Saturday, February 11, 2017

Indianapolis Events: February 20, April 4

IRTA LEGISLATIVE LUNCH

On April 4th, IRTA is sponsoring a Legislative Brunch. Members will be speaking to legislators in the morning about retired teachers' pensions/stipend check and other concerns of retired public schoolteachers. Carpools will be organized and members should contact AREA President, Barb Kanning, if you would like to attend.


CELEBRATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

The following is an excerpt from Vic's Statehouse Notes, written by Vic Smith of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education.

You can reach Vic to subscribe to the notes by emailing him at: vic790@aol.com

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #274 – February 10, 2017
Dear Friends,

Here is your chance to stand up for public education! Come to the Statehouse on Presidents’ Day to support public education!

On February 20th, you along with your friends, family and colleagues are invited to a “Celebration of Public Education”.

Lunch is available at 12:30 (register by Feb. 15). Student choirs begin at 1:30. Speakers begin at 2:00 in the North Atrium.

These are difficult times for public education, an institution that has undergirded our democracy for 180 years:

  • On Tuesday US Senators voted to confirm a private school voucher advocate with no professional experience in public schools as US Secretary of Education.
  • Governor Holcomb has recommended a meager 1% budget increase in general fund tuition support during a time when inflation is now running at 1.7%. Public school programs would have to be cut just to keep up with inflation. His recommended increase in the second year of the biennium is only 2% but his budget would keep a surplus of $2 billion.
  • Bills filed in both the House and the Senate seek to end the concept of public education and common schools written into Indiana’s 1851 Constitution and give public money directly to parents without accountability or oversight, using the deceiving name “Education Savings Accounts.”
  • House Bill 1004 would use the high-profile and popular pre-kindergarten expansion bill as a tool to expand private school vouchers, giving a lifetime K-12 voucher to students who have received a pre-K grant “at any time.”
Public education has been under attack for a long time. For an even longer time, public education has been a tremendous cornerstone to the progress in Indiana that we celebrated in last year’s bicentennial.

It’s time to celebrate and support public education!

Public officials in the Statehouse need to put a higher priority on PUBLIC education. Only constituents and voters can get them to do that. That’s where we need your presence in the Statehouse. I hope to see you there!


Partners and Details

Many groups are in the coalition partnering to support the “Celebration of Public Education” on Presidents’ Day. Others may be added. In alphabetical order, they are:

AFT Indiana

American Association of University Women

Concerned Clergy

Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Indiana Parent Teacher Association

Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association

Indiana State Teachers Association

Indiana Urban Schools Association

Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education

Speakers at 2:00 pm in the North Atrium are being coordinated by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, and Joel Hand will serve as MC.

Displays highlighting a sampling of great things happening in public schools are invited. If you want to reserve a display table for your group or school, go to: ista-in.org/celebration

Lunch will be available on the 4th floor courtesy of the ISTA. A lunch count is requested by February 15th by emailing: dcrum@ista-in.org

Bring new and gently used classroom supplies for ISTA ReSupply and book donations to celebrate Read Across America.

I hope to see you as we celebrate public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

IRTA Scholarship, 2017

Each year, the Indiana Retired Teachers Foundation (IRTF) awards scholarships (one in each Area) to help promote our profession and assist college students who have a passion for the classroom.

Scholarships are awarded to juniors or seniors in an Indiana college or university who are in a program leading to a degree in education.

You can download a scholarship application form by clicking on the IRTF image below.

The first page contains all of the guidelines of who may apply and the deadline, April 28, 2017, for the completed application.

If you have a relative who is currently a college sophomore or junior, this could be an important help financially if they are an education major.

If you know of any of our members who are not online and would have a family member that qualifies, please print it out and give it to them.

Click on the image below to download a copy of the 2017 scholarship application form.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByBD7lkYtoDeOTI0WU1feGJiT0E/view?usp=sharing

or go to the IRTA web site and fill out the application online, at

www.retiredteachers.org/forms/foundation-scholarship-application/

👩‍🎓👨‍🎓👩‍🎓

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #273 – February 6, 2017

The following is an excerpt from Vic's Statehouse Notes, written by Vic Smith of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education.

You can reach Vic to subscribe to the notes by emailing him at: vic790@aol.com
Dear Friends,

In its meeting last Tuesday (Jan. 31), the House Education Committee passed the biggest K-12 voucher expansion since the 2013 session.

This voucher expansion is in a high profile bill to expand pre-kindergarten, House Bill 1004.

Senate Bill 276 also expands pre-kindergarten but without expanding vouchers. SB 276 deserves your active support while HB 1004 deserves your active opposition.

I urge all public school advocates to contact members of the Senate Education Committee before they vote on Wednesday February 8th (1:30pm) to support Senate Bill 276 as it stands with no link to K-12 vouchers.

The members of the Senate Education Committee are:

Republican Senators Kruse, Raatz, Bassler, Crane, Freeman, Kenley, Leising and Zay

Democratic Senators Melton, Mrvan and Stoops


Lifetime Vouchers for Pre-K ($6 M to $10.5 M): Approaching Half the Annual Funding for Pre-K Itself

House Bill 1004 gives a lifetime K-12 voucher to any student that gets a pre-kindergarten grant. The bill sets the income cap for this voucher expansion at a high level: $89,900 for a family of four. This is 200% of the reduced lunch income level and higher than most pathways to vouchers which are capped at 150% of the reduce lunch level.

The bill also doubles the number of families that can apply for a pre-K grant and thereby qualify for a lifetime voucher by raising the pre-K income cap from $31,000 to $67,000 (for a family of four).

This expensive voucher guarantee would eventually lead to voucher eligibility for all students.

Universal vouchers have long been the Holy Grail for voucher advocates like Representative Behning. Obviously if they can hitch vouchers to pre-K, they can ride the pre-K escalator up as it eventually expands to reach the goal of universal vouchers.

The expense of the voucher provision hurts the funding available for pre-K students. The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency estimated that giving vouchers to all pre-K students could cost the state between $6 and $10.5 million annually. The pre-K plan itself will cost the state $20 million annually. Clearly the money to be spent on vouchers would be better spent on raising the funding to help more pre-K students.

Senate Bill 276 expands the pre-K program without the expensive baggage of expanding the K-12 voucher program. Let Senators know that you support their approach and oppose using the pre-K bill as a cover to further expand K-12 vouchers.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Updates – January 24

Recently many of you received a letter and two legislature lists from our Indiana State Teachers Association. There were TWO very important errors in this information.

On the letterhead, in the left column, our Area 2 Director was still listed as Carol Larson. This is NOT accurate. Last June our new director was elected.

Judy Hostetler - judyannhostetler@hotmail.com - 260-833-6678. She is very responsive if you have any concerns.

The IN Senator for District 17 SHOULD be: Andy Zay - s17@iga.in.gov - 220 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN

You will need this info. to contact him as the legislative session proceeds, if he is representing your district!

SAVE THE DATE! Tuesday, April 4th is the Legislative Brunch at the Statehouse in Indy. This is our chance to LOBBY for a COLA raise. The more members attending the better. We'll organize carpools.

The date is two plus weeks before our April 19th meeting of AREA at Biaggi's, so we'll need to be in contact a little earlier.

Thanks, Hope your winter is going well.

Barb Kanning, pres. - 432-5228 OR kanning4@frontier.com

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #269 – January 17, 2017

The following is from Vic's Statehouse Notes, written by Vic Smith of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education.

You can reach Vic to subscribe to the notes by emailing him at: vic790@aol.com
Dear Friends,

Governor Holcomb’s proposed budget bump for K-12 funding is disappointingly low.

His budget was released on January 10th, one day after he called for a “world class education” for Hoosiers in his inaugural address at the state fairgrounds. He is likely to say similar things tonight in his State of the State address.

His budget calls for an increase of 1% in the first year, a total increase of $70 million. In dollars, the second year would match the $70 million and then add $140 million, a 2% increase over the first year. Adding $70 million for the first year and then $210 million for the second year makes a total increase of $280 million, a figure featured on the front page of the Indianapolis Star.

While it sounds like a lot of money, it’s a figure that doesn’t even keep up with inflation in the first year and barely does so in the second year.

The latest annual inflation rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 1.7%. The 1% Holcomb proposal is far less than the cost of living increase and would not allow schools to even keep up current programs in 2017-18, let alone correct the teacher compensation problem that has left Indiana with a highly publicized teacher shortage.

Attached is the history of school funding in Indiana’s last nine budgets. Comparing the Governor’s new proposal to this history shows that this is a weak opening proposal at a time when Indiana has a large surplus.

It would appear that Governor Holcomb is not ready to fund a “world class education.” We will hope that the House and Senate leaders can do better for public education in their budgets.

It is early in the budget process, and public school advocates need to ask members of the House and the Senate to at least match the 2.3% of the last budget cycle. If legislators want to put a true priority on supporting education, ask them to extend that support to a 3% funding increase each year.

Comparisons to the 2015 Budget


In the 2015 two-year budget, the first year increase was $157 million and the second year increase over that was $160 million. Remember that to maintain the first year increase in the second year, $157 million in new money must be added in. Therefore the two-year increase of new money in the 2015 budget was $157 million for the first year plus $157 million (to match the first year) plus $160 million for the second year, or a total of $474 million in new money.

It’s hard to see why we would do less after hearing all the recent reports about how well things are going in Indiana and how we are maintaining a large surplus. Why would our public schools be thrown back into hard times and recession era cutbacks by giving them only a 1% increase?

It is time to call or email your legislators about strong funding for our public schools. Start first with members of the House since the House budget is completed first. The Senate budget is usually unveiled in early April. Let legislators know that the public schools of Indiana need strong and stable funding to implement the high standards that have been set.

For the full context of budget proposals, study the “Total Funding” column in the attached (CLICK HERE) history of school funding increases which I have compiled over the last 18 years of Indiana budgets.

Thank you for your dedicated support of public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!


ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!


Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Link Correction

We apologize! IRTA sent an incorrect link in an email. Here is the correct link.
Welcome to Episode 2 of our new weekly podcast, Indiana EdCast!

In this episode, Tom Mellish and Steve Beebe, our chief lobbyist at the Indiana Statehouse, discuss their work this week in committee meetings, a few bills to watch, and other current legislative news related to retired teachers.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO INDIANA EDCAST: EPISODE 2

Enjoy!

Tom Mellish
Executive Director
Indiana Retired Teachers Association

http://www.spreaker.com/user/irta

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #268 – January 9, 2017

The following is from Vic's Statehouse Notes, written by Vic Smith of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education.

You can reach Vic to subscribe to the notes by emailing him at: vic790@aol.com
Dear Friends,

At the first Senate Education Committee meeting of the 2017 Session on Wednesday January 4th, Senate Bill 30 was given a hearing. Senate Bill 30 deserves strong support.

It provides that the Indiana Department of Education give information to Indiana school districts about the name of the school that each voucher student in the district transfers to.

This bill providing greater information received widespread support in the hearing. ICPE lobbyist Joel Hand spoke in favor of the bill. The lobbyist for the Institute for Quality Education, the group that supports private school vouchers, testified in favor of the bill as well. Every group that testified favored the bill.

Senate Bill 30 will be voted on next Wednesday January 11th at the second meeting of the Senate Education Committee which begins at 1:30pm. Before that time, let the members of the committee know that you stand in strong support of Senate Bill 30.

Senate Bill 30

The sponsor of Senate Bill 30 is Senator Eric Koch, who previously served in the House of Representatives until he ran for the Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Senator Steele. Senate Bill 30 requires the Indiana Department of Education to provide two things to each public school district:
“(1) The name of each eligible school in which an eligible choice scholarship student who has legal settlement in the school corporation is enrolled; and (2) number of the eligible choice scholarship students who are enrolled in each eligible school for the current school year.
This information would be very helpful to school districts as they work to meet the needs of all students who have legal settlement in their district.

Contact Senate Education Committee Members

Let your own Senator know that you support Senate Bill 30, as well as the members of the Senate Education Committee who will vote on this bill on Wednesday, January 11th. Education Committee members this year are as follows:

Republican Senators Kruse (Chair), Raatz, Bassler, Crane, Freeman, Kenley, Leising, and Zay

Democratic Senators Melton, Mrvan and Stoops

One easy way to email each Senator is to go to the Indiana General Assembly website and click on Committees and then on Senate Education Committee. You will then see small pictures of each committee member on the left. When you click on each picture, a link to send the Senator an email will come up for you to paste a brief note to each saying that you support Senate Bill 30.

Thank you for your dedicated support of public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!


ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!


Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.

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