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MHFT Newsletter -- June 16, 2014

HAPPY SUMMER!
We hope that you have started your summer vacation and that you enjoy your time off to relax and recharge. Thank you for taking a few minutes to get caught up with MHFT!

JUNE 10 BOARD MEETING UPDATE
A big thank you to all of our unit members who were able to join us at the June 10 board meeting. The board unanimously approved our contract modifications for 2014-2015. We also want to thank our negotiations team for all of their hard work, time and talent this spring, which led to a successful ratification! We look forward to further improvements in our contract when we reopen our contract in January 2015.

The board also held the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) public hearing. We were not sure how many community members would attend to speak on this issue. We were pleased that the comments were positive, including comments from Donna Foster-Ruebusch! The LCAP and the 2014-2015 budget will be approved at the June 24 meeting. We will keep you posted. 

MHFT Financial Audit
In order to be compliant with American Federation of Teachers regulations, MHFT conducted a financial audit on June 16, 2014. The letter below reaffirms that our local is in good financial standing. We would also like to thank Terri Eves-Knudsen for all of her diligent work as the Treasurer of MHFT. If you would like to see additional documentation regarding this audit, please call our office to make an appointment for the review.

We are especially grateful to the Audit Committee, Andrea Kusanovich, Chris Mink and Andrea Pecsok, for their time and energy to complete this audit. Please see their review letter below.

June 16, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

We have examined the financial records of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers for the period October 17, 2012 through May 31, 2014 and found them to be in good order.

This examination was performed by a committee made up of members of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers and was conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices.  Based upon our examination, we consider the financial statement for the period October 17, 2012 through May 31, 2014 to be an accurate summary of transactions conducted during that period.

Sincerely,
Andrea Kusanovich, Chris Mink, and Andrea Pecsok

VERGARA DECISION HANDED DOWN: TEACHER “TENURE” UNCONSTITUTIONAL
In a seriously misguided decision, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge last week struck down due process rights for teachers facing dismissal.  Please see the press release from CFT below, and remember that this is just one more example of why your vote is important come election time.

California Educators and State of California to Appeal Judge’s Ruling
in Vergara v. State of California (2014)

Flawed Decision Hurts Students, Punishes All for A Few Poorly Run Districts

Los Angeles — California’s educators are disappointed by the judge’s decision in the Vergara v. State of California as it hurts students and educators. From the beginning, this lawsuit has highlighted the wrong problems, proposed the wrong solutions, and followed the wrong process. Today’s groundless decision has been stayed and all laws remain in effect while parties appeal.

“We are deeply disappointed, but not surprised by this decision. Like the lawsuit itself, today’s ruling is deeply flawed. This lawsuit has nothing to do with what’s best for kids, but was manufactured by a Silicon Valley millionaire and a corporate PR firm to undermine the teaching profession and push their agenda on our schools,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “We plan to appeal this decision on behalf of students and educators, while teachers continue to provide all students a quality public education every day.”

“Rather than provide resources or working to create positive environments for students and teachers, this suit asserts that taking away rights from teachers will somehow help students,” said CFT President Joshua Pechthalt. “This suit is not pro-student.  It is fundamentally anti-public education, scapegoating teachers for problems originating in underfunding, poverty, and economic inequality.”

There is nothing unconstitutional about these laws and the plaintiffs clearly failed to show harm to any student. Testimony and research actually showed that teaching experience enhances classroom effectiveness and increases student productivity at all grade levels. All three of the issues in this case contribute to better outcomes for students. Eliminating the professional and due process rights of educators will not improve student learning, but will make it harder to attract and retain quality teachers in our classrooms.

More information about the Vergara lawsuit, including trial video, can be found at  cta.org/Vergara 
and vergaratrial.com.

SHOUT OUT FOR MHFT FROM GSCFT
Below is a message from Casey Carlson, a union leader in Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers:

Community TV produced a show on education and human services as a human right.  Alison Guevara from UCAFT, Tobin Keller from CCFT (Cabrillo), Nora Hochman from CNA, and Casey Carlson from GSCFT are the panelists.  The panel discusses attempted corporate takeover of public services and how workers, unions and communities come together to fight corporate takeover.

 

The program will air for four Thursdays, starting June 19, on channel 27. People without Comcast can view it Livestream at the same time on the communitytv.org website by choosing livestream channel 27. 

They can also view it on Youtube starting later tonight:
http://youtu.be/wtAPyDvPD3o

The producer is Matilde Rand.

CREATIVE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
This blog is from Johnathan Lovell, who has headed up the San Jose Area Writing Project for many years.Check it out!
http://jlovellsjawp.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/a-response-to-educational-reform-through-creative-disruption/

SUMMER AFT OPPORTUNITIES
Summer Training of Trainers for the AFT Young Workers Health & Safety Training Program, July 23-26 in New Jersey

As part of the American Federation of Teacher’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) grant, AFT is seeking members who will commit to training 20-30 young workers (ages 14-20 years old) after attending a three day training of trainers, July 23rd to 26th in New Brunswick NJ. The grant will cover all travel expenses and AFT will assist and support trainers as they conduct their training.

The goal of the AFT is to develop a core group of members across the country that will provide this training to young workers ages 14-20 years old who are just entering or about to enter the workforce.  The training is based on the “Talking Safety” training curricula for young workers developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (http://www.cdc.gov/NIOSH/talkingsafety/).  

The summer three-day training of trainers (TOT) program will introduce participants to the NIOSH curriculum and provide practice time to learn the material.  TOT participants will develop a plan to integrate a minimum of two of the six 45 minute-modules from the “Talking Safety” curricula into either their lesson plans or by expanding our reach to after school and/or community based programs.  Participants would be expected to complete their training by the end of the calendar year.

Interested participants will need the approval of their local union president to attend.  If your local union is interested in sending a participant or would like additional information, please contact AFT staff member Amy Bahruth at abahruth@aft.org

SPECIAL EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY
One of our CFT committees, composed of K12, classified and community college staff, has prioritized post-secondary transitions as one of their greatest areas of need for professional development.

With that in mind, they have planned a training for CFT’s September 27th committee meeting in San Jose featuring renown transition expert, Diana Blackmon (with the help of a grant from CalSTAT).

CFT is offering one scholarship per local to bring members serving in special education or disabled student services (who are not already on the committee) to the training.

Please contact Theresa Sage at tsmhft@garlic.com if you are interested. The deadline for submitting an application is September 5, 2014

Have a fabulous summer!