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OCEA – Osceola County Education Association

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OCEA…
We are a union of professional educators representing employees of the School District of Osceola County, Florida.
OCEA Reporter, our blog, is the place to see the latest, urgent, and breaking news information from OCEA and FEA (Florida Education Association) our state organization.

HOT  DISCOUNT NEWS FOR MEMBERS


Link to Marzano Info for Teachers

2014 Florida Legislative Session Convenes March 4. GET INVOLVED!

FEA President Andy Ford on Scott’s State of the State
March 4, 2014

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andy Ford issued this statement Tuesday in response to Gov. Rick Scott’s State of the State address before the Legislature:

“The governor touts a historic education budget, but our per-pupil spending is not yet back to where it was when he took office. He’s happy to promote 24 tax breaks during his term of office and seek $500 million more this year, yet most Floridians haven’t seen tax relief; they’ve seen a state government that pushes its obligations on local government while easing the obligation of corporations. His budget proposal is totally inadequate to meet the needs of our state, particularly in bolstering all aspects of public education. The governor acknowledges the effectiveness of our public school teachers, yet he won’t listen to those teachers when they tell him his approach to testing and evaluations is all wrong.

“Rather than tax breaks for wealthy corporations, why not spend more on our students in struggling schools? How about providing a living wage to our school bus drivers, food service workers, custodians and other education staff professionals in our schools? Why not move the salaries of our public school teachers up from 47th in the nation?

“Today’s speech amplifies the fact that the governor is pursuing the wrong priorities for Florida.”

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

FEA Frontline Report
Second to the last Interim Committee Week!

February 14, 2014
 OK – some legislators are good people…we just don’t have enough of them!
 Although this was officially Valentine’s Week, we weren’t feeling much love up here in Tallahassee. Legislators are once again starting their attack on the Florida Retirement System. This week a bill was filed in the Senate which would create what is called a “cash balance” plan (more below). Rumors indicate there are more FRS ‘reform’ bills to come. It seems that legislators just can’t keep their hands off your retirement! The first hearing of the new bill is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19 in the Senate Community Affairs Committee at 2 p.m.
The education front was relatively quiet this week, but we anxiously awaited next week’s reveal of the Senate Education Committee’s accountability bill. But the committee agenda only includes a “Discussion of School Accountability Policy Concepts” so maybe we won’t see an actual bill. The committee meets Tuesday, February 19 at 10 am.
Remember: you can watch the House and Senate hearings on www.thefloridachannel.org or look for the archive videos on the www.myfloridahouse.gov or www.flsenate.gov committee pages.
One more interim committee week to go! Time is flying by and soon we’ll find ourselves at that first day of the 2014 Legislative Session, March 4.
If you missed FEA’s press event on the pension bill and other education issues held on Tuesday February 11, you can click here to see highlights.
What’s in the new pension bill?
SPB 7046 Florida Retirement System by Community Affairs would create a new FRS plan called a ‘cash balance’ plan. But hold on – before we get too deep into this bill, numerous folks who have been reading it have found glaring technical problems AND the House hasn’t revealed their version AND we hear rumors of several possible FRS bills in the works. So with that in mind – read on:
Currently the FRS gives employees the options of a ‘defined benefit’ (pension) plan or a ‘defined contribution’ (investment or 401K type) plan. The defined benefit plan provide a specific benefit at retirement for each eligible employee and the benefit is usually based on a formula that includes years of service multiplied by an accrual rate multiplied by an average final compensation figure.
The defined contribution plan specifies the amount of contributions to be made by the employer and the employees toward an employee’s retirement account. In a defined contribution plan, the actual amount of retirement benefits provided to an employee depends on the amount of the contributions as well as the market gains or losses of the account.

 2013 School Culture Survey Results

 

 

Apryle Jackson, March 2, 2014

As we begin the first week in March, we need to discuss a few important items.

The Election of OCEA officers will be held on Wednesday, March 12th at all school sites. Please remember that you must sign upon receipt of your ballot. Those members who do not work at one specific school will receive their ballots by mail. These ballots were mailed last Tuesday. If you received a ballot by mail, you need to enclose your ballot in the enclosed envelope, and sign the back. If a signature does not appear on the back of the envelope the ballot will not be counted.  Ballots will be taken out of the envelopes by the employees of the Supervisor of Elections, no one from OCEA will know how an individual member voted.  Ballots may be dropped off at the OCEA office, placed in the self-addressed stamped envelope and mailed to the office by March 12th, or placed in the ballot box located in the front entrance of the administration offices at the District Offices.

The ESP BLT has begun making phone calls to all ESP members to conduct a job study. We have asked for several years for the District to conduct a joint review of job descriptions. This has not happened so your leadership team has decided that the simplest way in which to complete the study is to complete it ourselves.  All job descriptions can be found on the District’s website. If you have a copy of your job description and would like to complete the survey, please use the link listed below.

https://leadernet.aft.org/webform/job-study-survey

Last Wednesday, I participated in a webinar on the requirement of the 20 hour ESE course for teacher recertification. After one hour, I still have no clue of what courses will be acceptable to the DOE for this requirement. The DOE keeps promising specific guidelines by the end of the month, They promised in December, January, and February. We are still waiting, but FEA is working with both the NEA and AFT to develop courses which will meet this unknown requirement. OCEA will be sending individuals to be trained to teach the required courses once we know what the DOE will require. If your certificate expires in either 2014 or 2015, please recertify now.

April 30th is the deadline for many teachers on annual contract to obtain their necessary certifications and complete the testing requirements.  If you have received a letter from the certification department, please make certain you have completed all of the requirements by that date. If not, we cannot assist you with keeping your teaching position for next year. We are continuing to offer the General Knowledge and Para pro test prep at Osceola High School on Tuesday andWednesday evenings through March.  OCEA has also purchased numerous study guides for various tests which may be borrowed by our members. Please call the office to borrow a book.

At the last OCEA meeting, suggested changes to the Constitution and By-Laws were discussed. These changes will be voted on at the General Membership meeting in May. Once the changes have been read at three consecutive AR meetings a copy will be posted in each school.

Keep checking our Facebook page from now until the first week in May. I will be posting the latest information from the legislative session as it occurs. Requests to contact our elected officials will also be posted on our Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/OCEA/126335100719915

Do not forget to use your FEA, NEA, and AFT benefits when planning your trip for spring break. We also have Tax Shelter America completing taxes in our office every other weekend, If you have never had TSA file your taxes, and file a 1040 EZ, they will complete your form for free.  All other forms have a minimal fee. Simply contact our office for the contact information.

Have a great week.

Apryle Jackson, President

OCEA
2013 School Culture Survey Results
 

Stay United With FEA:
http://fightforflorida.com
Florida Education Association
213 South Adams Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
www.FEAweb.org

 



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