Category Archive: Recent News
Mar 21 2017
From the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools:
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.
Mar 14 2017
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
Presented by MTI Member Ben Senson
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
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – 4:30 to 5:30 PM
What’s Your Score?
Credit session presented by Educators Credit Union
Saving for Your Future
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – 4:30 to 5:30 PM
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.
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 07 2017
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:
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 in the district, 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
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
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 www.weabenefits.com/consults.
Mar 05 2017
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
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
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
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
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 21 2016
1 hour crash course-Saving for your future
1 Hour Crash Course – Saving for your future: Why saving early and often is important.
Most Wisconsin public school employees can expect their retirement income to come from three sources: WRS (the Wisconsin Retirement System pension), Social Security, and personal savings. Even though your pension benefit provides an excellent head start, today’s employees need to consider personal savings to fill their retirement savings gap.
Here’s what we will cover in this not-to-be missed session:
Why you need more than WRS and Social Security
The importance of personal savings
The difference between a 403(b) and an IRA
Easy steps to start saving for your future
Whether you are just beginning your career or are nearing the end of it, there is something for you. Join us for this crash course and get a better idea of how your pension and personal savings work to fill your retirement savings gap.
The percentage of salary replaced is tied to how many years one works in state service. The 40%-50% figure assumes that someone puts 25-30 years in the Wisconsin Retirement System.
Seminars are 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.
The 403(b) retirement program is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program registered representatives are licensed through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA. The Trustee Custodian for the WEAC IRA accounts is Newport Trust Company.
Understanding WRS 101: Your State Pension Plan
WRS, the state pension plan, will be a source of retirement income for most Wisconsin public school employees like you. How much do you know about this important benefit?
Whether you just started your career or are nearing the end of it, there is something for you.
Read/interpret your pension statement.
Calculate your WRS pension benefit.
Choose an appropriate annuity option.
Purchase forfeited service.
Determine whether you will have a retirement income gap.
There will be opportunities for questions during the presentation.
Dec 14 2016