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CEA Member Appreciation Day at the Yard Goats Next Saturday

The Hartford Yard Goats are excited to announce CEA Member Appreciation Days at the new ballpark—the first of which is coming up Saturday, July 29! Come out to cheer on the home team and enjoy special recognition for CEA member teachers with fireworks after the game. The game starts at 6:35 p.m. and is against the Reading Fightin Phils.

If you can’t make next Saturday, there is a second CEA Member Appreciation Day on Friday, August 11, at 7:05 p.m. versus the Harrisburg Senators.

Reserve and pay for your tickets online at www.cea.org/yardgoats and automatically receive a $2 CEA member discount for each ticket you purchase.

State Board of Education Puts Bridgeport Public School Students on Losing End

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Teacher Brian Deming reads testimony submitted by Bridgeport teacher Carmella Lorusso, asking the State Board of Education not to divert public school funds to charter expansion.

Public school teachers, parents, and CEA staff turned out in force at a State Board of Education (BOE) hearing this morning to oppose a charter school expansion that would carve into funds meant for Bridgeport Public Schools, which serve the majority of the city’s 21,000 students. In spite of powerful testimony opposing the expansion and diversion of funds, Board members voted 6-2 to grant the request.

 

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Calling All Art Teachers!

Fourth graders at Silver Lane School in East Hartford created art work inspired by Claude Monet’s lily pad paintings. It was displayed at CEA Headquarters this past June.

Your students create amazing works of art–why not let a wider audience enjoy them? CEA headquarters in Hartford proudly displays student artwork on a monthly rotating basis, and we invite your school to create our next display.

Our artwork display area is 4′ high by 18′ wide and can easily accommodate 8-10 large works or 15-20 small or medium pieces. If possible, we ask that student artwork be matted, preferably in a color other than white or off-white, which is the background for the display. Read more

Teachers Hit the Links to Help Students

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Avon teacher Jeff Dubois (right) won closest to the pin on the 18th hole at CEF’s Hands Across the Green golf tournament, which brought hundreds of teachers together for a great cause. Helping Dubois measure is fellow teacher Jim Connelly. See more photos.

More than 200 Connecticut teachers, supporters, and CEA staff hit the links at Glastonbury Hills Country Club on July 17 as part of CEA’s largest fundraiser of the year to benefit public school students in need.

The Connecticut Education Foundation’s (CEF) 23rd annual Hands Across the Green Golf Tournament is projected to raise $25,000 or more for The Children’s Fund, which provides eyeglasses, clothing, school supplies, and many other essentials for disadvantaged children throughout the state, as well as the Edward J. Boland Financial Assistance Fund, which helps teachers facing extraordinary hardships.

Throughout the year, teachers turn to CEF to request money for essential items for students or colleagues experiencing significant financial hardships.

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Mortgage Assistance Program for Teachers

Are you looking to buy a home? If you’re considering buying in certain districts or you teach in a shortage area, check out the Connecticut Teachers Mortgage Assistance Program.

The Teachers Mortgage Assistance Program offers home loans at below-market interest rates to Connecticut public school teachers. To be eligible for the program, you must be employed as a Connecticut-certified public school teacher or a certified regional vocational-technical teacher. You must also be a first-time homebuyer unless you purchase a home in a federally targeted area.

Click here to find out if you quality for the Teachers Mortgage Assistance Program.

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority website offers information on this and other mortgage programs, a list of participating lenders, targeted areas of the state, subject matter shortage areas, and priority and transitional school districts.

Teachers Tell Legislators: Under Proposed Budget, We Will Be Worse Off Today Than 10 Years Ago

East Hartford teachers Kim Knapp, Teddy Tauris, and Jill McNulty joined Manchester Education Association President Kate Dias and a dozen other educators in opposing plans that would increase costs on teachers, students, and the communities where they live, work, and learn.

In a packed room at the Raymond Public Library in East Hartford, more than 15 teachers from East Hartford and neighboring Manchester told their state legislators to pass a budget without creating further hardships for teachers, families, schools, and overburdened municipalities.

The teachers, many of whom wore bright yellow stickers identifying themselves as educators, were among nearly 100 attendees at a budget workshop for citizens, led by Representatives Jason Rojas and Jeff Curry and Senator Henry Genga. The workshop was meant to be an exercise in the kind of debate and negotiation that elected officials are currently engaged in at the Capitol—although many in the room said they would prefer instead to hear the legislators’ plans for balancing the budget. Read more

Educators Speak Out in Force at Budget Meetings

New London and Groton teachers and community members discuss a budget planning activity with State Rep. Joe de la Cruz.

“We need more revenue, but we may also need to cut some spending, just not in education,” New London Board of Education member Peg Curtin told legislators last night at a State Budget Forum in New London.

That was the general message State Representatives Joe de la Cruz and Chris Soto heard from more than 40 teachers, parents, and community members, who filled the community room at the New London Library to speak out against budget cuts.

The representatives engaged attendees with the budget process by giving them the opportunity to try to balance the state budget. The attendees were split into groups, given cards containing spending and revenue categories and told to decide how to proceed on each budget item.

“This exercise is meant to engage them in the budget process and help them understand the challenges we face as we work on trying to reach consensus to balance the state budget. We either have to look for new revenue or cut programs,” said de la Cruz.

Groton Education Association President Beth Horler and New London Education Association President Rich Baez brought half a dozen teachers to the New London budget forum with State Representatives Chris Soto and Joe de la Cruz.

“These are extraordinary times and reaching a compromise is more difficult than it has been in decades,” said Soto, referring to the 18-18 even balance in the Senate and the close margins in the House.

Attendees acknowledged the difficulties facing legislators, but urged them to do what’s right for Connecticut’s future, and that means not cutting critical services, including education.

Two plans currently being considered would hurt students and teachers. They would:

  • increase teacher contributions to pensions by 30% (from 6% to 8% of salary); and
  • shift state costs for teacher retirement plans onto cities and towns, resulting in higher property taxes and cuts to local public school funding, layoffs, larger class sizes, and fewer resources for communities across the state.

New London Education Association President Rich Baez and Groton Education Association President Beth Horler urged lawmakers not to target teachers.

State Representatives Joe de la Cruz and Chris Soto heard from more than 40 people gathered for a state budget forum in New London.

“This is just another tax, but it’s just on teachers,” said Baez. “We pay more for healthcare than average workers, we pay our pension contributions, and in addition we pay out of pocket for classroom supplies that our schools don’t provide.”

“Public school teachers have been taking cuts for more than eight years, and we strongly urge you in your caucuses to not increase taxes on teachers and not shift costs onto our cities and towns,” said Horler.

“We don’t want to shift teacher retirement costs onto towns. That’s a definite, no,” said New London teacher Diane Holohan.

“I can tell you, we are giving back, but you can’t just balance the state budget on our backs. You need to go after revenue,” said a state employee and teacher at Grasso Technical High School in Groton.

Stratford Education Association President Michael Fiorello spoke with State Rep. Joe Gresko at a budget forum in Stratford.

State Representative Joe Gresko heard the same message from educators at a Town Hall forum he hosted in Stratford last night.  Stratford Education Association President Michael Fiorello urged him not to balance the state budget on the backs of students and teachers.

Soto encouraged everyone to share their stories. “I implore you to get us information about how cuts to programs would impact you and what we would lose.” He said it’s the stories that  demonstrate the true impact of cuts and the vital nature of programs.

“I am pleased that the legislators are listening,” said Groton teacher Sherri Facas.

“It’s reassuring that they are supportive of teachers and education, but we need to reach legislators who don’t agree with us,” said Groton teacher Michelle Gaiewski.

“All teachers need to take an active role. Teachers need to be at these events and speak out against cuts,” said Facas.

“I encourage all my colleagues from across the state to come out and speak out. We all need to know what’s happening and to be heard,” said Gaiewski.

Attend a forum in your town

Last night’s forums were just two of nearly a dozen public forums being held by legislators across the state.  If you live or teach in East Hartford, Hartford, Wallingford, Cheshire, or Southington please attend a forum and share your views about how proposed budget plans would hurt students and teachers.

Wallingford Budget Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
4 – 5:30 p.m.
Wallingford Public Library
200 North Main St, Wallingford

East Hartford Citizen’s Budget Workshop
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
Raymond Library
840 Main Street, East Hartford

Cheshire Budget Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Cheshire Town Hall
84 Main St, Cheshire

Hartford State Budget Forum
Thursday, July 13, 2017
5 p.m.
West Indian Social Club
3340 Main Street, Hartford

Southington Budget Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, July 13, 2017
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Southington Town Hall
75 Main St, Southington

If You Live in One of These Districts, Please Come Out to a Budget Forum With Legislators

Some state legislators are holding citizen budget forums this week, and they need to hear from teachers. Some budget proposals currently being considered threaten public education and teacher pensions.

If you live or teach in New London, East Hartford, Stratford, Hartford, Wallingford, Cheshire, or Southington please attend a forum and share your views about how these plans would hurt students and teachers. (See times and locations below.) Read more

How to Save on Last-Minute Summer Travel

Want to get away—right now? Use these tips to plan the perfect summer adventure at a budget-friendly price.

Still trying to decide how to spend your summer vacation? Or maybe you found some extra time to travel and you want to make the most of it? While you may not have a lot of lead time left for a big summer trip, there are still lots of ways to save even if you spontaneously pack up and head out tomorrow!

No matter where you are in your travel planning, use these tips from NEA Member Benefits to get the most out of your vacation time and budget.

STAY CLOSE TO HOME
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Connecticut Joins 17 Other States in Lawsuit Against DeVos

WASHINGTON — Attorneys general of 18 states and the District of Columbia today filed suit against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over the delay of implementing student borrower defense regulations. This lawsuit, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Education and Betsy DeVos, challenges the Department of Education’s summary and unlawful repeal of a final agency regulation known as the “Borrower Defense Rule” that was designed to hold abusive post-secondary institutions accountable for their misconduct and to relieve their students from federal loan indebtedness incurred as a result of that misconduct.

The U.S. Department of Education has indefinitely delayed implementation of rules that were set to take effect on July 1 that allow borrowers to seek loan forgiveness if their schools had deceived them or committed fraud. The coalition involved in today’s lawsuit, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, includes the attorneys general of Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia. Read more