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EDFT Newsletter

East Detroit Federation of Teachers
January 23, 2007

As you know, our 2006-07 contract was ratified by members and approved by the Board of Education. While we were disappointed in our efforts to obtain a multi-year contract, we were appreciative that many of the proposals we had recommended were incorporated into the contract. Negotiations for our next contract should begin sometime in March.

Some members have expressed concerns regarding our new dental insurance third-party provider. The district self-funds dental coverage for our members. Our contract states that it is an 80/20 payment plan. We were advised by administration that the ADN network of dentists also includes DentaMax and Michigan Dental, making it the largest participating dentist provider network in Michigan. Kim Nicholson, a MEBS insurance representative, substantiated this, independently. We can only suggest that if you are having problems with your dental insurance, please contact the Benefits Secretary, Carol Rice (crice@eds.misd.net) by phone or e-mail with copies to Dr. Johnson (ljohnson@eds.misd.net) and Dara Knill (dknill@eds.misd.net).

Also, Dr. Johnson and MEBS have been in contact. They are working out the details for a NEW ENROLLMENT FORM that all employees will be filling out. We understand that employees will be given the opportunity to initiate or increase their contribution to the Flexible Benefit feature of our contract. The Opt-out provision may also be chosen at the time of re-enrollment.

We have also had numerous inquiries regarding teacher morning reporting time. Teachers should be at their work assignment five minutes earlier than stated in the prior contract. For elementary employees that time is 8:20 a.m. For high school, the time is 7:20 a.m. and at the middle school, employees should be in their building by 8:00 and at their first assignment by 8:05 a.m.

The Michigan Legislature resumed session on Jan. 10th. All bills that were not passed into law over the last two years have died. Any bill numbers you were using to communicate with your legislator no longer exist. Many of the bills will be reintroduced, however, and will be assigned a new bill number. We will keep you apprised of any bills we feel need your attention.

The AFT has successfully lobbied to retain the $250 tax deduction for K-12 educators who buy school supplies for their students. In addition, the broader tax deduction of up to $4000 for college tuition through graduate and professional development was extended.

AFT President, Edward J. McElroy, met with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to discuss No Child Left Behind and other education issues of importance to AFT members. As the NCLB Act marks its fifth anniversary on Jan. 8th, the AFT continues to press policymakers on our members' concerns about the law and how to identify research-backed solutions. The AFT supports the goals of the Act, including high academic standards, meaningful accountability and well-qualified staff, but NCLB has "slipped off the tracks." In particular, AYP (adequate yearly progress) is seen to be "fundamentally flawed." President McElroy has stated "we need to change AYP so it doesn't continue to misidentify schools that are making real progress and steer resources away from the schools and students who need them most." For more information on NCLB, visit the AFT web site, which includes a link to detailed recommendations prepared by the AFT's NCLB Task Force. Also visit the NCLB: Let's Get It Right campaign blog and join the discussion.

Though we have not heard of any letters of retirement yet, we have booked Athena Hall for Wednesday, May 2, 2007. If you decide to retire this year, please inform the Union office as well as administration of your plans.

The Union Plus Scholarship is available to all AFT members. The children of 10 AFT families will be selected to receive scholarship awards from $500 to $3000. Applications for the 2007 Union Plus Scholarship program are now available. The deadline for the 2007 awards is January 31, 2007. To obtain more information and to download an application visit: http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/education/scholarships/up.cfm. The application is an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

Director of Instruction, Joanne Lelekatch, recognized "the exceptional job" of Oakwood Middle School teachers who presented at the Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability (OEAA) conference on December 13th. Congratulations to Linda Harrington, Diane Peters, Lisa Micknass, Pam Fry and Carrie Finazzo.

Any salary changes negotiated for our current contract should appear in your Feb. 2nd paycheck.

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