Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
One of GNTA's greatest strengths is the compassion, commitment, and dedication our membership demonstrates in their daily work with children and their families. As part of our LAP initiative we are interested in creating opportunities for members to engage in activities that support our values of equality, equity, and making a difference in the lives of others.
In order for us to begin this venture we need to know what you are passionate about. Please take the time to complete the attached survey.
Social Justice Committee
Jennifer Snyder (Chair), Maddie Dressner, and Joan Petralia-Greenberg
BiG changes to empire plan in 2019
From the files of "don't shoot the messenger," The Empire Plan has adjusted some of the copay fees that we pay out-of-pocket, and raised the level of our combined annual deductibles. Happy New Year.
Some key changes to note:
In-network doctor's visit now has a $25 copay.
In-network urgent care visit now has a $30 copay.
Emergency Department visit now has a $100 copay.
Enrollee combined annual deductible $1250, per dependent.
Please read the bulletin below to find out all the details.
"TEACH" GRANT LOAN RELIEF AVAILABLE
If you’re an educator who had your federal TEACH Grant converted into an interest-bearing loan, you may be eligible for debt relief. The Education Department announced a plan in December to give teachers a second chance to have their loans converted back into grants if they can prove they met the program’s teaching requirements.
“What a relief,” said Morgan Jackson, a special education teacher in the Medina School District, who was slated to begin repaying nearly $17,400 in converted loans in January. After successfully submitting her TEACH Grant paperwork for the past two years, in June the Medina Teachers Association member was told her paperwork submission was one-day late, which automatically converted her grants to loans. Her requests for reconsideration fell on deaf ears.
“Thank you to everyone who spoke up and fought this battle,” she said. “I’m forever grateful.”
Since it began in 2008, the TEACH Grant program has recruited talented educators into hard-to-fill jobs in lower-income school districts. But improperly filed paperwork left many participants deep in debt after their grants were converted into loans. A Department of Education audit found that more than 12,000 educators had their grants switched to loans due errors made by the company hired to manage the program.
TEACH Grants require educators to submit paperwork annually for four years certifying that they teach in a low-income school. However, the paperwork is notoriously confusing and if participants submitted it late, or had missing information, they saw their grants converted into loans.
For details, visit www.studentaid.gov/teach-reconsideration.
It's that time of year again, folks! Last year's Paint Nite fundraiser was a great success, raising $420 for the GNTA summer scholarship to help our students attend the districts summer programs. GNTA has, once again, teamed up with PaintNite.com to host our event, where $15 for every ticket sale will go to the scholarship.
Please join us for another fun-filled evening of libations and artistic endeavors on Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:00pm at K-Pacho in New Hyde Park. We will be raffling off a brand new commercial grade Keurig coffee system (K155)!!!
Seating is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Please use the link below to register.
Thank you for your continued support!!!
EST. RANGE DOWN FOR FOR 2019-2020 ECR
Dinapoli: Tax cap set at 2 percent
Property tax levy growth for local governments with fiscal years that close on Dec. 31 will be capped at 2 percent for the 2019 fiscal year, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. This figure affects the tax cap calculations for all counties, towns, fire districts, 44 cities and 10 villages.
"For these local governments, allowable levy growth will be 2 percent for the first time since 2013," DiNapoli said. "Despite the possibility of increased tax revenue, municipal budgets will still be vulnerable to rising fixed costs and potential federal funding cuts. Local officials should proceed cautiously when crafting their spending plans for next year."
The tax cap, which first applied to local governments in 2012, limits tax levy increases to the lesser of the rate of inflation or 2 percent with some exceptions, including a provision that allows municipalities to override the tax cap.
During the 2014 through 2018 fiscal years, municipalities with a fiscal year ending on Dec. 31 had their levy growth capped at less than 2 percent.
For a list of allowable levy growth factors for all local governments, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/realprop/pdf/inflation_allowablegrowthfactors.pdf
Find out how your government money is spent at Open Book New York. Track municipal spending, the state's 145,000 contracts, billions in state payments and public authority data. Visit the Reading Room for contract FOIL requests, bid protest decisions and commonly requested data.
7 Things to Know About the Supreme Court Decision That Just Slammed Teachers' Unions
The U.S. Supreme Court just dealt teachers' unions a heavy blow with a decision in the Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31 case. Here's what you need to know:
1. The justices ruled to prohibit unions from charging nonmembers "agency" or "fair share" fees. Up until today, teachers' unions and other public-employee unions charged fees to employees who chose not to join the union but were still represented in collective bargaining. The union's argument for the fees was that nonmembers are still benefitting from collective bargaining, so they should have to pay something. The justices ruled that forcing employees to pay fees to a union they don't support is a violation of their First Amendment rights.
2. The justices also ruled that unions cannot deduct fees from employees' paychecks without their express consent. This part of the decision goes beyond what most court watchers were expecting, and it deepens the blow to unions. In some states, teachers have just a limited window of time in which they can tell their union they want to drop their membership. That rule would have been challenged in court had the Janusdecision not addressed it. But now, teachers will have to affirmatively opt into paying dues to the union.
3. The ruling was 5-4. Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Neil M. Gorsuch. Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissent and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.
4. Just about half the country will be affected by the Supreme Court decision. Here are the 22 states that allow unions to charge agency fees to nonmembers:
5. Teachers' unions are predicting sizeable membership losses. The National Education Association has projected a two-year loss of 307,000 members, which led officials to propose a $50 million budget cut (a 13 percent reduction from the current budget.) The American Federation of Teachers has declined to release its projections, but President Randi Weingarten has said it will be a "bumpy ride" for unions—but "not an existential threat" thanks to planning. It's worth noting that the percentage of public school teachers participating in unions has been declining steadily over the last two decades.
6. Unions will be taking their fight to the state legislatures. Already, Democratic lawmakers in about a half-dozen states have introduced or passed legislation that seeks to protect unions from the Supreme Court decision. For example, several states have enacted laws that require schools to allow teachers' unions to meet with new teachers, so labor representatives can pitch the unions' services. Other states, like New York, have specified what services unions are obligated to provide (or not provide) to nonmembers.
Now that the Supreme Court decision is out, we can expect more union-friendly bills to be proposed.
7. This ruling could make unions more responsive to their members. At least one analysis showed that when state unions lose the right to collect agency fees, representatives tend to do more outreach to teachers to convince them to join. Katharine Strunk, a professor of education policy at Michigan State University, said unions might now shift their policy priorities to better reflect what their members want.
Teachers' unions have been working for the past year to engage their members and urge them to recommit. In an interview, California Teachers Association President Eric Heins said he plans to step up the union's efforts to reach out to nonmembers and connect with their values in the wake of the Janus ruling. "When you talk about values, ... that really transcends political lines and political ideology," he said.
Heins added that CTA will try to fight against what he expects to be an organized campaign to convince members to drop out of the union."Our work is very relational, it's all about our relationships [with members]," he said.
Check out our longer story on the ruling as well as all of Education Week's coverage leading up to the Janus decision. And stand by for continued updates as more analysis and reactions roll in.
This article was originally published in Education Week.
New Members: The Fall 2018 New Members Bulletin has been posted!
CALENDAR: The GNTA JANUARY Calendar has been posted!
BLOG: Read GNTA EB member Luci Legotti's NYSUT RA Report!
BLOG: NYSUT summer workshops open to GNTA members.
PAC/IOC: Photos and recollections from the first GNTA Color Day!
BLOG: The GNTA Celebrates its retirees at Westbury Manor!
BLOG: The Supreme Court just issued a blow to Workers' Rights, and no, this isn't the JANUS case.
CALENDAR: The GNTA June Calendar has been posted!
FORMS: GNTA Retiree/Para forms have been updated.
Great Neck Teachers Association
NYSUT, AFT, AFL-CIO #2686
The Cottage • 343 Lakeville Road
Great Neck, NY 11020
email@example.com • @GNTeachers
(516) 829-9070 • Fax: (516) 829-0724
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