-11 budget -- Granholm is expected to present her budget proposal next month.