Category Archive: Recent News

Apr 04 2017

Free Financial Consultations at MTI in April and May!

Attention MTI Members!

Steve Pike is a retired MTI teacher and current Member Benefits Consultant for WEA Member Benefits.  Steve will be onsite to meet with staff.

WHAT:  FREE 30-minute Financial Consultation

WHEN:  Appointments are available on the following dates:

    You can register for a date and time by clicking on one of the links below.

Sign-up on Wednesday, April 12

Sign-up on Thursday, May 4

Sign-up on Monday, May 8

Sign-up on Monday, May 15

Sign-up on Wednesday, May 24

WHERE:  MTI, 821 Williamson Street, Madison, WI

This is ideal if you are just getting started, have specific questions, or would like a quick check-in.  Because these are held onsite at MTI, it’s a convenient way to meet with someone face-to-face to get some general help or guidance.

Steve can answer your specific questions on a wide range of financial topics such as:

  • 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

Some things to bring along to your consultation include:

  • Recent paycheck stub

  • Recent 403(b) and/or IRA account statements

  • Other financial information you would like reviewed

Spouses/Partners welcome.

Promoted by MTI!

Can’t make it to a consultation but want to talk to someone?  Sign up for a 30-minute phone consultation and speak to a Retirement and Investment Consultant.  Find a time and day that’s convenient for you at

Mar 29 2017

Library Media Technology Issues at the Capitol – 3/31

A group of librarians in MMSD are taking action!  

We are visiting our Senators and Legislators on March 31 at 4pm at the Capitol. 

Some Library Media Technology Specialist issues have arisen around the Common School Fund (CSF). It is the fund solely dedicated to funding school libraries around the state. Next year, voters will vote on whether or not a crucial part will change. As you know, we need to protect our libraries. I can talk further about this with you or someone else.

Here are our talking points and issues for our legislators. 

In addition, we are advocating for the increased K-12 funding that Gov. Walker proposes although he complicates things for MMSD. This is the section I put in:

K-12 Funding and Educational Technology in the State Budget: Governor Walker, in the 2017-2019 state budget, includes a $649 million dollar increase to educational funding. We support the increase in funding as increased K-12 funding helps support strong school libraries. Strong school libraries help build strong students and school librarians play a vital role in the teaching and learning process. Increased funding also supports funding for digital learning for all students regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status as well as professional development needed to integrate quality online resources and tools in the classroom. In addition, his budget supports funding Increases for Broadband Expansion Grants (not school or libraries at this time though). Note that Governor Walker only increases K-12 educational funding for those districts whose employees contribute %12 towards their health insurance. MMSD currently does not. MTI (Madison Teachers, Inc.) and MMSD are currently working on the potential health insurance changes and compensation issues. 

Here is the email and materials sent to MMSD librarians: 

Hi, wonderful and talented librarians!

You are invited to…visit the Wisconsin Capitol to talk with our State Senators and Representatives about school library issues on F, March 31 from  4 to 4:45pm. 

We will meet at the Wisconsin Capitol room 201 SE.

RSVP so I can get a folder together for you. Feel free to invite other school librarians who are around the MMSD. Materials including talking points, issues, visual guide, and whos who are linked below.

The following Senators and Representatives will be able to attend. As noted, some may send a staff person.  

Sen Fitzgerald — sending staff person (He is the Senate Majority Leader — nothing can come up in the Senate without his approval)
Sen Miller
Sen Risser
Rep Anderson — will probably be there but sending a staff person if need be
Rep Berceau 
Rep Hebl — will send a staff person
Rep Hesselbein — will send a staff person as daughter’s are out of school that day 
Rep Kleefisch — sending a staff person
Rep Sargent
Rep Taylor — sending a staff person as daughters are out of school that day
Sen. Erpenbach, Unable to attend, but he will get the information from Sen Miller’s office

Here are some sheets that will be helpful:

This will be a chance to inform, talk, and discuss issues that are important to you as a school librarian. 

To find out who your home and school legislators are, you can go to the following site: 

We are unable to visit during school contract hours and thought March 31 would be a good day to plan this.

Mar 23 2017

Summer Jobs for Teachers with the City of Madison – Safety Town Educators

The City of Madison has a need for Safety Town Educators again this summer.

 Brief description of the positions: This is a limited term summer position working with young children in an educational setting.  Safety Town is a one-week program, designed especially for children entering kindergarten in the fall, which teaches children how to be safe in their community. Safety Town uses hands-on activities – taught in a small-scale city with streets, homes and sidewalks – to teach children about many different aspects of safety and injury prevention.  Click here for more info.

Mar 21 2017

Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools Circle of Friends Luncheon Fundraiser 2017

From the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools:

Join Us!

A strong school district is the foundation of the community.  The Madison Metropolitan School District has made great strides towards the goal of every student graduating college, career and community ready, but they need your support.

We invite you to learn more about our school system, and how as a member of this remarkable community you can play a role in building stronger public schools in Madison.

Thriving schools deserve strong supporters.  Join us at Circle of Friends to show your support for public education.

Click here for more information.

Mar 14 2017

Attention MTI Members! Save the Dates!

MTI is once again partnering with WEA Member Benefits – the premier provider of financial products and services for Wisconsin public school employees – to enhance your financial well-being.  Join us at the following upcoming events in April and May.

Student Loan Forgiveness

         Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – 4:30 to 5:30 PM

         Presented by MTI Member Ben Senson

         Registration and Information


Learn to Read and Verify Your WRS Statement

         Thursday, April 20, 2017 – 4:30 to 5:30 PM

         Presented by Ana Bonjour and Steve Pike, WEA  Member Benefits

         Registration and Information

         Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – 4:30 to 5:30 PM

         Registration and Information


Saving for Your Future

         Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – 4:30 to 5:30 PM

         Registration and Information


All events are free and will be held at WEA Member Benefits (660 John Nolen Drive, Madison).


Financial Consultations – NOW AVAILABLE!

In addition, Steve Pike (retired teacher and current WEA Member Benefits Consultant) is available for a free 30-minute financial consultation.  This is ideal if you are just getting started, have specific questions, or would like a quick check-in.  It’s a convenient way to meet with someone face-to-face to get some general help or guidance. Consultations are held at MTI Headquarters.

Register for a date and time


Seminars and financial planning consultations may be free to attend; however, if you choose to invest in the WEA Tax Sheltered Annuity or WEAC IRA program, fees will apply.  Consider all expenses before investing.


Mar 05 2017

School vouchers are not a proven strategy for improving student achievement

News from EPI – Voucher programs don’t improve education and have important downsides


In a new report, Stanford professor and EPI research associate Martin Carnoy finds that voucher programs that promote private schooling have not delivered on promised improvements in educational outcomes. Rather, they tend to divert effort away from investments in public education that have been shown to improve educational attainments.

Carnoy reviews evaluations of voucher programs in cities including Milwaukee, Dayton, and Washington D.C. and states including Indiana, Louisiana, and Florida to show that vouchers do not significantly improve student achievement.

In Milwaukee, which has been a total “choice” district for 20 years, students can select among traditional public schools, public magnet schools, and charter schools. However, only one in four students attends his or her neighborhood school. With one of the highest number of school choice participants in the country, Milwaukee’s African American students rank second to last for eighth grade math scores and last for reading scores.

“If we want to give parents a real ‘choice’ of quality schools, we should invest in neighborhood public schools with a menu of proven policies,” said Carnoy. “All of these yield much higher returns than the minor gains that have been estimated for voucher students.”

Carnoy recommends investing in early childhood education, after-school and summer programs, and implementing high standards in math, reading, and science curricula in order to improve student achievement.

“Betsy DeVos, the new U.S. Secretary of Education, is a strong proponent of allowing public education dollars to go to private and religious education, “ said Carnoy. “It’s up to her to set the tone for Congress to value public education and educators.”

Feb 17 2017

2017-18 School Calendar Finalized

The Joint MTI/MMSD Calendar Committee has reached agreement on the 2017-18 calendar.  For a copy of the official 2017-18 calendar click here.  

The highlights of the calendar are:

  • New teacher mandatory days – August 23-25

  • Staff Only/Prep days – August 28-31

  • Voluntary day – September 1

  • Labor Day holiday – September 4

  • Beginning of first semester – September 5

  • Compensatory Day – November 22 (for those doing parent-teacher conferences or related work)

  • Thanksgiving Break – November 23-24

  • Winter Break – December 22-January 2

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday – January 15

  • Beginning of second semester – January 22

  • Spring Break – March 26-30

  • Memorial Day holiday – May 28

  • End of student school year – June 8

  • High School graduations (weekend of June 8)

  • Last work day for staff – June 11

The 2017-18 calendar represents a series of compromises in a school year that contains several challenging holiday dates.  It is the product of multiple meetings and many hours of work by MTI members of the Joint Committee, which sought to represent and balance members’ interests while maneuvering through a system impacted by many factors, including State laws, DPI regulations, and BOE policies.  The above dates represent a 192 day contract for continuing teachers comprised of 176 student days; 4 staff-only (PD) days before the school year begins; 1 voluntary day before the school year begins; 6 staff-only (PD) days throughout the school year; 1 comp day; and 4 paid holidays.

The 8-day winter break represents an improvement in the District’s proposed break.  While it is not the full 10 days that many members preferred, it was the only viable option, given the above.  Other school districts in the area and around the state have 6 or 7-day breaks, with only one other district having an 8-day break.  The power of the membership resulted in this compromise, among others, on Administration’s part.  No winter break days were given up for staff-only (PD) days.  There will be some additional minutes of instruction added to the student day in order to comply with DPI regulations, but these minutes will not impact contract hours or total number of days worked (i.e. returning teachers will continue to work a  192 day contract).

The procedure for establishing the school calendar is provided in the Employee Handbook, agreed upon by both MTI and MMSD.  It is because of MTI’s continuous involvement and diligence that MTI-represented employees have a voice in the process of determining the calendar each year.  Discussions about the 2017-18 school calendar did not begin until well into the current school year, resulting in some dissatisfaction among MTI members; the parties have agreed to begin discussions for the 2018-19 school calendar immediately upon completion of the 2017-18 calendar.  This should result in better communication and more time for member feedback.

Both parties recognize that there are concerns relative to staff-only (PD) days, and the Joint Committee will continue to meet to determine how these days are used and when they should occur.  Administration prefers that staff-only (PD) days get scheduled in a 6-to-8-week rotation that aligns with the student learning cycle.  There is a preference to have all PD during paid time, rather than asking teachers to do the work outside of contract hours, when teachers would receive lesser pay.  The parties also have an on-going concern about the shortage of substitute teachers.  Having staff-only (PD) days during the contract year should diminish the need for subs by decreasing the number of “days away,” which impact student learning and create challenges for staff who are not on a “day away.”  MTI has also voiced the concern of members relative to having meaningful PD that relates directly to the individual teacher.

MTI members can impact the quality of PD in their schools by becoming members of their school-based leadership teams.  The Handbook provides that the structure of staff-only (PD) days will be determined collaboratively at the building level by the principal and the SBLT.  The time should include collaborative learning that supports and enhances the quality of teaching and is aligned to each school’s SIP goals and strategies.  MTI faculty representatives can also represent members’ interests via the collaborative problem-solving process, in which all faculty representatives and principals have been trained and which is in place in all schools.

Thank you to the members of the MTI Joint Calendar Committee for their hard work and perseverance:  Andy Waity (Crestwood), Cindy Ball (Jefferson), Andrew McCuaig (LaFollette), Amy Turkowski (Franklin), and Karen Vieth (Sherman).

Feb 07 2017

SCFL 2017-2018 Scholarship Application

The South Central Federation of Labor will be awarding four $1,000 scholarships for the 2017-18 school year.  Applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, June 30, 2017.  Click here for more information and for an application form.

Feb 07 2017

2017 Nominations for United Way Community Volunteer Awards



The United Way of Dane County is currently accepting nominations for their Community Volunteer Awards, including a category for youth volunteers.  Youth winners will be awarded up to $1,000 for the organization that they volunteer for as well as up to $1,000 towards their education.  Click here for more info. 

Dec 14 2016

Help the SCFL Develop the Wisconsin Labor History Map!

Hey MTI! Do you think it’s important to teach Labor History in our schools? If so, help the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) develop the Wisconsin Labor History Map!

This interactive tool, and the curriculum we develop to support it, will be an incredible resource for students, teachers, union members, and all the people of our state. The Wisconsin Labor History Map Project is dedicated to preserving the history of workers and unions in Wisconsin and demonstrating the value they bring to our communities.

Our map provides short descriptions, images and links to resources for historically significant labor sites and events within Wisconsin. Service Learning students from UW-Madison have begun creating student worksheets and teacher guides around the Map- now we need your help to move forward!

There are a bunch of ways you can help! Please email SCFL Organizer, Charity Schmidt at to find out more or to get involved!

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