September 11 Payroll: In June, the SPPS Payroll department communicated information out regarding the September 11 payroll. This payroll most educators who work 10 months did not get a paycheck because the first pay period for this school year just ended and the first paycheck will be issued on September 25. The last payday for 10-month educators on the 26 pay period plan, for the 2019-2020 school year summer pay, was August 29. There was an extra week of summer this year (you may have noticed the late Labor Day), which created a gap in the school year pay cycles. For folks who are looking who might need some financial assistance, you can find a list of financial and community resources available to union members at this link.
Additionally, some educators were paid for professional development hours on the September 11 payroll, which was a pay period that did not include any summer pay or regular work year pay; as a result there was a payroll error and employees had deductions taken from that pay that should not have been deducted. We have been in touch with payroll about this issue and they will be looking at options for making adjustments on deductions other than SPTRFA and tax deductions, which are mandatory. Please let your organizer know if this impacted you, we will keep folks up-to-date on payroll communication regarding this issue.
New Member Sign Ups: New Educational Assistants, School and Community Service Professionals, and Licensed Staff (Teachers, Social Workers, Counselors, etc) can now sign up to be a member of SPFE online at this link: https://spfe28.org/membership/join/. Stewards, please take time to connect with new employees and ask them to become a member.
Special Education PIC Thursday, September 17th at 4:30p.m.: This Thursday we will have a Special Education PIC meeting with District Administration. We will have a pre-meeting with SPFE members at 4:30p.m. and start meeting with the district at 5:00p.m. If you are interested in attending this meeting, please RSVP at this link: https://forms.gle/Z3NTd46fJGjPcuuA8
MOA Updates: This past week we reached an agreement on our Distance Learning MOA. On Monday, SPFE Officers recommended the MOA for approval to the SPFE E-Board. We are still waiting for a response from the district on outstanding pieces regarding Essential Kid Care and Discovery Club MOA #1 language. This is a link to the Distance Learning MOA.
Special Education Distance Learning Memorandum of Agreement: We have finalized MOA language for Special Education educators during distance learning. SPED educators will conduct distance learning based on student IEPs and will not have the same requirements as other educators. The district will also be creating teams to conduct in-person assessments, licensed Special Education teachers without a caseload will be asked to volunteer for these teams. Also, in recognition of the workload related to additional communication, contingency plans, IEP meetings, and assessments, each licensed SPED educator can submit a timecard for 8 hours of additional pay at the Instructional Assignment for Homebound rate (Appendix D of the Teacher Contract). Teachers with caseloads over 17 can request an additional hour of pay for each additional student over 17. If you are a Special Education teacher and need more time to complete your paperwork, you can still request paperwork days or additional support from your coach, lead or the SPED Assistant Superintendent. You can find the SPED language at this link.
EL Weighted Caseloads: Over the summer SPFE leadership and staff discussed the implementation of the EL weighted caseload language (insert link) with district leadership. During these discussions, it became evident by looking at the data that more EL staff would need to be hired to meet the new language standards then was originally anticipated. While reviewing the data, we discovered that the district had not been including EL students who did not have an ACCESS test score in building numbers to determine staffing needs. The district is now in the process of correcting this oversight. The parties agreed that the larger amount of new staff required would have been difficult to hire during our the current situation with COVID-19. In the meantime, for this school year, we have agreed that there will be 10 additional EL Licensed Teacher FTEs added to address large caseloads. Full implementation of the caseload language will occur next school year. This is the link to the EL MOA.
Requesting an accommodations in the event that SPPS moves into hybrid or in-person learning: The link to the district website with information and the ADA form is at this link: https://www.spps.org/Page/39787 If you have a medical condition that will prevent you from returning to work in person and you need to request an accommodation to work virtually, you should complete this form now! If you do not qualify for an ADA accommodation, but still have a need to request working virtually, please fill out the ADA request form. The district will be accepting all requests for an accommodation to work virtually via this form, even if they do not meet the ADA threshold. Even though we are in distance learning, it is helpful for everyone if the district knows how many folks need an accommodation.
Class Size Issues: Stewards should take time in the coming week to request class sizes for all of the teachers at your school and schedule a class size committee meeting. To request this information simply email your principal and ask them to send you the class size numbers for each teacher and suggest dates for a class size committee meeting. Prior to a class size meeting you will want to review the class size information to look for overages and connect with the educators who are over in class size. If you don’t have any immediate issues with class size at your school, you may decide to meet to review the data and ask questions or to wait to meet later when changes are being considered or have occurred. If you have questions about planning for a class size meeting, contact your organizer. Click here for the class size language and class size exception form to complete at committee meetings.
Professional Employees Insurance Program(PEIP) Open Enrollment Overview for Stewards on Thursday, September 24 at 4:00p.m.: We will be conducting a training for stewards in preparation for open enrollment into the new PEIP health insurance. Open enrollment will take place in November. The PEIP insurance will start January 2021. We encourage all stewards to attend this training so you can help members know where to find information during open enrollment. Please RSVP at this link to attend: https://forms.gle/DLtgDrQ7sjrzmGqb8
2020 Elections and Political Updates. We’ve created a new page on the SPFE website for election information. You can find it at https://spfe28.org/2020-elections/ This section will contain information on candidates (including questionnaires, and SPFE endorsements), voting information, and the SPFE voter guide (coming soon!). This page will be updated regularly leading up to the November 3, 2020 election.
The 2020 elections will be extremely important. In Saint Paul there is a special election for school board, and around the state we will be voting for the Minnesota House and Senate. In 2021 the Minnesota Legislature will set funding levels for education spending, and it’s crucial that we elect legislators that understand the issues facing educators and support us as we seek full funding for public education. Early voting in Minnesota starts on Friday, September 18, 2020. You can find information on how to apply for your ballot (along with other important information) in the new 2020 SPFE Voter Guide. at https://spfe28.org/spfe-2020-voter-guide/
SPFE COPE and political organizer Lynne Bolton will be reaching out to stewards over the next few weeks to schedule time to speak at your staff meeting for our COPE drive. SPFE’s political work is funded by member contributions, not regular dues.
The TD&E Oversight committee is adding members. We have one vacancy at the high school level and are looking for two at-large SPFE members as well. Information on the Oversight Committee can be found at https://www.spps.org/Domain/1289
If you are interested in serving on this committee, please fill out the form at: https://forms.gle/Yn1sZXujGazrVZHR6. The committee meets about 4-5 times per year.
PEIP Information Available: A new webinar is now available to introduce eligible employees to the new PEIP health insurance program for 2021. This program will be open to employees in the following bargaining units and classifications only: SPFE-Teachers, Education Assistants, SCSP and Teamsters-Teaching Assistants.
We encourage all benefit eligible employees to watch the webinar on their own time. The 20-minute webinar is recorded and available for on-demand viewing on the Benefits website.
More information about the PEIP program benefits can be found on the PEIP website at innovomn.com. Plan documents, benefit summaries, 2020 clinic directory, pharmacy locator and Q&A are also available on the website.
For questions about the PEIP program, contact Innovo at 952-746-3101 or 800-829-5601. Please stay tuned for additional informational sessions as we get closer to open enrollment this fall.