SB 303 Signed into Law
Members, I have been in contact with Governor Bentley’s Legislative office for the last two days regarding the status of SB303. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication with the Governor’s staff. I was informed the bill was signed then informed they were not sure of the status. However, this morning after calling the Governor’s staff again, I learned that Governor Robert Bentley signed SB303 on Monday, May 13 at 4:15 p.m. and it was received in the Secretary of State’s Office on May 15, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. Disappointment does not even begin to express how I feel, and I know most of you take the same position I do.
We have lost a battle but the war will continue until the November, 2014 election day! If you attended the 2013 AERA Annual Meeting, you heard the Governor say that he “hopes we will forget” in reference to some of the actions he has taken. I say to you, “we can’t forget and we must work to elect friends of public education.”
Please share this information with your friends, family and former colleagues who supported our effort to urge Governor Bentley to VETO SB303. He had a chance to stand up for active and retired educators but he chose not to do so. This is one more example that the people of Alabama’s voices are not being heard but that doesn’t mean we will remain silent. AERA members don’t give up that easily. Keep up the good work back home.
Janice J. Charlesworth
AERA Executive Secretary
ALERT | Call Governor Bentley URGE him to VETO SB303
Members, the Governor has not taken any action on SB303. As you know, both bodies put the Support Personnel Position back on the TRS Board but kept the AEA Executive Secretary position off. Since 1941 this position has had a vote on the TRS Board to protect educators’ benefits. Losing the AEA Executive Secretary will remove the voice of experience and expertise for educators both active and retired that has always been present on the board.
We have one more chance to stop this bill – Call Governor Robert Bentley – tell him, urge him, ask or insist that he VETO SB303.
I have spoken with the Governor’s staff and was informed that they are polling how the calls are coming in. Let’s make one more effort to “convince” Governor Bentley to VETO SB303. I also spoke with Emily Schultz, Education Policy Director, who suggested I put our position in a memo to her and she would review it with the Governor. I did that yesterday.I want you to know that I closed with the following statement, “Our membership will not forget actions taken by the Governor. As an association that wholeheartedly campaigned and voted for Governor Bentley, the time is now to stand up for public educators both active and retired veto SB303.”
Please share this message with active and retired educators. Tell them to take action! Also ask your friends and family members to call the Governor, and make your voices heard!
AERA Executive Secretary
Call the Governor Stop SB303
Members after a long afternoon, both bodies passed SB303 after amending it to keep the Support Personnel Position. The bill removes the AEA Executive Secretary. This position has been on the TRS Board of Control since its formation in 1941 where they have been the vote of experience and expertise. AEA Executive Secretary has always protected your benefits.
Now we must once again activate our members to call Governor Robert Bentley and urge, insist or demand that he veto SB303. If you attended the AERA Annual Meeting, you heard the Governor say he supports pubic education and public educators. Tell the governor he needs to demonstrate his support by vetoing SB303. Remind the Governor that we helped elect him on a promise to support public education.
Please share this email with other retirees and ask your family and friends to also call the Governor at 334-242-7100.
AERA Executive Secretary
A Great Thought For Today
AERA members are not only good leaders but are also followers. They make AERA strong!
Alabama Senate panel cuts teacher raise, slashes estimate for school tax credits despite plan to expand them - NO COLA FOR RETIREES
Members, After a good day on Tuesday in the Senate when we saved the threat to TRS Board of Controls from removing AEA Executive Secretary and others, Wednesday was a disappointing day in the Senate. During the Finance and Taxation Education Committee chaired by Senator Trip Pittman, the ETF Budget passed by the House was amended to reduce active K-12 school employees’ pay raise to 1 percent and NO COLA for retirees. I did speak on behalf of retirees at the hearing on the budget and later in the morning on the Pay Raise Bill. Unfortunately, my words fell on deaf ears. This effort is not over – we will be ready for the 2014 Legislative Session – also Election Year. Let’s see what happens when legislators know you are watching their vote and will turn around and ask for your vote.
I usually avoid taking a political position as I know that our members are Republican, Democrat and Independent voters but I believe I need to be open and honest with our members. If your legislator is a Republican, please let them know how disappointed you are over their votes to support the Accountability Act, which basically guts public education and takes away the possibility of a COLA for retirees. The Senate will most likely pass the ETF Budget and send it back to the House since it was amended.
Remember sometimes we may lose a battle but still win the war! It is not over.
AERA Executive Secretary
Alabama Senate panel cuts teacher raise, slashes estimate for school tax credits despite plan to expand them
by Alabama Arise (Notes) on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 7:02pm
Alabama’s K-12 teachers would see their proposed pay raise halved next year under an Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget that the Senate’s ETF budget committee approved 7-3 Wednesday. The $5.77 billion budget also would reduce the amount set aside for income tax credits that could subsidize private school tuition for students zoned for “failing schools” under the Alabama Accountability Act. That lower cost estimate would come despite the Senate Education Committee’s 6-3 vote Wednesday to double tax credits for corporate donations to scholarship funds for such students. Both bills will go to the Senate.
Budget would halve teacher pay raise, pre-K expansion funds
The Senate ETF budget committee’s spending plan would cut proposed pay increases for K-12 teachers and support staff next year to 1 percent, half of the 2 percent raise that the House passed earlier this month. The budget also would provide teachers with a one-time 1 percent bonus if ETF revenues exceed predictions. “Any pay raise that is given has to be sustained,” said Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, who chairs the committee. Cutting the raise would allow the state to repay the ETF’s rainy day fund more quickly and to boost funding for textbooks and school buses, Pittman said.
Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, denounced the move, saying money that will go to credits for private school tuition could have boosted teacher pay instead. “I’m so pained by that reduction in the teacher salary,” Sanders said. “I want to be supportive, but it’s hard to overcome that.”
Pre-kindergarten would receive $6.25 million, or 32.5 percent, more next year under the Senate panel’s budget. That increase would allow Alabama’s highly rated voluntary pre-K program to serve about 1,300 more students, but it would be only half the size of the increase that the House approved.
AP, AMSTI funds up; Alabama Reading Initiative faces major cut