What Do We Value?
October 31, 2018
During the last Executive Board meeting on October 9th, your board voted unanimously (with two members absent) to recommend a robust budget to the Representative Council which, in turn, passed the 2018-2019 Budget with only one dissenting voice. In creating the budget, the Executive Board viewed SEA as standing at a fork in the road. We could either continue to draft bare bones budgets that do not foster new leadership or enhance the skills of our existing leaders and, given our salary increases, would not support a full-time release President, or we could prepare an aspirational budget that envisions the union we’d like to be – engaged, empowered, and forward thinking.
Our budget includes monies for our bargaining team to bargain the re-openers we negotiated in our new CBA, leadership conferences, new member events, building representative training, professional development, a member of color cadre, and a full slate of representatives to the WEA and NEA Representative Assemblies. In this budget, the Executive Board has envisioned a vibrant and powerful union, continuing and even increasing its relevancy in the post Janus world.
One of the goals I have for SEA is to change the calendaring around the budget. Historically we have developed a budget as each new school year begins, finalizing and proposing it to the Representative Council for ratification in October, per our bylaws. It is my goal to prepare a proposed budget by June of the preceding year based on the goals determined by the Executive Board and the Rep. Council. Having the budget in hand as we head into summer means that we will have the ability to plan and the authority to direct money toward those plans.
This year, we have budgeted to spend “in the red.” With our membership at about 650 and not all of those members working full time (Our FTE is just below 600), we do not generate enough income to pay for the salary increases of the Administrative Assistant and President. Our current situation is unsustainable, even if we trimmed the budget to bare bones. Since 2013 our total pay has increased about 50%, and our dues have remained unchanged. In fact, the last time our dues changed, they went down. The last time we increased our dues was the 2006-2007 school year, when we raised dues about $1.50 per month.
So, we have some decisions to make, and they are decisions that affect the very identity of our union. Do we value the benefits of a full-time release President? Do we want SEA to maintain the status quo or to look to the future in the on-going effort to enhance our profession? Are we satisfied with the state of public education, or do we believe that we are the most necessary voice in the change that is needed.
The coming year will bring questions about our values, our resolve, and our commitment to each other as public educators. I welcome your responses to this report, and I look forward to hearing your opinions as we make our way through the coming year. I am here to serve the members of this union and to lead in such a way that all our members feel represented. We are at a crossroads in our union’s history - I know which road I want to take.