What's Really Happening - 2006/03/27

 

 

What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of March 27, 2006

URGENT INFORMATION RE: STRS BOARD VOTING

Decisions made by the State Teachers Retirement System in the next few years will affect your financial security and costs in retirement. Changes in health care coverage or the pension formula could make the difference between a comfortable retirement and a struggle to keep up with costs.

CSEA urges you to vote for candidates who will represent the needs and interests of retired teachers. We support the OEA screening process that resulted in the endorsement of teachers CONNI RAMSER and MARK MEUSER for the STRS Board. You may have received cards about them in the mail already. Both support legislation to fund health care benefits for retirees and oppose pension benefit reductions.

CSEA members will be receiving ballots for the election to fill vacant seats on the STRS Board by mail early in April. We urge you to look for this mailing, which will have the STRS logo and labeling indicating that ballot information is enclosed. You can vote for up to 2 candidates for the open seats.

Voting is easy with 3 options to make your participation simple. You can vote (1) by mail using the printed ballot, (2) by phone, using a toll-free number included with the mailed ballot, or (3) by Internet, via the address provided with your ballot (you'll need the PIN number included with the mailed ballot). Voting must be completed by May 1.

The lack of teachers on the STRS Board omits a critical voice in discussions about how to maintain the integrity of our pension plan. Vote for CONNI RAMSER and MARK MEUSER when you receive your ballot.

REASSIGNED TIME OFFERS DISCOUNTS

As faculty determine office hours and mission & learning support work for Spring Quarter, we remind you that reassigned time provides reduced activity in other work-related areas.

You may reduce your office hours and mission & learning support time proportionally to your reassigned hours. Reassigned time work assumptions are computed at 2-for-1 (that is, 5 hours of reassigned time assumes 10 hours of work weekly), so faculty may take proportional reductions in their office hours. For example, 5 hours of reassigned time allows a faculty member to reduce posted office hours by 2 hours (5/16 of 7 posted hours, rounded downward to the nearest hour).

Mission & learning support time also is subject to proportional reductions in activity. Since neither College policy nor past practice require posting of mission & learning hours, each faculty member is free to adjust these hours as s/he chooses.

CSEA SPONSORS TEAM TO SUPPORT BREAST CANCER RESEARCH

You can support breast cancer research and your Association at the same time that you keep yourself fit.

CSEA will sponsor a team for The Race for the Cure, the annual fund-raising event to support breast cancer awareness and research. This 5k race/walk or 1-mile family fun walk will take place Saturday, May 20, starting at 9 a.m. downtown.

Several faculty have already signed up to participate, and we hope to have at least a dozen participants in addition to those who pledge money to support those who are in the Race itself. You can join the team or pledge money by contacting Lisa Schneider lschneid@cscc.edu or x5124.

The Komen Race for the Cure is the largest series of fitness walk/runs in the world. The Race for the Cure not only encourages breast cancer awareness but uses its funds to help in research and development of breast cancer treatments. CSEA is proud to be a participant in this year's event.

CSEA OFFERS SUPPORT TO ADMINISTRATION & TRUSTEES

At the March 23 Board meeting, CSEA President Steve Abbott offered the administration and the Board the full support of the Association for any efforts by the College to address the Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) proposal set for vote on the statewide November ballot.

The proposal, modeled on Colorado legislation that threw the state into a fiscal crisis, would place strict controls on state funding-including state and local education. Although the Board has not taken a position yet, trustees will hear a presentation on the implications of the TEL proposal before their May meeting.

WILL TRUSTEES ADDRESS THE MORALE PROBLEM?

More than a dozen faculty returned to last week's (March 23) Board of Trustees meeting to express continuing concern about the atmosphere on campus, and it appeared that the Board may be ready to take the issue seriously.

After 3 students and faculty member Joan Petrusky addressed the Board about the declining morale evident in both staff and faculty, CSEA President Steve Abbott spoke to the Board for the third time since November about the issue. Although the Board said in January that it was looking into employee concerns, two trustees asked Abbott what the Board should do-suggesting that it had not taken meaningful action since November.

He suggested forming an independent group of administrators, faculty, and staff to design a survey instrument to identify morale issues and collect employees' feedback on the reasons for them. He also emphasized that such a group would require integrity and credibility in its make-up, would need to ensure confidentiality of responses, and would need some assurance of follow-though on its recommendations.

The Board offered no comment on the suggestions.


What's Really Happening is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124


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