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April Newsletter

JFT Newsletter

April 14, 2023

School Board’s Decision To Close Schools and Relocate Students

The night of April 5th was one of tears, disappointment, and anger over the closing of six schools and relocating those students and others to other schools. The boardroom was full, and several other rooms were opened to accommodate the large crowds. Many teachers, students, and citizens spoke to support their schools and the importance of remaining at their present site. Ultimately, the board voted in favor of the MGT plan by 7 to 2.  

JFT interim president, Sandra Hauer, spoke about the plan and how she and JFT staff attended all of MGT’s Town Halls.  JFT scolded the board because there was no public or employee input. A shift this great in the school district should have included input from employees and the public, before any decisions were made. There was still so much information that had yet to be released, and there is only seven weeks of school left. The employees, students, and community do not know the new attendance zones or bus routes. Employees need to know when their assignments for the school year will happen. August is only four short months away. The transfer window is open.

Click here to watch Sandra Hauer's testimony before the board.

MGT presented the building and capacity but did not present how the human factor would be affected. There were nine meetings at approximately $10,000 per meeting, and no pertinent information was shared. MGT shared color-coded charts which gave no information on how students, the community, and employees would be affected. JFT stressed that all was a waste of time and money with no clear-cut answers for anyone.  

“Ultimately, jobs need to be preserved! If closing schools is a cost-saving measure, then let’s reward the students with more resources and a well-deserved pay raise for all employees,” stated Sandra Hauer, Interim President. JFT is working diligently to ensure that employees affected by closures are placed in positions. Human Resources will be out in the schools talking to the employees affected, much like they did with the 2019 K-8 expansion model.  

Know Your Contract

We have been receiving calls and emails about teacher supplies. The last day of this academic year to submit receipts for reimbursement is Friday, April 28, 2023. For items to be considered for reimbursement, the items must be for instructional purposes.

Article X of the CBA (Teacher Supplies) states – Teachers shall be reimbursed $100 per semester for teaching materials/registration fees for pre-approved conferences/workshops, including sales tax. A teacher who does not expend his allocation or any part thereof for the 1st semester shall be permitted to spend it during the 2nd semester. Reimbursement shall occur promptly but no later than 20 work days following submission, provided receipts were furnished with all expenditures fully documented. Receipts must be submitted no later than the last business day of April in the year in which reimbursement is claimed.

AFT PSRP Convention

Karen Riggleman, JFT staff, will represent our PSRP Paraeducator and Support Related Personnel] on April 14-16 at the American Federation of Teachers National PSRP Convention. This is a great honor that JFT’s PSRPs are recognized for their hard work and dedication to the national stage. Karen is also an AFT Program and Policy representative for all PSRPs across the nation and JFT is extremely proud to have Karen Riggleman represent JFT.

Louisiana Federation of Teachers’ Six Surveys

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers has launched Six Surveys in Six Weeks to get members and non-members’ perspectives on six issues related to teachers and school employees. The surveys have ranged from compensation to professional development to student learning resources. The results of these surveys will be used during the 2023 Legislative session, which began on Monday, April 10th.  

JFT is pleased to inform all of you that Jefferson Parish employees are again leading the way with its responses. JFT would also like to thank everyone who has participated in completing these very important surveys that give LFT the data they need to fight for all of us. The first couple surveys have closed, but if you have not already taken all the surveys, please take the ones that are still open:

3. Recruitment & Retention Survey:
Once again, thank you for your participation.

JFT Scholarship

Once again, it’s that time of the year for the JFT Scholarship applications. The committee will review applicants and announce the recipients at the May General Membership meeting (TBA).

Thanks to all of you that applied, and the candidates have been superior. If your child has received the scholarship in the past, the renewal packet will be mailed to your home address.

JFT Election

May 2, 2023, will be an election for the office of president. The election will be to fill the remainder of former president Kesler Camese-Jones’ term of office, which expires on June 30, 2024.  

There will be in-person voting on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at these two locations from 3:30 pm – 7 pm, at: East Bank: Plumbers and Steamfitters on 3515 North I-10 Service Road, Metairie and on the West Bank: Seafarers Union at 3911 Lapalco Blvd, Harvey.

You must have been a member in good standing as of January 1, 2023 and a current employee of the district as of May 2, 2023 to vote. You will need to bring a valid picture ID to be able to vote.

Legislative Update

The legislative session began this week. Our partners at the Louisiana Federation of Teachers are tracking hundreds of bills, all with the potential to impact you and your students. One of the most important issues this session will be pay raises for teachers and school employees.

The Governor is calling for a $3,000 raise for teachers and $1,500 for support staff. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, under the guidance of State Superintendent Cade Brumley, is calling for a $2,000 raise for teachers and $1,000 for support staff as well as a $1,000 stipend for certain teachers (i.e. those working in high needs schools or who score “high performing” on assessments). Unfortunately, that differential payment in BESE’s plan is not guaranteed from one year to the next. It can be taken away for any number of reasons and won’t contribute to retirement.

LFT is pushing for the largest possible permanent raise for teachers and school employees. As the process plays out, we will call on teachers and school employees to send letters to legislators, make calls and potentially even come to the capitol. If you aren’t already receiving legislative updates and action alerts from LFT, you can sign up here.

CBTU Annual Convention

The “Coalition of Black Trade Unionist” upcoming annual convention that will be held in New Orleans May 23, 2023 thru May 29, 2023. On May 24th, 2023 the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist will hosting a “Building Trades Career Info Fair” as part of its annual convention. All Public & Charter Schools within the metropolitan area to attend.

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