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JFT Summer Newsletter

Summer 2020 Update

2020-2021 Employment Update

During the spring of this school year, schools received their projected staffing allocations for the upcoming school year. That meant gains at some schools and eliminations at others. While most Teacher based employees were able to secure positions in other locations, we still have some support employees who have not reached mutual consent.
 
For 9 and 10 month employees, the window to reach mutual consent has been extended until July 31, 2020. If mutual consent is not reached by this date, employment, salary and benefits will end effective August 31, 2020. These employees will be placed on a recall list for the 2020-2021 school year. To support these employees' efforts of being reabsorbed into a position, the district will not hire external support staff until the recall list has been exhausted. JFT has remained in contact with Human Resources for those who have reached out to our office. We will continue to work with you to secure employment for the 2020-2021 school year. Placement/Transfer/Reabsorb is based on positions becoming vacant.
 
Additionally, if you are not planning to return to the district for the 2020-2021 school year; you may post-date your resignation with a date of August 1, 2020, this will allow you to continue to receive your salary and benefits until August 31, 2020. If you would like to receive your salary in a lump sum payment, you may date your resignation for any date in June or July. Submitting your resignation now, will create an opportunity for those on the recall list the ability to reach mutual consent for your vacated position without you experiencing an interruption of your salary and benefits through August 31, 2020.
 
If you have any questions, please email all three representatives for assistance: mona@jft.org, sandra@jft.org, kesler@jft.org.
 

General Fund Budget 2020-2021

The Jefferson Parish School System faced a $16 million budget deficit prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Infrastructure and Efficiency Plan was created to address this deficit. It included expenditure reductions, including the closure and consolidation of schools.  
 
On March 13, 2020 Governor John Bel Edwards closed all Louisiana School Buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Jefferson Parish School System is a local governmental agency that relies heavily on sales tax as a source of revenue. With the closures due to the pandemic, the district is anticipating a $20 million decrease in revenue for the 2020-2021 school year. This is in addition to the $16 million deficit prior to the pandemic.
 
The result is an additional $8.96 million budget cut, with the remaining $11.04 million funded through the General Fund unreserved fund balance. Many of these cuts are temporary, and if the loss of revenue is less than what is projected, JFT will work with the district to reinstate as many of the items as possible. The initial proposed cuts would have resulted in the loss of many job positions, programs and potentially freezing salary steps.
 
Here are some of the proposed cuts:  
  • Additional reduction of central office positions
  • Additional reduction of central office budgets  
  • Reduction of the 19 extended days for pupil appraisal staff  
  • Reduction of the National Board-Certified Stipend from $7500 to $5000 for new certifications
 
 
 
These are some of the proposed temporary cuts:
  • Temporarily freeze central office vacancies
  • Temporarily suspend department head stipends and perfect attendance.
  • Temporarily suspend replacement textbook allocation and teacher allotment (reimbursement)

Salary steps and stipends as dedicated by the millage will not be affected.

If the loss of revenue is less than projected, JFT will continue to work with the district to reinstate many of the temporary cuts.

 
The Jefferson Parish School Board will vote on the proposed budget on June 24, 2020 at 5:30 PM at 501 Manhattan.
 

Back to School Weigh In

JFT members will soon have an opportunity to complete a 2020-2021 Back to School Survey. We need to hear from you! Your input will guide our conversations with the district on various scenarios for a safe return to school.
 
Education as we know it, will have to be adjusted, not only to address academic concerns, but health and safety issues, as well. When the survey is released, please be sure to complete them and encourage your colleagues to do the same! No final decisions have been determined at this time.
 
In reference to the 2020-2021 school start times, JFT has repeatedly addressed the board to defer implementation of the new start times, especially in light of changes that will take place for social distancing and the lack of input from employees and parents on the issue. JFT will continue to have ongoing discussions concerning this issue.
 

Superintendent’s Search

Jefferson Parish is in the process of selecting the next superintendent to lead the district. Hopefully, you had an opportunity to complete the initial survey concerning the qualities you would like to see in the next superintendent.
 
We will keep you informed of updates pertaining to the search.
 

LFT News

On Thursday, June 25th at 6pm the Senate Committee on Education will discuss the reopening of K-12 Schools in Louisiana. Specifically, they will go over plans, guidelines and guidance to be issued by the Louisiana Department of Education. Dr. Cade Brumley, State Superintendent of Education and Dr. Courtney Phillips, Secretary, Department of Health will be on hand to answer questions from the committee and the public.
 
 
Then, you can watch the Committee meeting live online to see if they discuss your question. The meeting will stream live on the Legislative website and Facebook.
 
 

AFT Update

Safely Reopening America’s Schools and Communities
Until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, each community is going to need support in charting a path to safely and responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.
 
The AFT’s detailed, science-based “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities” features five core pillars based on the science as well as educator and healthcare expertise—not on politics or wishful thinking.
 
To gradually reopen, we need to:
 
  1. Maintain physical distancing until the number of new cases declines for at least 14 consecutive days. Reducing the number of new cases is a prerequisite for transitioning to reopening plans on a community-by-community basis.
  2. Put in place the infrastructure and resources to test, trace and isolate new cases. Transitioning from community-focused physical distancing and stay-in-place orders to case-specific interventions requires ramping up the capacity to test, trace and isolate each new case.
  3. Deploy the public health tools that prevent the virus’ spread and align them with education strategies that meet the needs of students.
  4. Involve workers, unions, parents and communities in all planning. Each workplace and community faces unique challenges related to COVID-19. To ensure that reopening plans address those challenges, broad worker and community involvement is necessary. They must be engaged, educated and empowered.
  5. Invest in recovery: Do not abandon America’s communities or forfeit America’s future. These interventions will require more—not less—investment in public health and in our schools, universities, hospitals, and local and state governments. Strengthening communities should be a priority in the recovery.
The blueprint acknowledges Americans’ eagerness to return to some semblance of “normal.” But to do so, we must meet an unprecedented challenge: figuring out how to reimagine our society and the physical places we hold dear—public schools, places of worship, workplaces, restaurants and more—in ways that put our ultimate priorities first: the safety and well-being of working families, especially frontline workers, and the economic health of society.
 
The comprehensive document shows how, to effectively respond to the crisis, we must plan and align logistics, educational strategies and public health approaches into one coherent response. And we expect the plan to evolve as the data, and the facts, change.
 
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Our blueprint serves as a stark contrast to the conflicting guidance, bluster and lies of the Trump administration. The input of educators and healthcare workers, as well as parents, is crucial in making any reopening plan work. They are the eyes and ears, and are indispensable in making any plan work safely and effectively. We hope this blueprint will be the start of a real discussion on reopening schools, universities and other workplaces that allows our workers and families not only to dream of a safe and welcoming future, but to realize it.”
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Tell The Senate: Don't Forfeit Our Future

The Coronavirus has wreaked unprecedented havoc on the lives of the American people. Our economy, our schools, our jobs and our way of life have been disrupted. To survive and recover from this pandemic, safely reopen our schools, and allow people to safely return to work to restore our economy, we have to maintain critical state and local services, such as law enforcement, education and healthcare.
 
We need your senators to support critical pieces of the House-passed HEROES Act in the next COVID-19 relief bill:
  • At least $100 billion for public K-12 education and public colleges and universities to safely reopen and account for the unanticipated, increased costs of operating schools in a COVID-19 environment. Reopening schools and colleges while keeping students and staff safe will take more, not fewer, resources, especially as students will return to school with significant academic, social and emotional needs.
  • $500 billion for state aid and $350 billion for local aid that funds the services that retain our EMTs, public safety officers, teachers and school workers, sanitation workers, home-care providers, and other frontline public service workers who are essential to fighting this pandemic and reopening our economy. They have been there for us, and they are a critical part of our recovery, as well as keeping our communities safe and livable.
  • $175 billion for the health and safety of our frontline providers and the American people. We need widespread testing, contact tracing, adequate PPE supplies, relief for affected families, and expansion of Medicaid to ensure that vulnerable populations are treated to stop the spread of the virus.
 
Our states, cities, towns and public schools continue to anchor America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping communities safe, limiting the spread of the virus and supporting our children. The Senate must act now to fund these essential services that are at the heart of our recovery and our ability to reopen the economy. Eighty-four percent of Americans support increased federal aid to protect healthcare, education, safety and other services and to keep frontline workers on the job. It's vital that our Senators hear from public servants like you:
 

Click here to call your Senators' office.

Election Day

Early voting began on Saturday! Election day, which was originally scheduled for April 6th, is scheduled for Saturday, July 11th. As you may remember, the election was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Early voting has been extended by one week in accordance with the Emergency Election Plan and is now June 20-July 4 (excluding Sunday, June 21 and Sunday, June 28) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. On Election Day, Saturday July 11th, polls will be open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Click here for more election information including your polling location and sample ballot.

PSRP Corner

EDUCATION SUPPORT PERSONNEL MANIFESTO ON DEALING WITH THE COVID-19 CRISIS
Offered for consideration by the Public Services International Education, Cultural and Media Sector By Sandra Davis, American Federation of Teachers, Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel
 
As the world comes to grips with the enormous challenges put to us by the global coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that the impact on education has been devastating, a challenge without modern precedent. This manifesto is a call for recognition by a group of professionals who are among the most influential in the lives of our young people.
 
We are our unions’ education support personnel—school and university frontline workers who are office employees, custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers, classroom paraprofessionals, food service workers, school nurses and health aides, secretaries, special education assistants, and many others strengthening the institutions where we work, and protecting the health and welfare of our students.
 
To read the full manifesto, click here.