This is it. After several months of behind the scenes work by OSPI, the newly appointed Paraeducator Board convened this week. We have our work cut out for us thanks to the guidance provided by the recommendations of the Paraeducator Work Group, the one PSE’s own Doug Nelson participated in. This is what we have been waiting and hoping for going back many years. This is the recognition that paraeducators specifically, and by extension all education support professionals, have been asking for.
A little reminder on how we got where we are. Way back in May, seems like a lifetime ago now that school is back in session, the Paraeducator Bill was finally signed into law. The culmination of at least six years of hard fought effort by stakeholders across the state. The new law directed OSPI to create the Paraeducator Board for the purpose of taking the work group’s nine recommendations and writing the policies to implement them. The new nine-member board, including PSE members Laura Rogers and myself, was appointed in July and will meet every other month for the next two years. During that time we will be taking input from all stakeholders with an interest in the education of children in Washington, which includes PSE members.
It is critical that paraeducators take an active role in helping to inform the work of the Paraeducator Board. The three paraeducaors on the board cannot know all the needs and interests of Washington’s paraeducators and their diverse communities. Your input and participation in the process will be invaluable. At the very least follow the progress of the board so that you can share with the members of your chapter. The Paraeducator Bill is for us and those who will come after us. This will be our legacy to the next generation of Washington students and the professionals who support them.
You can follow our progress, contact the board for public comment, and view the proceedings live via webinar. In keeping with Washington sunshine laws all board meetings and materials are open and available to the public.
Get involved – We Own It!
Unions ensure our right to win livable wages, health insurance, and a brighter future for our families.
As you celebrate Labor Day with your family and friends, take a moment to remember the meaning behind the three-day weekend. This holiday is celebrated because union members like you fought for it. They fought for and won fair and safe treatment on the job, a minimum wage, overtime, child labor laws, and weekends. Union members gave their blood, sweat, and tears so that we can all recognize and enjoy these freedoms and more.
Unions ensure our right to win. Let’s stand together and keep our union strong.
Your benefits as a PSE SEIU Local 1948 member include emergency assistance, a lawyer referral program, scholarships for you and your dependents, and discounts on dental services, accidental death & dismemberment insurance, movie tickets, travel, cell phone service, mortgages, and more.
Today, Governor Jay Inslee signed the historic McCleary school funding bill. Amidst the details of state property tax, increased salary allocations, changes to levy collections, the solution also includes a new insurance system for K-12, the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB).
Under SEBB, basic education employees who work over 630 hours per school year will receive full state insurance funding. For the thousands of classified school employees drowning in health insurance premiums, SEBB will provide much-needed and long overdue relief. All insurance plans, employee and employer insurance payments will be decided by the SEBB beginning in 2020. Additionally, K-12 insurance funding will equal that of state employees.
“Health insurance is a critical issue for classified school employees,” said PSE President Charlotte Shindler. “With premiums rising dramatically year after year, many of our members spend most of–if not all–their entire paycheck on insurance coverage. For the thousands of classified school employees struggling with health insurance premiums, SEBB will provide affordability, stability, and long overdue relief.”
This victory for our state’s 60,000+ education support professionals wouldn’t have been possible without the advocacy and lobbying efforts of PSE members. Your calls to the legislative hotline, letters sharing your personal health insurance stories, and conversations with your elected representatives were vital to this success. Thank you for stepping up and having your voices heard!
For more information on SEBB and other details of the McCleary solution, click here.
Donate to the Betty Rankin Sponsorship Fund and help send a delegate to Convention! The cost to fully sponsor two delegates (registration and two nights stay) is about $650. Donations in any amount are greatly appreciated!
The legislature has released the details of its new 2017-2019 operating budget.
Thankfully, PSE’s collective bargaining agreements at WWU and CWU are included in the budget and funded, as is the health care agreement. Among many other improvements to working conditions, the WWU and CWU contracts provide a 6% wage increase over the course of the biennium. The legislature is scheduled to vote on the budget later today, just hours before the deadline.
For more details on the budget, please visit Doug Nelson’s legislative blog. PSE will provide an update once the budget is approved.
The Supreme Court is clear that the state must fully fund the actual costs of providing a basic education to all of Washington’s students.
Tell your elected representatives to pass a state budget that fully funds the basic education classified staff that our public schools rely on today.
We are saddened to share that our beloved friend, Judy York, passed away on Friday, June 2nd. She was a wife, mother, union activist, paraeducator, and a fighter.
“Judy York fought against cancer with grace and dignity,” said PSE President Charlotte Shindler. “She found comfort knowing that her PSE friends and family were cheering for her.”
Judy served as President of Snohomish PSE Chapter and on the PSE Board of Directors. Recently, she was awarded Life Membership to PSE, one of the union’s most prestigious honors. She will be remembered as an influential leader in education who brought love, compassion, and wisdom to countless students, staff, and fellow members.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Jamie Manchester, K-8 Library Technician and K-12 Technology Coordinator for Davenport School District and a member of Public School Employees SEIU Local 1948, was honored in Washington D.C. May 3rd as one of the 2017 Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award winners.
The award was given to five individuals from across the country who are doing extraordinary and inspirational things in their schools and communities to promote quality education, foster positive learning environments, and ensure student success.
Manchester joined four other award recipients at a ceremony in Washington D.C. at the United States Botanic Garden.
“Jamie’s dedication to her students is an inspiration,” said Charlotte Shindler, President of the Public School Employees of Washington SEIU Local 1948. “She sets an example for all members of the education team to follow, and her outstanding work can be seen not only in her school but throughout her community.”
Jamie has served the communities of Sprague, Lamont, and Davenport, Washington for over 10 years as a Library Technician and Technology Coordinator. During that time, she has been a strong advocate for technology in the classroom, creating her school’s first elementary computer lab, and implementing 1:1 Chromebooks for K-12. She has written grants that have helped introduce STEM-based curriculum and new technology to enrich her students’ experience in school and their lives beyond the classroom. Jamie also serves as the Vice President of the Creston Alumni Association, helping award over $240,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors in the community.
She has been a member of our union since 2006 and has held several positions in service to the membership. Jamie has served on the Education and Training Committee, as Chapter Vice President and Chapter Secretary, and as an Annual Convention Delegate. She has helped organize new bargaining units, assisted with campaigns to visit local representatives, and spoken on the issues facing classified school employees locally and across the nation.
The National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions (NCCESEU), a coalition of state and national unions that together represent a million school support employees, gives the award. The award highlights the individual contributions of school staff and recognizes the essential role that all education professionals play in shaping our public schools.
For more information, and to see all of this year’s recipients, click here.
PSE members from all over the state met in Olympia yesterday to lobby for higher education. A very energetic group of members had great conversations with their respective legislators to advocate for the funding of higher education collective bargaining agreements.
Members made clear to representatives that the wage increases proposed in these contracts are vital to finally put higher education employees on a path to earning a more competitive, livable wage. PSE drove home the point that, with these wage increases, Universities will be better equipped to not only attract new employees in a competitive market, but to retain all of the talented employees who currently work there! Overall, the feedback from these legislators was largely positive and receptive.
While yesterday was a success by any measure, we all know and understand that our work is far from over! Make sure to contact your representatives and let them know how vital it is that these contracts be included in the final 2017-2019 budget! Here is the complete list of legislators. If you don’t know your legislative district, click here.
Finally, if you have not done so already, please join Zone 13’s Facebook page.
Zone 13 Director Angie Wedekind is always posting information relevant to higher education!
Earlier this month, former Zone 1 Director BJ Colvin was elected as our new State Treasurer.
“I am excited to continue to serve PSE’s 30,000 members from this new role,” said Colvin. “I believe that 2017 will be a great year for our union, as we work together to make a difference for working families in our state.”
Per PSE’s 2016-17 Bylaws, here are the duties and responsibilities of the State Treasurer:
It shall be the responsibility of the treasurer to oversee the management of, and report on, PSE ‘s finances to the Board of Directors and general membership. The treasurer shall monitor the budget and regularly review financial transactions to ensure compliance with all appropriate policies, procedures, laws, and regulations. The Financial Review Committee, under the direction of the treasurer who serves as the chair, shall advise and assist the Executive Director in formulating sound, prudent financial plans, controls, and funding priorities to be presented to the Board of Directors for approval.
The election comes at an exciting time for Colvin and his wife Sharis, who recently welcomed their first child Willow into the PSE family.
The Zone 1 Director election for BJ’s replacement is scheduled for December 1st at 6:00pm at the Kennewick Red Lion Columbia Center.
After the election, there will be a learning tour meeting with PSE Education and Training Manager Tom Krabbenhoft. He will be there to talk with the new Zone Director and hear feedback from the Zone 1 Members about what education and training they would like PSE to have in the future.