Sunday, April 8, 2018

Thank You CMNEA!

MNEA Call to Action!


Dear CMNEA friends,

I share the following link with you about a bill being sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Roeber, from House Dist. 34. Although a retired school teacher from the Raytown School District, her bill- if passed into law, would allow for charter schools to operate across Missouri. As you know, this will hurt many of our school districts in rural areas, as well as take monies away from all public schools. 

MNEA takes the stance that charter schools do not have the same standards as public schools follow to ensure the education and protection of the students attending public schools. MNEA would like to see charter schools have the same/similar standards, as well as be held accountable to an elected body such as school boards. 

If you are interested in writing to your legislator about this bill or write to oppose this bill, then please feel free to write to your elected official. The link will provide the name. Please write soon.

House majority party leaders have been working recently to urge caucus members to support HB 2247 (Roeber). The bill would allow charter schools to be sponsored by outside entities (other than the local school board) and operate in many districts around the state.

The bill is likely to come up for House floor debate very soon.  The Association opposes the bill and asks that you contact your State Representative using the link below.

Guided by the revised MNEA Position Paper on charter schools, the Association believes that charter schools should be sponsored by and accountable to the local community through the elected school board and approved only after an impact study is conducted by the district to consider the proposal.  School board sponsorship ensures that the board can plan the use of all school funds and implement the services and programs that meet the needs of all students in the community.

All charter schools should be subject to the same standards of accountability, transparency and respect for the rights of students, parents and staff as are applicable to traditional public schools.  HB 2247 does not enact these reforms, and the Association opposes the bill.

ACTION NEEDED: IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY DONE SO, please call, write or use the link below to send an e-mail to urge your State Representative to oppose HB 2247.

The message can be edited, and your message will have GREATER IMPACT if you add your own comments.

New CPS Board Members to be Sworn in April 9th

      By Roger McKinney -Columbia Daily Tribune
Susan Blackburn and Teresa Maledy on Monday will be sworn in as new members at the start of the Columbia Board of Education’s monthly meeting, the first new board members since 2014.
Board members will also choose a new president and vice president.
Blackburn and Maledy were the top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s election. Incumbent board President Darin Preis didn’t seek re-election and incumbent Christine King was defeated.
Blackburn and Maledy were asked Friday how they would make their voices heard on a seven-member board.
“I’m not so worried about having my voice heard,” Maledy said. “I’m more interested in learning the nuances of Columbia Public Schools. I’m not concerned with not being heard, I’m more concerned with working with a team.”
Blackburn said she’s ready to get to work on the issues she campaigned on.
“I feel strongly about improving student achievement and improving safety and security in our schools,” she said. “I know other board members share those concerns.”
Research shows early childhood education improves student achievement during a child’s school career. CPS has some pre-kindergarten options for children ages three and four. Early Head Start, through Central Missouri Community Action, is available to children from families with the lowest income, but even then, space is limited.
Maledy has seen the research as a board member with the Cradle to Career Alliance, a not-for-profit organization made up of government officials and business and community leaders focused on improving educational outcomes for local students.
“I think we need to collaborate with different partners in the community,” Maledy said. “I believe Central Missouri Community Action Early Head Start offers the best path forward. Grant Montessori School is another example of a great public-private partnership, though it’s for ages three to five.”
Blackburn praised the strength of Columbia Public Schools’ Title I preschool program, which provides services to low-income families, and other initiatives targeting children before kindergarten.
“We have a strong Parents as Teachers program,” Blackburn said. “We need to find ways to expand these programs for more opportunities to reach preschool-age children.”
Parents as Teachers is a program in which CPS “parent educators” visit the homes of families with young children to track the child’s development.
Board members don’t talk freely about contract negotiations with Columbia Missouri National Education, the teacher’s union, when they’re happening, but before those restrictions are in place, both Blackburn and Maledy said as board members, they will always listen to teachers.
“My whole campaign has been about advocating for better pay and working conditions for teachers,” said Blackburn, a former reading recovery teacher and district coordinator. “I think probably we’ll be able to hear all points of view.”
Maledy during the campaign said attracting and retaining good teachers should be a district priority.
“Compensation is one component of that,” she said. “There’s a really strong relationship between CPS and CMNEA. Our goals are aligned. We have a strong relationship and we need to look for ways to strengthen the relationship.”
The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the CPS administration building, 1818 W. Worley St.             

April 3rd Election Results

Courtesy of Columbia Daily Tribune

Christine King: 4,352
James “Ben” Tilley: 5,565
Tyler Francis Lero: 941
Susan Blackburn: 6,026
Teresa Maledy: 8,161
Yes: 11,868
No: 2,426

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hank Waters Makes Tribune Endorsement Pick for Columbia School Board Race

By Hank Waters-Columbia Daily Tribune, March 28, 2018

Patrons of Columbia Public Schools will have satisfying choices April 3 for the district board of Education.
We should be grateful to the five candidates who are standing for election. Over many years I have developed great respect for people willing and eager to serve, particularly in local unpaid positions like members of the school board. The election process is rigorous enough, but nothing compared with the responsibilities of actual service in office week after week, and year after year. Bless them for doing these important chores for the rest of us.
This year five candidates are competing for two open seats.
I must say I was overjoyed to learn Teresa Maledy had decided to run. If anyone among us qualifies as a commendable public citizen, Teresa is it. For several years I have served with her on the Stephens College Board of Trustees, including her term as chair. Simply stated, Teresa is an exemplary member with a keen awareness of how boards should function. She knows how boards should interact with executive officers. She will improve the performance of any board she is on.
Her interest in education at all levels is exemplary. For many years she has had children in Columbia Public Schools. She believes in public education and particularly in Columbia public education. For her innate public service skills and her particular interest in local education, Teresa Maledy is one of the most promising school board candidates I can imagine. Many thanks to her for agreeing to serve. She deserves election with a strong majority.
For the other seat long time teacher Susan Blackburn and incumbent board member Christine King are the best choices.
Blackburn is an excellent candidate with a long record as a Columbia public schools literacy teacher. When coupled with good collaborative skills, faculty experience is the right foundation for good board service. Susan Blackburn fits this mold. She is smart and has very good communications skills.
Christine King has served for nine years on the board. Experience is her long suit.
In this election I like Teresa Maledy and Susan Blackburn, two exceptional candidates we are fortunate to have in the race.

CMNEA Recommended Candidate- Ben Tilley!

Tilley: I know the district and can contribute

Upon retiring from Columbia Pubic School District last year after 21 years in various positions, school board candidate Ben Tilley believes he has a firm grasp on what the district needs.
Tilley, 61, is one of five candidates seeking two seats on the Columbia Board of Education in the April 3 election.
He spent 21 years as a classroom teacher before becoming an assistant principal at two elementary schools, assistant director of research and assessment, and Title I director and assistant superintendent for elementary education.
“I think we have a real good school district, but there are significant challenges,” said Tilley, whose two children graduated from CPS. “I have the experience to dig into the problems.”
The district in the next three years plans to build a new middle school to ease current overcrowding, and Tilley said he is familiar with this process.
“It has been on my mind of me running,” he said. “I know the district. I would love to be able to contribute.”
Tilley, if elected to the board, wants to look into how the district could raise money to increase salaries for teachers.
“We are lagging behind,” Tilley said, adding a teacher’s starting salary in Columbia is about $35,000 a year. Two years ago the board approved increasing salaries with the wage increasing from $34,353 to $35,500 for a new teacher with no experience, according to the salary schedule on its website.
Tilley pointed to the Parkway School District in St. Louis that pays beginning teachers $42,800 annually, according to a salary schedule on its website.
What frustrates Tilley is of the 140 students who did their student teaching in Columbia last year, very few stayed in the city after graduating.
“We often are the training ground, but are unable to keep them,” he said.
Prior to the pay increase two years ago, he said there had been years where teachers’ base salaries remained the same. They did receive the increases for based on years of experience.
“There is only so much money to go around, so you have to look at every expense,” he said, “You have to make the best of the few dollars you do have.”
Tilley said if elected he would like to review the budget, but he realizes the bulk of it goes toward salaries and benefits.
“Where are you spending every dollar you have?” he said is a question that needs to be asked. “Are you doing everything you can?
“It is a guessing game, but to mitigate the guessing game you have to look at trends,” he continued. Those trends could result in the school district feeling comfortable in giving raises or holding back wage increases.
Besides salaries, Tilley wants to look into school safety to ensure the schools are prepared for tragedies if one were to occur.
He also said he would like to meet with the Center for Education to get its perspective on school safety.
Another idea to improve safety would be to hold trainings on strategies to identify individuals that might be at risk, he said, and for the district to be more proactive than reactive. He added the mental health component plays a role in all of this.
Tilley said he believes most of the mass shootings in schools are from loners who might not be engaged with school or other students.
“Reach out to them to help each other,” he said. “Befriend that person who does not have friends.”
Tilley supports the school district’s $30 million bond initiative, with some of it being used to pay for a new middle school on the south side of town. He also noted the bond issue on the April 3 ballot will not increase taxes.
One advantage Tilley believes he has over the other candidates is he knows a lot of the teachers and administrators, but added that could change quickly.
“People know me and know the work I have done in the school district,” he said.
Elaine Hassemer, who has known Tilley for 20 years and worked with him when both were employed with the Columbia schools, said he would be a great school board member.
“He is very concerned about students and their (success),” she said. “He puts children first.”