May 15, 2020
WEAC Region 3 represents public education employees in a large territory stretching from Florence to Port Washington,
and from Menominee to Washington Island.
Hi all!
By far the biggest question we got this week had to do with school employees being called back to work in the school buildings. As you know, the state's "Safer at Home" order was due to expire on May 26, but in the meantime, on Wednesday night May 13, the State Supreme Court invalidated the order.

Everything back to "normal," right?

Wrong. Several counties and municipalities almost immediately issued stay-at-home orders of their own.

AND - the Supreme Court decision exempted K-12 schools!
The "Safer-at-Home" order STILL APPLIES to K-12 schools until JUNE 30th.

Section 4. a. of Emergency Order 28 requires the closure of K-12 schools through the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year :
4. Closures. All of the following facilities shall be closed:
a. Schools. Public and private K-12 schools shall remain closed for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school yea r. Schools may continue to facilitate distance learning or virtual learning. Schools may continue to be used for Essential Government Functions and food distribution. This section does not apply to facilities operated by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. [Emphasis added].

  • See Emergency Order 28 here. Section 4.a. remains intact!
  • See May 14, 2020 DPI guidance to District Administrators here.
  • See the 161-page Supreme Court decision here.

If you are being asked to physically return to work and don't feel safe doing so, PUSH BACK. Marinette EA did and the request for all employees to return to school on May 26 has been changed to an elective decision.

And hey - while you're here -- fill out WR3's 6th survey . Sharing information about whether or not your district is requiring you to come back to school before June 30, and what summer school looks like, among other things, helps our union colleagues fight for what's right in their own districts.

--Kathy Rohde
Regional Director
WEAC Region 3's First Virtual RA

At last Saturday's Region 3 RA, a new Region president was elected to replace outgoing president, Dean DeBroux (WEAC Retired). We welcome Nathan Ugoretz (Port Washington-Saukville Education Association) as his replacement. Also elected was Jackie Baumann (Pulaski Education Association) as Region 3's Vice President, and Armand Daigneault (Denmark Education Support Personnel Association) as the ESP-At Large.

A no dues increase 2020-21 budget was also approved. See here, a chart showing the regional dues in other areas of our state .
Share Your Stories!
In improv comedy there’s a concept of “yes, and,” meaning you hear what your scene partner has said and, with words or actions, you add to it to build the scene. Organizing is a lot like building a scene in that you build consensus together as you build your plan and carry out your campaign. Organizing in the age of social distancing originally really worried me. So much of that energy is created by being in the same room together, how were we going to do it?

And then the Kiel Education Association came to answer the call and showed us how to do it:

“After our school board abruptly made detrimental changes to our insurance to the tune of a $3,000 pay cut, we organized to have our voices heard. Instead of an empty school board meeting, we had a packed house as our team read letters and statements. The board apologized and rescinded. Organizing as a group of professionals allowed us to make positive change for our school community. Thanks Region 3 and Kristin for guiding us!”
-Gretchen Mineau, Kiel EA President

We effectively used zoom to bring people together and asked people to write letters to the board to talk about how this insurance change would hurt them personally. We used the chat feature for people to commit to write the letters. Through something as simple as typing their name in the chat, people were able to visibly commit to standing with one another. It was awesome and fundamental to our win . Great work KEA and Gretchen!  
The staff at the Appleton Area School District miss their kids.

Music teachers from the district have been virtually meeting each week to discuss how to keep the students engaged. It was during one of those meetings the idea of a collaborative video came to fruition. Appleton District music teacher and WR3 member Kadie Smith says she also missed having the outlet of being creative so the idea of melding the two together seemed appropriate. Smith reached out to other music teachers in the district to join forces. Everyone stepped up to her call and together they created their version of the classic support song, ‘Lean on Me’. Fellow music teacher and a WR3 member too, Aaron Roecker, laid down a backing track and the rest took about a week to pull together. Each teacher recorded their section with their phones or laptops and uploaded it to Google drive where Smith organized it all.
NEW
EDUCATION SUPPORT PERSONNEL CONNECTION CALL
Region 3 has created an ESP Connection Call to check in with one another, keep each other in the loop and plan our next steps. This zoom meeting was organized by Sue Smits, long time ESP activist and advocate, because she recognized the need for this conversation to take place. Now more than ever ESP staff need to be in contact with each other to discuss what their districts are doing, best practices and how to implement them in their own district. The global pandemic has revealed that schools are the social safety nets for many of our communities and that those safety nets work because you do.
 
Please join us on Thursday May 28 th  at 4 pm via zoom to participate in this important conversation.  
 
 
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
POLITICAL ACTION
Things are looking grim for K-12 Schools across the nation as the COVID-19 pandemic crashes our economy. What will school funding look like for 2020-21 and beyond? What can you do to help ensure adequate funding?

  1. Sign this NEA petition.
  2. Ask your school board to pass a resolution.

When We Vote, We Win!

If we've learned anything from the April election, it's to be prepared. Request your mail-in ballot for the fall elections now !  
Region 3 Locals are Having Virtual Membership Meetings!
Some Locals are getting together to have virtual coffee or happy hour - just to say Hi!

Some Locals are conducting their annual Membership meeting online.

If your platform doesn't have the capacity you need, or you'd like some assistance, Region 3 Directors Dave, Kristin, and Kathy can help facilitate with Region 3's Zoom and Ring Central resources. Contact us for more info.
Join Early at No Extra Cost
When you become a member of your local association, WEAC and NEA,
by completing an early enrollment membership form, you pay nothing
until September 1 and immediately receive:

  • $1 million in coverage under the Educator Employment Liability (EEL) insurance to protect you if a student or parent sues you during the course of employment

  • Discounts and savings through NEA Member Benefits (www.neamb.com).


At the start of the school year, you will enjoy the full benefits of membership
including:

  • Representation through your local and region in employment disputes

  • Eligibility for assistance through the WEAC Legal Services Program in matters related to your employment

  • Access to the Attorney Referral Program that provides for two, free half-hour consultations with a participating attorney every year


BECOME A MEMBER TODAY
by contacting Region3@weac.org !

WEAC
NEA
You are Invited!
WR3's ALL-MEMBER
Weekly Virtual Gathering
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
4:30 - 5:30 pm

Please note that you need to PRE-Register for the meeting by clicking on the link above. Then an email will be sent to you with the login link.
We are doing our best to Zoombomb-proof our meeting!

Agenda:
1) Latest updates on school closings.
2) Time for sharing! What's going on in your area?


We look forward to SEEING you!
It's a good idea to log in a few minutes early
to get the audio and video working on your device.
Region 3 has added a COVID-19 INFO tab at the top of our webpage: https://region3.weac.org/

Clicking on that tab gives you access to a Google Drive with all kinds of updated information. We have posted a document with links and resources, recordings of virtual gatherings, an Excel version of our survey data, and more.
WEAC
2020 WEAC Representative Assembly - Saturday, May 23 - Via Zoom Video Conference Call

T he 2020 WEAC Rep Assembly is being held via Zoom conference call on Saturday, May 23. The Zoom meeting will start at 10:00 a.m. The RA agenda and Standing Rules, along with other information, can be found at www.weac.org/ra . We will continue to post items as necessary. See the WEAC RA page for more information.
If you have a question about other meetings, check WEAC's webpage:
WEAC is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our members and the students they serve and will continue to provide resources and support as they become available. 

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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