A letter from PEA Negotiating Team to our Board Trustees and superintendent

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News reporter nails it!

The issue cuts across urban, suburban and rural districts. It cuts across racial and socioeconomic lines. It goes to the core of American culture, parenting, media exposure for ratings only and what we as a society are willing to tolerate, correct and find unacceptable.



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Students assaulting teachers is NEVER acceptable!

PEA members,

This communication is to make us all aware of our rights and options when ANY student K-12, general education or special education, assaults us in ANY way!
Assault can include any strike, kick, punch, slap, spit, hit, head butt, stabbing, throwing objects, etc.
The protocol recommended is to do the following:
1. IMMEDIATELY report the incident to the administrative supervisor and/or principal. Document the event via email and/or paper work while the event is fresh in your mind recalling
Who witnessed the event or may have been involved or present during the assault (staff, parapros, students, etc)
Where it occurred (lobby, cafeteria, room #, location within room, etc)
When it occurred (day of week, date, time of day),
What exactly happened (describe the assault in detail – hit with which arm? kicked? spit? use of weapon? etc) What part of your body seemed injured or involved at the time? Communicate all these details to the administration! You should Cc copies to the PEA president as well atpeapresident@yahoo.com as well as to yourself at your private email and to your building’s PEA representative.
2. Seek medical attention immediately!  Even seemingly minor incidents can result in undiagnosed blood clots leading to stroke, infections, bone diseases and hematoma hours or days later. DO NOT assume ‘you’re okay’. This can be covered by the employers policy but do not wait to be checked out – sooner is better and safer.
3. Notify your union representative as soon as possible. Helping you get through such a traumatic event is a benefit of membership and we will work proactively to see your health and safety are paramount!
Too often the mistakes that are made and that harm others in profession are:
1. Lack of documentation: Teachers fail to memorialize the events, assaults and attacks with email, formal medical attention, etc. It’s our own fault when we don’t do this and it places other students and staff at risk in the future by helping to hide the behavior from others, and the official record.
2. Minimizing event: Because the student was of elementary age, identified as Special Education and/or IEP, or because the teacher doesn’t want to appear to not be a ‘team player’ or being overly ‘dramatic’ etc..
3. Didn’t draw blood: Because the assault didn’t immediately seem to have visible result (immediate bruising, bleeding, swelling, etc).
4. Futility: It’s a manifestation of a diagnosis so there’s nothing that can be done (FALSE!) A sense that this has happened many times before and nothing is ever done about it. A belief, accurate or inaccurate, that the administration won’t do anything and hasn’t done anything.
5. It’s part of the job: A false belief that working within a public school institution and with children of all abilities and disabilities means sometimes you’re gonna get spit on, kicked, hit, slapped, stabbed, punched, choked and assaulted.
I will address each of these quickly:
1. Without documentation the 43rd assault could appear as the first if none of the previous ones were documented as they should have been! We need to amass documentation to support discipline and expulsion. We need documentation at manifest hearing for location to a facility suited for violent youth.
2. Very often injuries manifest hours, days, even weeks later. Would you expect your child to not report being assaulted for days or weeks? Infections and clots can be lifelong conditions having debilitating results or even being fatal. You owe it to your family, colleagues and student body to follow through with reporting and getting treatment, it’s the professional thing to do.
3. Concussions don’t show externally, blood clots working their way to the brain, groin, etc., don’t always appear suddenly. Emotional trauma of being attacked at work doesn’t show on the skin. Saliva may contain communicable diseases and pathogens that will appear weeks or months later after exposure. Clots resulting from blunt trauma are potentially fatal, etc. Get professional, medical attention with follow up! 
4. How administration may choose to address violent students is their choice. Documentation of students’ assaulting, violent behaviors is something administration would need in order to take more stringent disciplinary steps leading to a possible expulsion.
5. We are not in a juvenile correctional facility – assaults are NOT to be tolerated. It is a criminal act beyond just school policies and rules! You can call the police and press charges regardless what actions the administration may take.
Read the information at this helpful link:
Here is an article published in the NEA regarding When Educators Are Assaulted
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Get PAID for your graduate hours!!!

Every year it seems there are some folks who missed following the contract language and have completed courses in graduate school but aren’t getting the additional pay because they never followed protocol. Don’t short change yourself! Be sure to complete and turn in a Request For Approval of Courses form – available in your building’s front office or by request from our PPS Human
Resources office

This is a focus on Article 21 of our contract.
Remember to document and complete Permission To Take Courses paperwork PRIOR to taking classes and completing them. More than a couple of our members have failed to do this and were not granted advancement on the payscale as a result.

Section 7:  An amount of 0.2% of the base of the Bachelor’s Degree Schedule as shown on Schedule A per semester hour shall be added to the appropriate step of Schedule A of a teacher for each semester hours of approved graduate credit earned after placement on the Master’s Degree Schedule.  Such reimbursement shall be made provided:

a)         The graduate credit was earned from an accredited institution of higher education designated as a four-year college or university.

b)         That all courses were approved on the appropriate form by the appropriate Administrator prior to the teacher’s registration for the course.

c)         Such reimbursement shall be made following submission of proof of satisfactory completion of the course.

d)         The maximum number of hours reimbursed shall be thirty (30) hours.

In order to receive salary adjustments based on this Section for the fall semester, passing grades must be submitted by the next February 1 following the completion of the course, except that the adjustment made at the beginning of the second semester shall be based on 0.1% of the base of the Bachelor’s Degree Schedule per semester hour.

In order to receive salary adjustments based on this Section for the winter, spring and summer semesters, passing grades must be submitted by the next October 1 following the completion of the course.

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MERC ruling on August opt-out window a disappointment

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission made its ruling regarding the legality of the long standing practice of an August opt-out window being for August only. Under the system in place any member could opt out of the union during the month of August but for the obvious benefit of budgeting and having had the benefit of voting on contracts, etc.. the window was limited to just August. This challenge was brought forth by the actively anti-union, anti-MEA Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a strong GOP right-wing organization that promotes and professes anti-worker and anti-union agenda for Michigan. Whether or not the MEA will seek to advance this to the courts has not yet been decided but MEA president, Steve Cook, did make a formal statement in response to the ruling (see link)

MEA logo

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You’re not paranoid if they ARE out to get you

Unions, and teachers, are under direct, targeted attack. The first step is to disguise attacks as a way to help workers with pseudo-friendly movements like “Right To Work” which most anyone can see as a way to weaken workers’ voice and ability to negotiate or grieve any aspect of their pay, benefits, working conditions or pensions. New Jersey Republican Governor, Chris Christie, has been calling for minimum wage salary for teachers while Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker wants to abolish all unions and strip middle class working America of any voice in workplace.


We must KNOW which party and candidates support teachers, education and unions and which DO NOT! There is a state-wide and national attack on both unions and teachers in America.

Scott Walker pic

“Many of Walker’s proposals are focused on unions for workers at all levels of government, while others would also affect private-sector unions. Labor law experts said such an effort, if successful, would substantially reduce the power of organized labor in America.”… read the whole news article by clicking on the link!


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Pay dates adjusted during July, August & September

All Portage Public School employees should have gotten notification via email and phone about the adjustments to the pay dates for July, August and September 2015. If you have questions contact our PPS payroll department.

Summer Paycheck schedule

Looking ahead, there will be some minor changes in pay dates this summer.  Due to a late Labor Day and to avoid a 27-pay schedule*, the following paychecks will be delayed due to calendar rotation.   For those of you with automatic payment withdrawals from your bank account, please plan ahead!

Monday, July 13

Tuesday, July 28

Wednesday, August 12

Thursday, August 27

Friday, September 11

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