Polson Teacher Martha Curran Honored at Teacher of the Year Ceremony

TOY ceremony

Polson Middle School English teacher Martha Curran was honored as one of the state’s four finalist this fall at Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year ceremony. We are so proud of Martha, who did a great job representing the incredibly talented teachers we have throughout the district. Read the full story here.

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Statement From CEA President Sheila Cohen on Passed Bipartisan Budget

teacher tax spark

As you probably know by now, the governor signed into law a state budget, passed with bipartisan support, that restores ECS funding to cities and towns but that imposes an unfair tax on teachers. While lawmakers tried to portray teachers’ increased pension contribution as anything but a tax, it is just that–a 1% tax on teachers that will cost the average teacher $750 per year, collectively raising $38 million in additional teacher payroll taxes. This increase does not ‘strengthen’ the teacher retirement fund or add to the fund at all. It simply increases the share that teachers pay into the Teacher Retirement System, and reduces the state’s share by the same amount.

Read CEA Present Sheila Cohen’s statements on the new budget here and here.

In other budget news, we received the following message from Ms. Cohen regarding the TEAM mentoring program:

SDE says 100% of TEAM funds were cut in the new state budget ($3 million). That includes all state funds for stipends, for training and RESCs, and other programmatic costs. The budget was not released for public scrutiny until the legislature was voting on it, so SDE is now unpacking all of the implications of cuts that were not vetted by the department. Unfortunately, the TEAM program line item in the budget was apparently called “Talent,” and legislators thought the $3 million was not earmarked for critical programs.

As a result, SDE is saying they will not be able to pay stipends for mentors, nor pay for the scoring of the five reflection papers–so they are waiving that requirement. SDE is not happy about this and is trying to determine how the TEAM program can be salvaged between now and next session, when there could be a request to restore the funding.

That is what we know at this point. We will keep everyone apprised and current as developments occur.

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CEA Retirement Workshops

Retirement may seem like a long way off, but in reality, it is never too early to plan for the future.

There is still time to register for CEA’s regional retirement workshops which begin next week and will be held across the state during the fall and early spring. These workshops provide CEA members with a comprehensive explanation and review of the benefits and rules related to the State Teachers’ Retirement System. Go to www.cea.org to register. It’s never too early to plan for the future!

Upcoming Workshops

September 18 Windsor High School Windsor
September 27 Torrington Middle School Torrington
October 5 Darien High School Darien
October 11 John F. Kennedy High School Waterbury
October 19 Parish Hill Middle/High School Chaplin
October 26 Portland Secondary School
(Portland High School and Portland Middle School)
November 2 Amity High School Woodbridge
November 16 Saxe Middle School New Canaan
November 30 South Windsor High School South Windsor
March 19 Enfield High School Enfield
March 29 Broadview Middle School Danbury
April 2 Montville High School Montville

These workshops are open to CEA members only.

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What Does CEA Do For Me?

We often wonder, What does the CEA actually do with our dues fees? Watch the video below to see how they’ve been advocating for us during a time when public education and its unions are increasingly under attack.

CEA vid

Note: You must sign into the CEA site to watch the video. Use the member ID lookup tool if you’ve forgotten your password…it’s really convenient and easy.
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Attend CEA’s Keep the Promise May 18 Rally UPDATE: Rally Postponed

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 8.57.22 AM

This rally has been postponed. Here’s a message from CEA president, Sheila Cohen:

Given the uncertainty and continually changing elements of the state budget, we are postponing our Keep Your Promise Rally scheduled for May 18.

More budget proposals are expected in the coming days, and we will review and update you on how these will impact education funding and teacher retirement.

Our thanks to all of you for your advocacy and willingness to fight for what is right. There is much more work to do before the session ends on June 7.

Watch for a call to action from CEA in the coming days and weeks, as we stand ready to fight against any attacks on our students, our profession, and our future.

We need you to continue to join with your colleagues in engaging your legislators on these important issues.

We are stronger together.

CEA is urging legislators to reject any budget proposal that shifts the state’s responsibility for education funding and teacher retirement onto Connecticut’s cities and towns.

This proposed cost shift would result in

  • higher property taxes
  • teacher layoffs
  • larger class sizes
  • reductions in critical student support services
  • elimination of programs such as foreign language and full-day kindergarten in many districts

WHO: You
WHAT: Please attend the rally. Sign up by going to cea.org/members/rally2017
WHEN: Thursday, May 18, 2017 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: North Lawn of the State Capitol Building, Hartford
Buses are available in every county. Bus routes are subject to change

Legislators are much more likely to understand the consequences of a cost-shift plan if they see the very people who will be affected by it: teachers, students, parents, and members of the communities legislators serve and represent.

Please come—be seen—be heard—on May 18. Remember, we are strongertogether.

Source: Attend Our May 18 Rally

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Upcoming CEA Events

Educator’s Weekend at Mystic Seaport, April 22-23

img_mystic-edweekendThis weekend all teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, afterschool professionals, and their families (up to four people total with teacher ID) will receive free Mystic Seaport admission! Don’t miss this special opportunity to explore the Museum, learn more about our educational programs, and find connections that link your classroom with ours. Education Department staff will be on hand to discuss program offerings and answer questions. Learn how to register here:  www.mysticseaport.org/educatorsweekend

Making Changes One Classroom At A Time

April 27 at Testo’s Restaurant, 1775 Madison Avenue, Bridgeport

img_emac-13thHelp confront and make positive change in your school and community on the issues of bias, opportunity, and equality.

Attend the screening of the Academy-Award nominated Documentary “13th” and enjoy dinner and a discussion afterward. Register here.  View flyer. View the trailer below…


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Planning for the Future

The CEA will be hosting a short series of retirement workshops, starting early next month, which will be taking place around the state. An overview of the teachers’ retirement system will be provided, with a focus on pension issues for teachers in the first half of their careers. But all are welcome! See the details below.

retirement workshop flyer

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Gov. Malloy Proposes Shifting $400M Pension Burden to Towns


As the state looks for ways to close its projected $1.5 billion budget hole, the governor has proposed a new system whereby towns would beginning contributing to the teacher pension fund, shifting that burden away from the State. As reported by Patch,

Currently teachers contribute 6 percent of their salary to the fund while the state’s share equals 30 percent of salary. Under the new proposed system towns would contribute about 10 percent of teacher salary. Teachers would continue to pay six percent. Read the full article here.

As CEA President Sheila Cohen noted, this plan must be viewed with extreme caution, not to mention a healthy dose of skepticism. While the plan recognizes the state’s financial obligations to teachers, forcing municipalities to contribute to the pension fund could have serious, unintended consequences, possibly resulting in cuts to classes and other educational programs, teacher layoffs, reduced salaries in subsequent contract negotiations, and larger class sizes for our students.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this proposal and CEA’s response to it as budget talks progress.

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County Forum February 1

cea-logoIf anyone is interested in going to our County Forum meeting next week, February 1st, please register.  It will be held at Baci Grill, 134 Berlin Road, Route 372 in Cromwell at 4:30. Elementary schools have parent conferences on the 1st, so I would urge someone other than elementary to go. In fact, any member may attend. The topic proves to be most interesting: Workplace bullying and your rights.

If you are a first time attendee, MEA will reimburse you the fee ($30).


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FAQs on Safe Zone Resolutions by School Boards

In response to the election of a presidential candidate who repeatedly vowed to deport all immigrants who are here illegally, the NEA has put together an FAQ sheet regarding what it would entail for local school boards to adopt Safe Zone resolutions. The NEA has also drafted sample language for how such a resolution might read.


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