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June 2, 2016
 
In This Issue:

Financial Education Event for Region 6 Members is June 13
Register for an Individual Financial Planning Session
New PDP Reviewer Training is June 22
Newspaper says Union Caused Board's Good Decision
Upcoming Events
Justice Doesn't Take a Holiday

The May 21 Region 6 Representative Assembly was not our "last meeting." It is sometimes called that because it comes close to the end of the school year, but the fact is that just as we do not stop being teachers during the summer we also continue being union members and community activists.
 
We have to. The anti-public education movement doesn't take the summer off, and neither can we.
 
"Summers off" is a myth in the first place, as we all know. Like most teachers, I am involved in lesson planning, professional development, classroom preparation and contractual in-service throughout much of June, July and August. And many Region 6 educational support staff members continue to work throughout the summer whether there are students in the schools or not.
 
In addition to the work I do throughout the summer because of my role as a social studies teacher at Oregon High School, I will continue to serve as the president of Region 6. Indeed, without students coming into the classroom every day I have more time to contact legislators and school board members, and to work with local union leaders and Region 6 staff on plans to increase our union's membership and effectiveness.
 
The delegates at the Region 6 RA on May 21 passed a budget and set a course for the next 12 months. We talked about how we continue to work more closely with other organizations in our communities and increase the influence that we education employees have over our work. Because educators' voices are strong, our public schools are still great places to get an education. Our unions deserve much of the credit, but our successes do not happen by accident. They happen because we don't give up and we don't let up.
 
I invite you to join us in these efforts. You can start today by reaching out to your local leaders or contacting the Region 6 office directly by emailing me at   region6.weac.wi@gmail.com or calling the office at 1-800-397-2287. You don't have to wait until the start of the next school year.

In Solidarity,

Mark Lindsey
President of WEAC Region 6
Region 6 Financial Education Event is
June 13

WEAC Region 6 is partnering with the Summit Credit Union to help Region 6 members get control of their finances and manage their college loan and other payments.
 
For more than two years, Region 6 leaders and staff have been working with Summit and others to help members with student loan debt. The next phase of the program kicks off with an introductory meeting at the Region 6 office on June 13 to discuss financial education topics and how they apply to teachers and education employees. The meeting is from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Region 6 office, 33 Nob Hill Road, Madison.
 
Summit's successful "Project Money" program will review members' options for student loan forgiveness and cancellation, and assess financial options available for members with various income and debt levels.
 
In July and August there will be financial education webinars and the scheduling of counseling sessions with professional financial coaches.
 
For more information, email Region 6 director John Wedge at wedgej@weac.org. To register for the June 13 event, contact Margo Schmidt at schmidtm@weac.org or call 1-800-397-2287 ext. 463.
Register Now for a Member Benefits Financial Consultation in Beloit or Janesville

WEA Member Benefits is scheduling free financial consultations for Region 6 members on June 23 and June 28 in Beloit and Janesville, respectively.
 
Sign up now for a free 30-minute consultation with a certified financial planner who can answer questions about a wide range of financial topics, including:
  • Reasons to start a 403(b) or IRA savings account and how to enroll
  • Wisconsin Retirement System basics (Bring your WRS statement)
  • Retirement Savings strategies; Pre-tax vs. Roth, 403(b) vs. IRA
  • Investment/Account Fees
  • Budgeting
  • Tips for purchasing personal insurance
 
The Thursday, June 23, sessions in Beloit will be held at the Kolak Center Building, 1633 Keeler Avenue, Room 203, Beloit - click here to register. The Tuesday, June 28, Janesville sessions will be held at the Region 6 Janesville office, 1215 Suffolk Drive, Janesville - click here to register.
Region 6 Training for New PDP Reviewers is June 22

WEAC Region 6 will host a PDP New Reviewer Training in Madison on Wednesday, June 22. Region 6 members who want to become certified PDP reviewers can attend the training at no cost.
 
Members with professional educator licenses who complete the training will be qualified to serve as reviewers for fellow Region 6 and WEAC members who are participating in the PDP licensure process. This is another great benefit of union membership.
 
To register, send an e-mail message to Rachel Schendel at schendelr@weac.org by Monday, June 6. Please include in your message your name, school district, e-mail address, phone number, and DPI license file number.
 
David DeGuire from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will lead the training at the WEAC Region 6 offices, 33 Nob Hill Road, Madison.
 
If you are already a PDP reviewer and wish to renew your certification, you can now do so online through the DPI website. The June 22 training is only for new reviewers.
 
If you have questions, contact Michael Walsh at walshm@weac.org or 1-800-397-2287.
Janesville Gazette: Union is Strong Here

In an April 30 editorial, the Janesville Gazette claimed the Janesville School Board's decision against a proposal to assess a health insurance coverage surcharge against the spouses of teachers was a product of "union influence."
 
The authors of the unsigned editorial wrote, "Five years after Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 supposedly devastated public employee unions statewide, union influence is still clear in Janesville."
 
The proposal would have penalized school district employees whose employed spouses choose the district's health insurance coverage over their own employers' health plans. Some of Janesville's school board members spoke against this proposal on the grounds that it could discourage talented professionals from working in Janesville's schools at a time when it is getting harder to attract and retain teachers and staff. They want Janesville's students to have all the advantages they can give them, and thought it unwise to give teachers and prospective teachers a reason to take their talents somewhere else.
 
The proposal failed on a 6-3 vote. The Gazette editorialists were not specific about how they believe unions influenced the vote, but they implied that the decision went the way it did because some members of the school board have belonged to unions or have been supported by unions in their elections.
 
The editorial writers said the "no" vote sends a message to taxpayers that public employees deserve better health insurance than the general public, but a survey by the National Business Group on Health shows that only 29 percent of employers assess these spousal surcharges. The board chose not to be an outlier on this issue, and for good reason.
Upcoming Events

Region 6/Summit Credit Union Financial Education Event, Madison
June 13, 2016

PDP New Reviewer Training, Madison
June 22, 2016

WEA Member Benefits Free Financial Consultations, Beloit
June 23, 2016

WEA Member Benefits Free Financial Consultations, Janesville
June 28, 2016

NEA Representative Assembly, Washington, D.C.
July 2-7, 2016

WEAC Summer Leadership Academy, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
August 7-10, 2016