confirm-webHeath and Zalis endorsed for PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees

Later this month, all members of the PSRS and PEERS systems will have the opportunity to vote for representatives to serve on the PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees. MSTA has endorsed two candidates for the Board. Yvonne Heath and Aaron Zalis have both served on the Board since 2008.

megaphone-01Contact your senator about retirement bill

Hundreds of educators have already made their voices heard. It’s not too late to email your senator about Senate Amendment 1 (Pearce) to SB980 (Keaveny).

moneybag-webSenate committee works on budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee met this week to make their modifications to the 2017 budget.

dollar bills-webInfo on loan forgiveness bill passes Senate Education Committee

A bill designed to provide public employees with information regarding loan forgiveness was approved by the Senate Education Committee.

certificateSelect Committee on Education approves CTE bill

SB620 (Romine) was given approval by the House Select Committee on Education and will now be ready for debate by the full House.

easy mathQuality early childhood education bill passes out of committee

This week the House Select Committee on Education gave approval to HB2566 (Pfautsch). The bill is designed to provide information to parents about the quality of early childhood education.

Heath and Zalis endorsed for PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees

Later this month, all members of the PSRS and PEERS systems will have the opportunity to vote for representatives to serve on the PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees.

MSTA has endorsed two candidates for the Board. Yvonne Heath and Aaron Zalis have both served on the Board since 2008.

Yvonne Heath has taught special education for 16 years in the Republic School District. She previously worked as a paraprofessional in Ash Grove. Since being a trustee, she has been active with retirement education on the national level, representing Missouri teacher retirement systems at the National Council of Teacher Retirement (NCTR). Heath was one of 19 trustees chosen by the president of NCTR to serve on the Trustee Education Committee which is tasked with formulating the trustee education curriculum. Even before she was elected, Yvonne has worked hard to immerse herself in the complex world of retirement systems and investments. She is a valuable educator voice on the Board of Trustees.

Aaron Zalis is superintendent of Rolla Public Schools. Before becoming superintendent in 2010, he worked as Director of Human Resources, Deputy Superintendent for Human Resources and Support Services and Assistant Principal of Rolla Middle School. These roles have given him insight into district finance and how all school employees are affected by decisions made by administrators. He has been involved in several education associations including the Missouri Association of School Administrators, Missouri Association of School Business Administrators, and Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals. Dr. Zalis is currently chair of the Board of Trustees. Missouri educators are well-served by his leadership skills and financial expertise.

Ballots will be mailed to all active and retired members of PSRS and PEERS during the last week of April. Members will be able to vote by mail, by phone or online. Instructions on all methods will be included in the mailed ballot. Online and phone voting ends at 5pm on May 13. Mail ballots must be postmarked by May 13.

Contact your senator about retirement bill

Hundreds of educators have already made their voices heard. It’s not too late to email your senator about Senate Amendment 1 (Pearce) to SB980 (Keaveny).  This amendment would make the 2.55 percent factor for PSRS members who work for 31 or more years. Extending this factor for educators who work over 31 years will allow the retirement system to save $7.6 million per year due to less benefits being paid out and more contributions being paid into the system. Protecting the retirement system for current and future retirees is a priority of MSTA. To contact your senator, go to msta.org/retirementbill. You’ll be asked for your zip code and the system will find your legislator

Senate committee works on budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee met this week to make their modifications to the 2017 budget. The Senate’s budget is based on the assumption that revenue will grow 4.1 percent next year. This equals approximately $366 million. HB2002 (Flanigan) contains the budget for DESE. The Senate kept the $71 million increase that the House recommended to the Foundation Funding Formula, but replaced $5 million of the funds from lottery proceeds with general revenue. General revenue is generally seen as a more reliable source of funds. Senate Appropriations committee changes to the House version of the budget include:

  • Remove $50,000 for a pilot program to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) proposed by the House
  • Add $3.2 million to provide resources to implement a statewide system of support and intervention to assist low-performing districts and schools
  • Cut $200,000 for trauma informed development
  • Add $10,000 for character education initiatives
  • Cut $25,000 to add trauma informed approach to character education initiatives.
  • Add $2 million to the Charter Public School Commission

After the Senate Appropriations Committee finishes its work on the budget, it will go to the Senate floor. Then the Senate and the House will conference on the budget bills to work out any differences between their proposed versions. The deadline to pass the budget is May 6.

Info on loan forgiveness bill passes Senate Education Committee

A bill designed to provide public employees with information regarding loan forgiveness was approved by the Senate Education Committee.  SB1119 (Pearce) requires the Department of Higher Education to create guidance regarding notice of public employee eligibility for public service loan forgiveness by January 1, 2017. Public employers may use this guidance to provide notice to their employees.

On or before April 1, 2017, the governing body of each public employer shall adopt a policy that provides up-to-date, accurate and complete information to each new employee regarding eligibility within 10 days of the start of employment. Public employers shall provide current employees with the same information on or before June 30, 2017.

Select Committee on Education approves CTE bill

SB620 (Romine) was given approval by the House Select Committee on Education and will now be ready for debate by the full House.

The bill requires the State Board of Education within DESE to establish minimum requirements for a career and technical education (CTE) certificate that a student can earn in addition to his or her high school diploma.

Students entering high school in the 2017-18 school year and thereafter must be eligible to earn a CTE certificate. The bill requires the state board to establish CTE requirements intended to provide students with the necessary technical employability skills to be prepared for an entry-level career in a technical field or additional training in a technical field. These provisions must not be considered a means for separating students by academic ability into groups for all subjects or certain classes and curriculum, in order to impel students to particular vocational, career or college paths.

Each local school district must strive to offer programs of study that are economically feasible for students in the district. In establishing CTE offerings, the district may rely on standards for industry-recognized certificates or credentials. By January 1, 2017, the department must develop a process for recognition of a school district’s career and technical education program that offers a career and technical education certificate.

The bill also modifies the composition of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council. Instead of the governor appointing the advisory council’s current 11 members, the Commissioner of Education will make these appointments.

This act also expands the advisory council’s membership to include two senators, one from each party, appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and two representatives, one from each party, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Quality early childhood education bill passes out of committee

This week the House Select Committee on Education gave approval to HB2566 (Pfautsch). The bill is designed to provide information to parents about the quality of early childhood education.

This bill establishes an early learning quality assurance report.  This would be a three-year pilot program in collaboration with the Missouri Head Start Collaboration Office, the Departments of Health and Senior Services, Mental Health, and Social Services.

The program is voluntary for any licensed, license-exempt or early learning providers that are center-based or home-based and providing services for children from any age up to kindergarten.

This bill also repeals the prohibition on a quality rating system for early childhood education.

Currently, certain public institutions are prohibited from operating or mandating participation in a quality rating system or training quality assurance system.

MSTA supported the bill as members have expressed the importance of quality early childhood education.