Tuesday, March 26, 2013

URGENT: Take Action

March 26, 2013

Contact Senate Education Committee members TODAY and tell them to VOTE NO on private school voucher expansion, HB 1003!

Tomorrow the Senate Education Committee will vote on an expansion of Indiana's private school voucher program that was ruled constitutional today by the Indiana Supreme Court.

In wake of today's court ruling, the Milton Friedman Foundation, one of the leading pro-school voucher organizations in the country, announced that Indiana's current program could make more than 530,000 Indiana students eligible for taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools.

All public school districts will suffer, financially and in the loss of students, if the current voucher program is expanded under HB 1003. Millions of additional dollars will be shifted from public schools to private schools. That would result in fewer learning programs, less remediation, and larger class sizes for the state's one million public school students. All students deserve quality educations, not just those who receive vouchers.

Please join ISTA and other public school supporters from across the state and share your opposition to HB 1003. Contact members of the Senate Ed Committee today and share your support for strong and well-funded public schools in every Hoosier community.

Support public education by contacting the Senators listed below. Tell them to vote NO on HB 1003 tomorrow.

The future of public education is in our hands. Please email TODAY from your personal or home computer.

Senator Dennis Kruse (Chair): s14@iga.in.gov
Senator Earline Rogers: s3@iga.in.gov
Senator Carlin Yoder: s12@iga.in.gov
Senator Jim Banks: s17@iga.in.gov
Senator John Broden: s10@iga.in.gov
Senator James Buck: s21@iga.in.gov
Senator Luke Kenley: s20@iga.in.gov
Senator Jean Leising: s42@iga.in.gov
Senator Pete Miller: s24@iga.in.gov
Senator Frank Mrvan: s1@iga.in.gov
Senator Scott Schneider: s30@iga.in.gov
Senator Greg Taylor: s33@iga.in.gov

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Value of YOUR ISTA Membership!

Individual Teacher's Contract
  • In August, 2011 ISTA immediately challenged Dr. Tony Bennett's new teacher contract form and was granted a Preliminary Injunction to keep it from being used. The judge ruled that current teacher contract forms should be used because Bennett's form did not conform to Indiana code.
  • In August, 2012 ISTA opposed IDOE's attempt to overturn that Preliminary Injunction and ISTA was granted a Permanent Injunction.
  • ISTA then prepared to challenge IDOE's appeal of the Injunction to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
  • In March, 2013 Indiana's Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal at IDOE's request.
  • ISTA is drafting a sample teacher contract providing IDOE with suggestions on how the teacher contract should read.
  • This effort by ISTA and its legal counsel (costing in excess or $50,000) is worth the cost of your membership because no teacher in this state will now be forced to become an at-will employee and be required to work any and all hours their employer would request.
ISTEP Integrity Statement
  • ISTA's legal efforts resulted in an immediate revision of this statement last school year and a recall of the first version teachers were mandated to sign.
  • ISTA is currently working with the IDOE to further modify the statement to make it less offensive to those who are required to sign it.
License Revocations
  • ISTA has successfully represented several members in license revocation cases.
  • Without ISTA's efforts on their behalf, they were certain to lose or have their licenses suspended. Some of these cases were brought against teachers who had no charges of any sort pending against them and who had been entirely cleared of any offense by law enforcement and Child Protective Services but were still being pursued by the IDOE for license revocation.
Child Abuse Representation
  • Eric Hylton, ISTA legal counsel, has handled more than 35 child abuse allegation cases so far this year with tremendous success in getting an unsubstantiated ruling on virtually all of them.
Permanent/Semi-Permanent Property Rights
  • ISTA is currently challenging in court the property rights of teachers who have previously earned semi-permanent or permanent status but who have now been RIF'd before a less senior colleague.
  • This challenge could have huge ramifications for every teacher in the state who has semi-permanent or permanent status when school districts start looking at layoffs this spring.
  • ISTA is also challenging to establish the right of a semi-permanent or permanent teacher to have full evidentiary rights at a dismissal hearing.
Collective Bargaining
  • ISTA has several pending cases or Unfair Labor Practice claims that will try to establish the right of teachers to bargain the payment of wages for additional hours worked into their master contracts.
  • A Nettle Creek Fact Finding case is pending in a trial court and a Noblesville ULP is awaiting a hearing before the IEERB Board. Both could have significant impact on our members across the state.
  • ISTA is currently inquiring into the authority of the State Board of Accounts to audit local bargaining agreements and to issue citations to local school corporations.
  • ISTA staff continues to aggressively advocate for public education and education employees and lobbying against many bills that are not favorable to ISTA members or to public education in the General Assembly, including the bill that vastly expands the current voucher program that provides public dollars to private schools.
  • ISTA remains the voice for public school educators at all levels of state government.
Political Action
  • ISTA was an early supporter and stayed extensively involved in the successful election of State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz and will continue to support her efforts to improve public education and the Indiana Department of Education.
Voucher Challenge
  • NEA/ISTA presented oral arguments before the Indiana Supreme Court in opposition to the voucher program on November 21, 2012. ISTA continues to believe that Indiana's private school voucher program is a clear violation of the state's constitution. The Indiana Supreme Court has not yet ruled in this case.

Look for more information from ISTA soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Retirement Workshops!

Horace Mann is offering two retirement workshops at the beginning of April, 2013.

The first is on April 9 at Albion Elementary in Albion, Indiana (Central Noble).

Click the flyer below for more details.

The second is on April 10 at Norwell High School in Ossian, IN (Northern Wells).

Click the flyer below for more details.