News and Notes

Proposed Bylaws Changes
Members will be asked to vote on proposed bylaws changes on this April's officer election ballot. Please click on the Documents tab above to view the current bylaws and the proposed bylaws (with changes highlighted).

General Membership Meeting - April 12 at 4:30
MVEA Members, please plan to be at the General Membership Meeting this week, Thursday April 12 at the high school auditorium. The purpose of this meeting is to give input and the opportunity for feedback on bargaining. The ground has shifted since last summer, and there is a lot going on. Please do your best to attend, and be sure to stay in touch with your building reps if you can't.

Walkouts? What Does A Teacher Do?
As most of us know by now, there are some protests planned, including student walkouts (March 14 for instance), around the issue of guns in schools. But what do we do if our students walk out of class? What if we want to protest too? After consulting with our superintendent, Carl Bruner, the following guidelines are here for MVEA members:

A. If you are interested in joining in any political action around this or other issues, you may take a personal day. 
B. If students get up and leave your class...
  • Call the office and let them know that students have left your room to participate in the walkout. Relaying this information is for student safety, not for discipline purposes.)
  • If students remain in class, stay with them.
  • If ALL of your students walk out, you may choose to follow them to supervise (with the purpose of keeping students safe).
  • Do NOT follow students off campus. Administrators will have a plan for this possibility.
Remember: If you are going to engage in political activity (including a protest or walkout) use a personal day

Upcoming Events!
There are several upcoming events that members will be interested in. 
  • Restorative yoga and mindfulness with Kay Quall
  • Financial planning for retirement with Laura Dick
  • Representative Assembly
For more information on these opportunities for MVEA members please click HERE to link to our website.

We Were in the Christmas Parade, Again!
On Sunday MVEA members were joined by some members of other unions who work in our schools, and by Dr. Bruner himself. 
We all marched in the parade spreading holiday cheer and representing teachers and Mount Vernon schools a this fun community event. Don't forget there is a paint and sip class at the MVEA offices this week. See your work email (from Cheryl) for sign-up info.

We Have a Contract
At the general assembly meeting on August 30, MVEA members voted to ratify a one-year contract with the Mount Vernon School District. Although the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) itself is not yet published, some highlights are:
  • TRI jumps from 26% to 32.2%
  • Elementary certs have two-hour early release every Friday for PLC/planning
  • $150/night stipend for Camp Orkila/Mountain School
  • Fewer restrictions on personal days
There is a lot more. To see a more detailed summary, check out the Bargaining tab above. A great job was done by our bargaining team. It was a tough situation with the extended legislative sessions and all of the new things thrown at us by the state legislature. And the work is not done. Next year the entire salary structure gets torn up, and we start all over again. Please stay tuned to this newsletter, our website and your home email.

MVEA Members Show Up to Support Bargaining Team
At least 50 Mount Vernon teachers were at our new offices to support the bargaining team in today's meeting (Monday, August 28). There was some chanting, and lots of sign waving to greet the district's bargaining team as they arrived. Our bargain is in a tricky stage at the moment, and don't forget we have a meeting on Wednesday, August 30, at 6:30 PM in the Cascade Commons to decide as a membership what to do next. Also, stay tuned to your home email for bargaining updates and perhaps another call to action.

It has become necessary to hold an emergency membership meeting tomorrow, August 24th, to discuss the state of the bargain. This meeting is in addition to the meeting on August 30th. Please come to the high school auditorium at 4:00 pm. We need to hear as many voices as possible. Please contact as many MVEA members as you can to let them know about this, as not everyone is checking email. Text, email, call your friends and colleagues--whatever works, just do your part to get as many MVEA members there as possible. If you have been in contact with new hires within your building, please contact them about the meeting. The bargaining team is looking forward to seeing you tomorrow afternoon.

Freedom Foundation Might Be Trolling You
You may have recently received a mailer at home from an anti-public education political group encouraging you to drop your membership in the local Education Association and WEA.  It is part of a broader national campaign to weaken educators’ rights and attack public education. Please see the WEA Flyer on the Freedom Foundation for more information. Needless to say, MVEA recommends that you ignore any action the Freedom Foundation asks you to take. Teachers who give up their union membership also give up their voice (ie - voting rights) in contract negotiations and union actions and issues.
MVEA Now Has An Office!
MVEA has just signed a lease on office space. We have had the keys since July 1st. Please click here to check out some photos and some  more details.

The Budget Has Passed
Paul has written an update in the Legislative Updates tab above. Check it out. 

Legislature Has a Budget Agreement
The legislature has reached a tentative agreement on the budget, including education funding. The article in WEA's Our Voice website has some bullet points that don't look good. Although only bullet points are released, time is short to avoid government shutdown, and the Legislature probably votes on Friday. Call your legislators now, and tell them not to take our bargaining rights away! 

MVEA to Have a New Office Next Year
The rep council voted via email last week to approve a motion to rent office space for the MVEA next school year. This space will accommodate rep council and executive board meetings, and be available for members to discuss sensitive issues off of school district property. More information will come as a lease is signed.  

Sign Waving on June 6th
MVEA was out in force on June 6th waving signs at three Mount Vernon overpasses. Our message was to the legislature: FULLY FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION! Many friendly honks and sunny weather as well. Here are some pictures:

Result of May 31 General Assembly Meeting
On May 12 MVEA members met at the annual general assembly meeting to vote on the health care package for 2017-2018. There were also changes to the MVEA bylaws up for voting. The result: the health care package was passed, and so were the bylaws changes.

Action Needed - June 6!
A message has been sent to home emails, encouraging MVEA members to participate in political action on June 6, after school. We are going to wave signs on the freeway overpasses, signs that ask people to contact their legislators and demand full funding of public education. We are asking the middle schools to show up at 3:00, the high school at 3:30 and the elementary schools by 4:00. Please count on waving signs for an hour, and don't forget to wear your red shirt! Here are the locations:
  • Blackburn - Mount Baker, Jefferson, Lincoln
  • Anderson - Centennial, Little Mountain, Washington
  • Viaduct - LaVenture, MVHS, Madison
Please consider giving an hour of your time to raise public awareness how the legislature is dropping the ball on education funding. Talk to your building reps about signs, and about getting a red WEA tee shirt if you don't already have one.

Occupy Olympia
Since May first teachers in Washington state have been occupying Olympia - teachers taking a day off work to occupy the rotunda and call upon their legislators,telling them to fully fund education. Numbers were lower than we hoped (we had hoped for 200 teachers per day, there was 20-25  when I went), but we can still go. It is empowering to talk to your legislators, even if they don't agree. It is pressure, and that's what we need to apply. See more pictures here.

May is a Month of Action for the MVEA
Members, we need you to be ready in May to take action. There are three phases of this action to fight against the legislature, particularly the Senate's budget plan. Please talk to your building rep about Occupy Olympia, during the first two weeks of May. We need as many teachers as possible to travel to Olympia and put pressure on this special session. The Fourth Corner will pay for your sub! Third week of May - the visibility campaign. Actions to be determined. On May 10, at the MVHS cafeteria we will meet as a general assembly and discuss and vote on a strike against the legislature. If you are not receiving home emails from MVEA, please send your home email address to me, Greg, at

ESD 189 Superintendant's Letter
The superintendents of ESD 189, including our superintendent, have all (except Oak Harbor) signed an open letter to the legislature that says what they want. In this letter they call for a couple of things that one could argue benefits MVEA members. But they sign on to several things that do not benefit us. These things include severe limits to collective bargaining, a possible end of TRI pay, state takeover of our health care and perhaps extending our work days to Saturdays. Read the letter HERE. A response has been written and will be sent soon. The Fourth Corner's response can be seen HERE

Saturation Campaign
Within the next few days MVEA members will be offered a sign to put in your car's window. Actually, you will be offered three. One for you, your spouse or partner, a close relative or friend - basically, we need you and two other people to spread the message. And thatmessage is for thelegislature to do its job and fully fund education in Washington State. This is not just Mount Vernon, this is a region-wide effort to saturate the I-5 corridor with the message.

How to Lose Your Job as an Educator! - By Dave Willer
I have been the MVEA president for five years and I have seen teachers lose their jobs in a variety of ways. For those of you who just want the list, here they are:
  • Voluntarily leave: Resign or Retire 
  • RIF (Reduction in Force) 
  • Not being renewed while in provisional status 
  • Failing to maintain your teaching certificate 
  • Failing to maintain high ethical standards 
  • Failing to perform your duties adequately (this is TPEP related)
To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Washington Teachers (Including MVEA) at the Rally in Olympia

January 16th was a big day for teachers. The state patrol estimated 6,500 teachers, parents, paras and students at the rally reminding legislators that public education is a civil right, and failing to fully fund public education is a violation of civil rights. For a look at all the images,please click here.

Update - MVEA Was in the Parade - Again!
Once again MVEA members marched in Mount Vernon's annual Christmas parade. Around 20 members showed up to spread good cheer and holiday
 wishes to the Mount Vernon community. This is also our annual outreach event to keep up our visibility in the community. Thanks to all those members who showed up, and happy holidays to ALL MVEA members.

Get On The Bus!
Yes, the election is over. No! Politics are not done. The MVEA is joining members from all over Washington to rally in Olympia for fully funding education. Stand up for our students' right to a fully funded, free public education. Sign up sheets are in your school's break room, or at this link HERE. The rally is on January 16, 2017, time to be determined. Make a difference on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as you stand up for every child in Washington and their right to a fully funded education.

Don't Forget to Vote!
Ballots have been out for about two weeks now. Be sure and send yours in soon. The Secretary of State's office has announced that they will deliver ballots with a single stamp, even though it is a big ballot this year. Not sure who to support for Leuitenant Governor, or for Supreme Court Justice? The WEA recommendations are in the Rants and Raves tab above.

This Is A Very Important Election 
November eighth is a very important election for the MVEA and for Washington teachers in general. Please see the Rants and Raves tab for voter recommendations for statewide races, and for the 10th, 40th and 42nd legislative districts. Your ballots will be in the mail soon, so please be sure and vote. 

By now we have heard of the horrific shooting at the Cascade Mall that took one of our own - MVHS student Sarai Lara. Just a quick note to express our sympathy for all of the victims and their families, and solidarity with the greater Skagit family as we deal with this tragedy. Our friends at Oak Harbor Education Association have sent us their well-wishes. Click HERE to see their cards.

Have You Recently Been Affected By A Life Changing Catastrophic Event?
Accident, illness, divorce? These events can seriously affect your financial present and future. The MVEA contracts with Bill Dehon, who advises members on retirement choices. Bill has also said you should contact him if you have been affected by a catastrophic event in your life. He works for us for a small stipend, and gives us great advice because he loves helping people, especially hard-working teachers. Contact Bill if you have been impacted by life's slings and arrows.

Health Care Committee
How are you enjoying the double-digit our health care premiums? Maybe you won't fully realize the pain until your next pay warrant. The MVEA realizes you need another meeting like a hole in your head, but we are looking for members to meet to talk about our health care options and future. Interested? Then please contact Paul Hope.

Welcome Back!
I'm sure you are aware that school has begun! Hopefully you are also aware that you can work up to two days with pay (all teacher directed), and claim 7.5 hours for each day. Or, if you want, you can save one of the days to use after the school year has ended. You will also get a "use it or lose it" day between the semesters (at the end of January).

Randy Dorn Files Lawsuit that Could Impact TRI Pay
Current Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said today (7/14/2016) that he plans on suing several school districts in King County Superior Court next week. He claims that school districts that pay their teachers with any levy dollars are violating the state constitution. This article in the Everett Herald gives a concise explanation of his plan. There is also a rant about this in the Rants and Raves tab.

Update (7/20/2016): Randy Dorn has filed his lawsuit in King County Superior Court. He did not sue the Mount Vernon School District. He did sue Seattle Public Schools, Tacoma schools, Puyallup, Everett, Spokane and a couple of others (seven total). It is said that if the suit is successful Washington state schools will lose over three billion dollars, with no funding mechanism in place to replace the missing money.

We Voted on Health Care
At our general assembly meeting we did not have enough information to vote on our health care package (like we do every June). So, we had an online vote. The results were all but two votes in favor of continuing with our current health care package.

Help Bob Pitzer
Bob Pitzer needs your help. Bob is an MVEA member and a person who is in need of a liver. Mr. Pitzer is now on a waiting list, and has insurance, but the cost of the whole business is very, very high.

Normally we do not use the online VOICE for solicitations. But we (the MVEA) are making an exception this time. Robert Pitzer is our colleague, and in need of immediate assistance.  A new liver is a huge ask, and we are not asking you to give up a liver. We are asking that you consider a few dollars for expenses not covered by insurance. 

Bob has a Go Fund Me campaign. You can help Bob by donating HERE.

Thank you, MVEA, for considering help for a member who has worked with us for many years.

MVEA Was In Mount Vernon's Christmas Parade!
What fun! A handful of us marched in the Christmas Parade. Rep Council voted to do this instead of the fair, looking for ways to 
increase our visibility in the community. And even though not too many teachers marched, we were able to say hi to hundreds of people in just a short walk, and spread some holiday cheer in the mix.

New This Year
Your next non-student day is November 6th. The first half of this day is building/district directed. The plan for the non-teacher directed day depends upon whether you are elementary, middle or high school. You will have a duty-free lunch, and three hours of teacher directed time for planning, collaboration, or whatever you think best supports your job.