Category Archive: Recent News

Jul 21 2017

Free Financial Consultations in August!

Attention MTI Members!

Steve Pike is a retired MTI teacher and current Member Benefits Consultant for WEA Member Benefits.  Steve will be at MTI (33 Nob Hill Road) to meet with staff.

WHAT:  FREE 30 minute Financial Consultation

WHEN:  August 2, 7, 9, 23, or 24 (register by clicking on the link below)

 

WHERE:  33 Nob Hill Road, 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 at the new MTI headquarters (33 Nob Hill Road), 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

  • 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

  • WRS statement

  • Other financial information you would like reviewed

Spouses/partners welcome.

Sign up here for your consultation

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 www.weabenefits.com/consults.

Jul 07 2017

Free Financial Summer Events from WEA Member Benefits

Whether you are curious about the sources of retirement income and what programs are available to you, or you want to learn more about the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and how to read your WRS statement, there’s something for you. Spend some time with us and gain some knowledge at an upcoming 

seminar or workshop this summer. Join several experts as they present a variety of free financial seminars to MTI and Region 6 members. Topics include:

  • The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) pension 

  • How to read your WRS statement

  • Retirement planning

  • Long-term care insurance

  • Basics of personal finance, budgeting, saving for your future, and more.

Please register in advance for one or all of the following sessions.  Click here for more info or click on one of the links below to register.

Tuesday, July 25th

10:00-11:00amSaving for Your Future

>> Sign up for this seminar

1:00-2:00pm
How to Read and Verify Your WRS Statement

>> Sign up for this seminar


Thursday, July 27th

10:30-11:30am
Retirement Planning 101

>> Sign up for this seminar


Tuesday, August 1st

10:00-11:00am
Student Loan Forgiveness (presented by Ben Senson, MTI member)

>> Sign up for this seminar


Thursday, August 3

10:00-11:30am
WRS & Retirement Savings workshop (with experts from Member Benefits, MTI and the Department of Employee Trust Funds)

>> Sign up for this seminar

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, August 3

11:30am-12:30pm
Individual Long-term Care Insurance Options – SEMINAR

>> Sign up for this seminar

All seminars are held at WEA Member Benefits, 660 John Nolen Drive in Madison.

Jun 15 2017

Public Schools Under Assault in Wisconsin – Again

Dear friends of Wisconsin public schools,

The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection announced at the last minute that it will take up two bills that would limit local control of school referenda at noon tomorrow, Thurs. June 15. The committee chair Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) is also the author of the two bills.

SB-191 Bonding Resolution Consideration – this bill would prohibit a school board in a unified district from voting on a resolution to exceed a school district’s revenue limit at a school board meeting that is not a regularly scheduled monthly meeting, and would prohibit voting in a common or union high school (UHS) district on a resolution to exceed a school district’s revenue limit at a school district special meeting. The bill would further provide that the electors of common and UHS districts may vote upon an initial resolution to raise money through a bond issue only at the annual meeting.

SB-195 School Referenda – This bill would eliminate recurring operating referenda to raise revenue authority on a permanent basis. It would also limit multi-year non-recurring operating referenda to 5 years. Finally, and possibly most troubling, the bill eliminates referendum-approved revenue authority from a school district’s base budget that was approved in any previous recurring referendum five years after the effective date of the bill.

As if the last-minute announcement doesn’t make public testimony difficult enough, the hearing will likely overlap with the already-scheduled public hearing of the Assembly Education Committee that starts at 10am – that has THE SAME BILLS on the agenda (plus one more):

Assembly Bill 282, relating to: restricting consideration of resolutions to issue bonds by common and union high school districts and prohibiting voting on a resolution to exceed the revenue limit of a school district at a special meeting. 

This bill, authored by state Rep. David Murphy (R-Greenville), would prohibit a school board in a unified district from voting on a resolution to exceed a school district’s revenue limit at a school board meeting that is not a regularly scheduled monthly meeting, and would prohibit voting in a common or union high school (UHS) district on a resolution to exceed a school district’s revenue limit at a school district special meeting. The bill would further provide that the electors of common and UHS districts may vote upon an initial resolution to raise money through a bond issue only at the school district’s annual meeting.

Assembly Bill 268, relating to: restricting school board referendums to exceed revenue limit applicable to a school district.

This bill, authored by state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), would eliminate recurring  referendums to exceed revenue  limits and would limit the duration of successful non-recurring (temporary) operating referendums to 5 years, creating an automatic “cliff effect” when those referendums expire. The bill would also convert all previously approved recurring (permanent) operating expense referendums to non-recurring (temporary) operating referendums with a duration of 5 years, which would create a similar “cliff effect.” The five-year clock would begin ticking in the year the bill, if enacted as a new law, is published.

Assembly Bill 269, relating to: restricting the scheduling of school district referendums to exceed revenue limits

This bill, authored by state Rep. Michael Schraa  (R-Oshkosh) would require, with certain exceptions (e.g., in cases of fire or natural disaster) that all referendum votes must be held on the dates of Spring and Fall General Elections. (The Spring election is held annually on the first Tuesday in April. The Fall General election occurs in even-numbered years on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.) This would limit school boards to only two opportunities in an even-numbered year and only one opportunity in an odd-numbered year.

If you plan to testify in person, you can fill out a form to register in favor or opposition to the bills even if you don’t plan to speak. You can also submit testimony in writing if you cannot attend in person.  

Thanks to our friends at WASB (which opposes all three bills) for the updates:

Speak up for local control of local schools! Your voice matters!

Heather DuBois Bourenane

hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org • (608) 572-1696 • WisconsinNetwork.org
facebook: www.facebook/WisconsinNetwork • twitter: @WiscEdNetwork

The Wisconsin Public Education Network is a project of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools.

Jun 08 2017

Summer Deal for Teachers at Bliss Flow Yoga

MTI Members!  Bliss Flow Yoga is running a summer sale for teachers.  They are offering a 3 month unlimited membership for $199 (regular price is $399).

Just use the promo code $choolsout at checkout and choose the 90 Day Unlimited!  

Click here to learn more about their regular deals for MTI members.

Or visit their website for more info:  www.blissflowyoga.com

May 25 2017

National Board Certification Upcoming Sessions

Explore the professional and financial benefits of National Board Certification and the support your union can provide to National Board candidates.  Click here for more info and to learn how to sign up!

Apr 29 2017

MTI Headquarters Moving to WEAC Building on May 18

MTI has sold its building on Williamson Street. On May 18, MTI Headquarters will be relocating to the WEAC Building at 33 Nob Hill Road. We are confident that our move will be of major benefit to MTI members. The larger meeting space and parking capacity, along with the proximity to our State and regional partners, are real assets. MTI staff services and support for MTI members will continue uninterrupted during the move. MTI’s phone number will remain the same (608) 257-0491. MTI’s mailing address will change to: 33 Nob Hill Road, Madison, WI 53713. MTI is moving … forward!

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. 

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