January 25, 2019
WEAC Region 3 represents public education employees in a large territory stretching from Florence to Port Washington,
and from Menominee to Washington Island.
Saturday
January
26

Winter ReCharge!
Professional Development Conference
at WR3 Office in Green Bay.
COLD WEATHER DOESN'T SCARE US! OUR PRESENTERS HAVE PLANNED GREAT SESSIONS AND ARE EAGER TO SHARE!
Thursday
February
20

The Science of Happiness
5:30 - 7:30 pm
WR3 Office in Green Bay
(other dates and locations available!)
Friday - Sunday
March
1-3

Restorative Practices
Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin State Statute 118.22 governs the renewal and NON-renewal of full-time teacher contracts
 
This important deadline is approaching: 
 
For teacher contracts that a District does NOT want to renew for the 2019-20 school year, the school board must notify with a preliminary notice of non-renewal on OR before Tuesday,  April 30, 2019 .  This timeline applies regardless of the reason for non-renewal, i.e., performance, economic reasons, declining enrollment, etc. A preliminary notice of non-renewal must be voted on and issued by the school board (not an administrator).
 
Many teachers have already been given some kind of indication that the District is thinking about non-renewal. These teachers may be on a plan of improvement. For teachers under this scrutiny, the preliminary notice of non-renewal may come well before the deadline of April 30th.  Once preliminary notice of non-renewal is given to an educator, they only have five calendar days to request a hearing before the school board.

  • Union members who are fearful of a non-renewal should contact the Region 3 office as soon as possible. 
  • Union leaders and building reps who are working with teachers who may be in danger of non-renewal should contact the Region 3 office as soon as possible. 
 
Please do not wait until the preliminary notice has already been issued!
Union Dues No Longer Deductible
WEAC Region 3 has received a couple of questions regarding the deductibility of union dues. To ensure that everyone is aware of one of the changes that took place last year with the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017:
 
Union dues are no longer a deductible expense for those people who itemize on their personal tax return. Below is a link to an IRS publication if people need more information.
   
Travel Tips
by: Tom Kreif, WEAC-Fox Valley Retired Member & Traveler

What was the WEAC-Fox Valley Travel Committee has met for the past eleven years. Committee membership is open to all active and retired members. During the year, we meet at Appleton’s Mary’s North (Richmond St. off of 41) the second Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. As the years have gone by, this group has also discussed topics of interest such as WEA-Trust / Benefits, Wisconsin Retirement System (fixed and variable), Medicare, Medicare supplements, investment tips, and WEAC.

I looked at my records and discovered my last article was in March 2018. Because I went into a business venture nearly five years ago, I did not travel—business first. This year everything is going extremely well and the restaurant / bar part of the business is now seasonal. Time to travel again. Where to go? How about China in January? Just got back from the trip, which was from January 7 th – January 18 th , and of course I would like to give some suggestions and advice using a question / answer format.

Blanketing Brown County

The Region 3 Office is a drop-off site. Consider this (or other projects like it in your county) for a union PR project. Collect blankets - make it a contest! MAKE blankets (those easy tie/fleece blankets) like Pulaski EA did one year - make it a fun social event! Just be sure to get some photos that we can publish in this newsletter! Someone from the WR3 office can pick up your blankets. Just give us a call.
Professional Development
Live Webinars Scheduled for January, February

ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System benefits. Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. Visit their webinar page to learn more about any of the following sessions. Here is what others have said about our webinars:

  • "My participation in the webinar was a first for me, and I just want to compliment you on how easy it was to connect, follow along, and provide questions or requests. Excellent job!"
  • "Thanks for having these valuable webinars. The professional but conversational style helped me to understand the presentation as easily as an "in office" meeting. Really appreciate that the presenter fully understands the subject. Wonderful job."

Additional Contributions
Beneficiary Designations - What Happens to My Account When I Die?
Overview of the Wisconsin Retirement System
WRS Annuity Adjustments & Effective Rates
5 Basic Steps to Your Retirement
WRS Benefits: For New & Mid-Career Employees
Registration is Open for March 22-24 NEA ESP Conference in LAS VEGAS!
The NEA ESP Conference is a premier professional development opportunity for Education Support Professionals throughout the nation. Attendees will enhance their skills and knowledge in order to impact student achievement, build community relations, organize fellow union members, advocate for educators, strengthen their locals, and help colleagues do their jobs better. The conference offers dozens of workshops.
Region 3/GBEA National Board Support Syllabus
WEAC, Region 3 and GBEA have organized ongoing monthly National Board Support for the 2018-2019 cycle. Generally, the first portion of the session will feature a presentation on a topic or issue and the second portion of the session will be reserved for working with candidate concerns and questions. Sessions will be held at the WEAC Region 3 Office, 1136 N. Military Ave., Green Bay. We have added the option of joining us via Zoom if you are unable to attend in person! Pre-registration is not required but appreciated - light dinner will be served.


Click here for dates and ZOOM info.
GSAFE  and  Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change (JM4C)  are pleased to present Safe Schools, Safe Communities: State Conference on LGBTQ+ Youth on Friday, March 8, 2019. This year's conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Parker High School in Janesville.
Political Action
Become a Public Education Advocate!
When it comes to our students and public schools, there's a lot going on. A new legislative session has begun and a new governor has taken office. WEAC is proud to introduce a new Take Action Website with resources to help you contact your legislators, track legislation and write letters to the editor. Visit WEAC Take Action.
I Love Our Public Schools Week is February 11-15. WEAC is a proud partner of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, and encourages members to start planning creative events. See the toolkit for ideas and more.
Voucher Transparency Demand Grows

  • Milwaukee has been informing its citizens of the costs related to voucher funding.
  • Racine's mayor has decided to do the same so Racine taxpayers are informed of the effect vouchers are having on their property tax bills. 
  • Governer Evers has already announced he thinks voucher costs should appear on tax bills. 
  • Fox Cities Advocates 4 Public Education has raised this same issue with elected representatives in the Fox Cities only to be told there isn't enough room on the property tax bill. 

Please call, email, write your state representative and senator and ask them to author/support a bill for "Voucher Funding Transparency". Citizens have a right to know the effect vouchers are having on their property tax bills.
Recently a lot of administrators have been telling local leaders that “they don’t have a union” - which is a big surprise to people who have been paying union dues and going to union meetings. This has come up off and on since Act 10 and the misunderstanding is tied to the process of recertifying.

Are you ready for a mess of bureaucratic nonsense? OK here it is - if your local goes through the recertification election process that happens in the fall of the year and you win, then your local is the legal bargaining representative of wage negotiations up to CPI.

That is all that recertification means.

Some superintendents have interpreted this to mean that an uncertified union has no right to meet, no right to have representation in disciplinary meetings, and therefore does not exist.

THIS IS WRONG.

But who is going to fix it? The answer to this is the heart of unionism itself. We do! We have to be educated to know when the wool is being pulled over our eyes. We get there by talking to each other and letting each other know what is happening in different districts. If you are being told “you don’t have a union,” give us a call and let’s create a strategy to prove that you do in fact exist!

In Solidarity,
Kristin Lytie
Region 3 Uniserv Director