Monday, May 16, 2011

Fast Start for JFC

The Joint Finance Committee came out of the gate fast today. The first issue in budget mark-up was salary policy. The Chair, Representative Dennis P Williams, and the Vice-Chair, Senator Harris McDowell, brought forward a proposal: A 2% raise for all state employees and educators beginning January 1, 2012. A 1% pension increase for retired state employees and educators. Step increase for all educators (including support staff such as school secretaries).

After much discussion, this proposal passed unanimously with all 11 JFC members voting for it.

The fact that educator Step Increase was by no means a "given" this year, suggests that we have education and advocacy to do around this issue. Step "increases" are simply movement on a very delayed pay plan. By the time you have been around 15 years, you might be making what someone in the private sector started their career with. Educators should thank Representative Dennis P Williams and Senator Harris McDowell for making Step a part of their pay policy proposal.

The famous or infamous (depending on your perspective) 27th pay also passed by a vote of 10 "yes" and 1 "not voting".

DSEA will continue to advocate for restoration of the National Board Certification stipend, the Skills and Knowledge stipend, and for funding of Paraprofessional Phase II pay plan as the process moves along.

A special note on SJR4:
The Senate Resolution to study the consolidation of school districts was given a committee hearing last week, but not before Senator Mike Katz reached out to DSEA. The Senator wanted to make it clear that his intention was to bring educators to the table for discussion through the representation of their union. To that end, Senator Katz amended his bill to specifically include representatives from DSEA.

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