The Word - 2009/10/09

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of October 9, 2009

CSEA MEMBER MEETING

CSEA’s Autumn Quarter member meeting will be held Wednesday, October 21, from 3-4:30 PM in FR 104.

The agenda will include discussion of issues related to semester conversion and increased enrollment, as well as election of officers, Association Representatives, and delegates to the OEA Representative Assembly. Drawings will also be held for the four faculty who will have half their dues paid this year by choosing to be continuous payroll deduction members. Refreshments will be served, and door prizes awarded.

We encourage all CSEA members to attend, share your insights, express your concerns, and vote.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE PARKING LOT FLU?

A 17% increase in enrollment is in some ways a nice problem to have, and faculty and staff have remained flexible and innovative in dealing with the influx of thousands of new students. But with the temporary overflow parking at Fort Hayes Career Center about to be discontinued, CSEA is concerned about how the administration intends to deal with the still unaddressed problem of insufficient parking.

The parking situation has had a noticeable impact in classrooms, at this point much more than any strain of flu. Students who recognized that extra time is needed to find a parking space are coming as much as an hour before their classes begin, only to find themselves driving around for an hour or more seeking a space and still being late for class. Missed quizzes and exams, partially completed labs, and other parking-related issues (including some students simply giving up and returning home without attending class) are creating problems that to date make absences from the flu a minor concern.

A commuter campus that attracts students with the promise that classes can be fit into difficult schedules does its students a disservice by not providing adequate parking. This has been a growing issue over the past several years, and now it’s a critical one . Past assertions by the administration that there is adequate parking in remote lots ("but students and employees don't want to walk that far") are no longer plausible (and were unfounded anyway). The administration needs to be planning for even higher enrollments next quarter, during months when dozens of parking spaces are often lost due to the mounds of snow that get plowed into the corners of parking lots.

If the College can prepare for pandemic flu and require employees to devise contingency plans to address a flu outbreak and large-scale absences, it also needs to address conditions that are keeping healthy students out of CSCC’s classrooms.

CONVERSION TO SEMESTERS

The Ohio Board of Regents has directed all state colleges and universities to convert their academic calendars to semesters by 2012. Career and Technical faculty are wondering how they will need to realign programs of study to line up with restructured courses providing general education requirements. Arts and Sciences faculty will need to reconfigure an entire range of course sequences. Financial aid and record-keeping processes will need to be completely overhauled. Every aspect of the College’s operation will change within 3 years.

The work required to convert 2,000 or so courses from quarters to semesters will be immense. CSEA has presented the administration with a proposed agreement regarding this conversion. Our proposal is entirely reasonable, is not unlike what faculty and administrations at other colleges going through this process have agreed to, and will be communicated to all faculty once we receive a response from the administration.

PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH COMMITTEE TO BEGIN WORK

Trustee Susan Stilson Edgar, appointed by the Board last March to form a search committee for candidates to replace Dr. Moeller when her contract expires in June, will convene the committee’s first meeting later this month. In addition to representatives selected from throughout the college, we have been informed that the 15-member committee will include 4 trustees and 3 faculty members.

FLU SHOTS AVAILABLE ON IN-SERVICE DAY

Flu shots will be available to all employees on In-Service Day, October 28. If you plan to receive an H1N1 flu shot later, you should plan to have this standard flu shot now because the two flu shots can not be administered at the same time. To make an appointment for your shot on the 28th, contact Wellness Coordinator Nichole Bowman-Glover at nbowmang@cscc.edu.

PROPOSED CHANGES WITH STRS

As you've likely read in various publications and/or mailings, the STRS Board has put forward several recommendations to address the issue of inadequate revenues to fully fund projected retirements. A summary of the five changes being recommended follows (with some commentary included):

1. Increasing the employee contributions by 0.5% each year between 2011-2015, bringing the employee contribution from 10% to 12.5% by 2015; then increasing the employer contributions by 0.5% each year between 2016-2020, bringing the employer contribution from 14% to 16.5% by 2020.

There is a great deal of concern that all of the increases fall initially on the employee, prior to any increases on the employer.

2. Beginning in 2015, base the final average salary (FAS) on the five highest years of earnings, instead of the three highest years of earnings.

Assuming that the highest 5 years of earnings are one's last 5 years of earnings, and annual salary increases ranging from 3% to 5%, this change alone has the effect of lowering the FAS for an individual by between 2.9% to 4.6%, which would in turn reduce EVERY year of retirement income by the corresponding percentage.

3. Beginning in 2015, increase the years of service and age requirements for retirement. The recommendation is to essentially increase the age & number of years of service requirement for unreduced benefits by 5 years. For example, currently one can retire at any age with 30 years of service credit; the proposed change would require 35 years of service credit. Currently, one can retire at age 55 with 25 years of service credit; the proposed change would be at age 60 with 30 years of service credit. And currently, one can retire at age 60 with 5 years of service credit; the proposed change would be at age 65 with 5 years of service credit. Members could retire earlier than this, but with a reduced benefit.

4. Beginning in 2015, the benefit calculation would be changed to 2.2% for the first 30 years and 2.5% thereafter. Currently, the benefit calculation is 2.2% for the first 30 years, 2.5% for the 31st year, 2.6% for the 32nd year, 2.7% for the 33rd year, etc., along with an enhancement in year 35.

This change would reduce the benefit calculation slightly in years 32-34, and significantly in year 35. One concern is that, by no longer offering the 35-year benefit enhancement, more teachers will retire earlier, thus simultaneously reducing the contributions going into the system during those years (which are typically one's highest paid years, and thus the years they contribute the most to STRS) while at the same time pushing more retirees onto STRS's health insurance plan earlier than they otherwise would be.

5. Beginning in 2011, those who are already retired would receive 2.0% cost of living adjustments (COLA); those who retire after 2011 would receive 1.5% COLA. Currently, the COLA is 3.0%.

The STRS Board has indicated that without some change to the COLA, the defined benefit plan cannot be sustained.

The STRS Board has indicated that without some change to the COLA, the defined benefit plan cannot be sustained.

OEA has indicated their concerns about the recommendations, and continues to work on the behalf of its members. As OEA has pointed out, changes of this magnitude should not be considered in a rush. The timeline laid out by ORSC did not allow sufficient time for retirement boards to reach consensus-based solutions with its stakeholders. Employees, employers, and retirees have a shared responsibility for improving system funding. Changing retirement eligibility rules on those who are in the latter stages of their career is not acceptable. Employees can be afforded adequate time to plan without compromising system funding.

OEA does not support the plan approved by the STRS Board. Some of the changes go too far, and the plan as a whole places a disproportionate burden on active teachers. Changes in retirement eligibility could be phased in over a longer period of time. Additionally, the tiered COLA benefit being recommended by the STRS Board causes material equity issues and will lead to a "rush to the door."

Individual members of the STRS Board have indicated that the Board is swayed by communications from STRS members. Please let them know your views. A general email address that goes to all Board members is: board@strsoh.org.

Individual members email addresses are as follows:

Mark Meuser: mmeuser@hotmail.com

Connie Ramser: ramserc@strsoh.org

Taiyia Hayden: haydent@strsoh.org

Tim Myers: tmyers@bright.net

Carol Correthers: corrothers@strsoh.org

Jim McGreevey: mcgreevyj@strsoh.org

Bob Stein: steinb@strsoh.org

Regina Burch: burchr@strsoh.org

Craig Brooks: craig_brooks@sbcglobal.net

Steve Puckett: steven.puckett@ode.state.oh.us

In the near future, we may be asking that you also contact your state legislators regarding this. Again, we hope that you will take a few minutes to try to affect change now, for something that will eventually impact all of us.


The Word is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Darrell Minor, President/ x5310
Amy Brubaker, Vice-President / x5068
Judy Anderson, Secretary / x5453
Phil MacLean, Treasurer / x5308
Kevin James, Parliamentarian-elect / x5008

Steve Abbott, Senior Association Representative / x5096
Gil Feiertag, Senior Association Representative / x5861
Beth Barnett, Association Representative / x2593
Liz Betzel, Association Representative / x5329
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Bill Cook, Association Representative / x5364
T.J. Duda, Association Representative / x5309
Cindy Evans, Association Representative / x2435
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Dr. Mort Javadi, Association Representative / x5635
Dr. Sue Longenbaker, Association Representative / x2430
Jackie Miller, Association Representative / x2601
Mark Mitchell, Association Representative / x3612
Eric Nuebauer, Association Representative / x5698
Keith Sanders, Association Representative / x2588
Gilberto Serrano, Association Representative / x3863
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302


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