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January 10, 2020
In this Issue...Time to Vote, Members Lobby, Student Behaviors and Supports, PGPs for ESAs and Teachers, Equity Conference, Bargaining Listening Sessions, Meet the Team, Save these Dates, CBA FAQ: December Benefits

Dear Members,
Welcome to a new year and a new decade. We are working hard to support you in creating rewarding workplaces and meaningful learning spaces.  In this regard, your HEA Building Representatives have quite a to-do list to start out the year.  We hope amidst all the pushes and pulls on your time, you will participate in one or more of our actions, activities, and events as we bargain with the district , lobby our legislators, and engage our community.  Thanks to you and please pass along a big thanks to your reps.
All My Best!

P.S. Our next Rep Council Meeting will be on Monday, February 3rd from 4:15-6:15 at PSSC and is open to all HEA members as observers.


Power to the People. 
Selection of our 2020-2021 HEA Representatives to the state and national assemblies takes place next week (WEA RA and NEA RA).  A ballot will be sent to your home email on Monday. Please check your spam filter.  If you don’t see it there, email me. Voting for delegates runs from Monday at 8:30 AM to Friday at 5:30 PM.  Read about the candidates in a special electronic edition of the E-Focus or read statements right on the ballot. Watch for results here, after the Rep Council certifies the election on February 3.

Preach it January 20th!  WEA members from around the state will be celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr commemorative holiday in Olympia.  We will start with a briefing at 9:30 AM, then it’s off to talk with our legislators. Lunch and mileage (for carpools) will be provided on a reimbursement basis. Lobbying is fun, and is something that you will never forget!  Sign up to get rolling and have all the details emailed to you. Carpooling strongly advised.

Needed: School Safety Data. 
Behavior data has been hard to come by.  Therefore, we are asking each school to report their experiences through a survey developed by union leadership and reps. This survey will help us compile system-wide data on student behavior as well as schoolwide systems of support.  Please work collaboratively with your Rep Team to report your experiences. Results will be shared with the district in a variety of venues in order to successfully address the issues and concerns identified.

Needed: Data from Self-Contained Special Education Settings.
Educators in self-contained special education classrooms will receive individual surveys this weekend.  Their experiences will be compiled separately and should not be collected through your school report.

Partners in PD. 
On January 17th, 2:00-5:00 PM, two professional growth plan trainings will be offered beginning in the Evergreen Library.  One specifically for ESAs and the other for teachers. WEA is partnering with HSD and sending two amazing trainers. If you are looking for another way to get credits for recertifying or concerned about finishing your STEM credits before your certificate is due, here is a handy approach. This will be rescheduled if cancelled due to snow.

Equity Conference. 
On February 1, 8:00-4:30 at Chinook Middle School, the Rainier Educators of Color Network will be bustin’ loose with an eye-opening event open to the community.  Make new connections. Grow as an educator.  Be inspired.  Experience Unspoken Truths: The Traveling American History Museum.  Free breakfast, lunch and clock hours. Contact Lori Fleck for registration information. 

Bread and Butter. 
We want to know your issues in order to identify our bargaining priorities.  Mark your calendar now:  Feb 10 (Dual Language), Feb 12 (Special Education), Feb 13 (General Education), Feb 20 (Educators of Color).  Watch for details in the next E-focus or two for time and location.  If you miss these dates, be on the watch for a bargaining survey sent to your home email at the end of Feb.

Meet the Team. 
Our new bargaining team has a combination of veteran and new members.  Read about them here and support them by becoming a member of the Contract Action Team (CAT) for your group or building.  Let your building rep know you care about the bargain and would like to help with communication.  Next, email me at the address provided above and the CAT will get your started. 

Save these Evenings: 
Save February 21 for a film screening and panel discussion on the movie Push Out and on February 25th, Unspoken Truths: Traveling American History Museum.

CBA FAQ – December Benefits

Why didn’t I see a deduction for medical benefits on my December paycheck?
Under the old benefits system, benefits were prepaid a month before, so the November state allocation and payroll deductions covered December’s benefit payments. But under SEBB, the payments are contemporaneous, so the January state allocation and payroll deductions cover January’s benefit payments. This means that during the transition, December was an “extra” month, so HSD did not deduct funds for medical benefits from employees’ paychecks.

Some of you may be wondering what happened, in that case, to December’s benefit allocation from the state, and may have heard that some local associations and districts negotiated one-time stipends for employees using those funds. In Highline, the December allocation for all employees (not just HEA) was approximately $1 million. Between $300,000 - $400,000 of that was used cover additional funds needed for Highline’s Vision and Dental plans, which are self-insured plans. This was done at the recommendation of HSD’s Benefits Advisory Committee (BAC) - which includes leadership from all employee groups, including HEA - because otherwise, we would have needed to increase vision and dental premiums for September, October, and November, which would have increased out-of-pocket benefit costs for most employees. The BAC determined that it would be better to utilize the December allocation funds for this purpose than to increase benefit costs for employees in the fall. The exact amount needed for this purpose won’t be determined until all of the dental and vision claims incurred prior to January 1st have been paid out.

In addition, when HEA negotiated our SEBB Transition Memorandum of Understanding, we identified the remaining funds from the December allocation, as well as any previously negotiated benefit-related funds, as subjects of bargaining during our upcoming negotiations. Since we didn’t know exactly how much those funds would be, given the need to cover vision and dental claims, it made sense to wait to negotiate the remainder of the allocation until we knew the actual amount of the December allocation remaining. 

If you have questions, contact Elizabeth Beck, WEA UniServ Director.