Friday, February 26, 2010

The HS Student Survey & Dr. Hamilton's Letter to Parents

Dear WLEA Members -

A letter regarding the 7 period day will be sent to parents of high school students this afternoon by Dr. Hamilton.

A survey was given to the high schools students to determine their preference for a 6 or 7 period day. Dr. Hamilton has included the results of those surveys in his letter. The survey has shown that a majority of students have shown a stronger preference for the 7 period day. As I announced earlier this week, the agreement with Dr. Hamilton was: "The WLEA and the district have agreed that if a majority of students prefer a seven period day, discussion will continue."

The Bargaining Team met with Dr. Hamilton and a process was agreed upon that would involve a group of Core and Elective teachers meeting as a committee to discuss issues regarding the seven period day. Dr. David Barry and Dr. Greg Diamond will facilitate the committee.

After a high school structure is agreed upon, according to the WLEA Bylaws, the plan will be presented to the WLEA Bargaining Team who will then determine whether the plan should be presented to their WLEA Board of Directors. At that time, the WLEA Board of Directors, per our Bylaws and Constitution, would vote on the plan themselves, or vote to send it to a vote of the entire WLEA General Membership.

Dr. Hamilton's letter to parents is included below my signature line.

Terese Fitzpatrick, President
Walled Lake Education Association
Ofc: 248-553-8198

Dr. Hamilton's Letter -
Dear Walled Lake High School Parents/Guardians:

As you know, students provided input on the high school schedule via a survey that was given this week. This correspondence will summarize the results and discuss the process for our ongoing discussion between the WLEA (teacher’s association) and the district.

First, the student survey results:

Walled Lake Central High School: 62 % 7-period day; 38% 6-period day
Walled Lake Northern High School: 60 % 7-period day; 40% 6-period day
Walled Lake Western High School: 76% 7-period day; 24% 6-period day (second survey)*
*The Western student survey was administered two times. The results from both surveys showed the students preferred the 7-period day.

As you can see, student feedback indicates a preference for the 7-period day. As I said in my letter last week: “If the majority of students prefer a seven-period day, discussion will continue.”

Administration and the WLEA have agreed that discussion regarding the structure of the SRT as well as the specifics of what will happen in SRT begin next week. A collaborative process of two teacher committees; one group of elective teachers, and a group of core teachers will begin meeting next week to share their ideas on these issues. Dr. David Barry, interim assistant superintendent, and Greg Diamond, Northern High School principal, will facilitate this committee.

After a high school structure is agreed upon, according to the WLEA Bylaws, the plan will be presented to the WLEA Bargaining Team who will then determine whether the plan should be presented to their WLEA Board of Directors. At that time, the WLEA Board of Directors, per their Bylaws and Constitution, would vote on the plan themselves, or vote to send it to a vote of the entire WLEA General Membership. Our goal is to work collaboratively with the WLEA in an attempt to complete this process by the end of March. Please remember this issue is subject to bargaining. Currently the teachers’ contract stipulates a six period day.

Thanks for your patience and assistance regarding this important matter.

William A. Hamilton, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Emails and phone numbers to use!!!

Governor Jennifer Granholm
517-373-3400 Phone 517-335-6863 Fax
to write Gov. Granholm, please go to the website

Speaker of the House Andy Dillon
Phone: 517-373-0857
Fax: 517-373-5976

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop
Phone: 517-373-2417
Fax: 517-373-2694

State Senator Nancy Cassis
Phone: 517-373-1758
Fax: 517-373-0938

State Senator Gilda Jacobs
Phone: 517-373-7888
Fax: 517-373- 2983

State Representative Vicki Barnett
Phone: 517-373-1793
Fax: 517-373-8501

State Representative Lisa Brown
Phone: 517-373-1799
Fax: 517-373-8361

State Representative Hugh Crawford
Phone: 517-373-0827
Fax: 517-373-5873

State Representative Eileen Kowall
Phone: 517-373-2616
Fax: 517-373-5843

Consitutional Amendment Proposed to CUT YOUR PAY

I read this is the Spinal Column-Online last night. You might want to contact your State Senator!

State Sen. John Pappageorge (R-Troy) has introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to implement a salary reduction and temporary wage freeze for all public employees. Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) U proposes a three-year reduction of 5 percent in the pay rate for all public servants in the state based on their pay rate on Jan. 1, 2010. The resolution proposes to begin the pay reduction on Oct. 1, 2010. This would affect the governor, lieutenant governor, all state senators and representatives, judges, civil servants, local government employees and public school and university teachers.

They are basically looking at erasing a $2 billion hole in the 2010-2011 budget by passing this resolution. In essence, they are implementing a TAX on public employees ONLY to fix the state’s fiscal mess. Not only that, because it is a constitutional amendment, it ALLOWS ALL STATE OF MICHIGAN RESIDENTS TO VOTE AND HAVE A SAY ON YOUR PAY & BENEFITS.

To be passed, this amendment must be passed by both chambers of the legislature and then it must be placed on the ballot for the electorate to vote on it as a constitutional amendment. Some are saying that it could appear on ballots as soon as this August, 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Message from our MEA Lobbyist Re: Retirement Proposal from Governor Granholm


I will send more information as it becomes available.

Tentative Budget Timelines - Received from the District on February 11th

-Feb. 22-24th - Budget information Power Point being created
-Feb. 24th - Budget Power Point being presented to Ad Council
-Feb. 26th - Budget Power Point to be posted on website
-March 4th - Full Presentation will be given at Board of Education Meeting
-March 3rd through March 27th - Presentations of budget situation made at PTSA meetings
-March 3rd through March 27th - Principals will present budget situation to their staffs
-April 29th - Board of Education will vote on layoffs

At this time I am being told that the district needs to cut $20.4 Million from the budget and that amount could climb to $22 Million. I will be receiving more information as the week progresses and will share it with our members.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Regarding HS Schedule & Dr. Hamilton's Letter to Parents

Dear Fellow WLEA Members,
Many of you are aware of the parent group called "Walled Lake Save the Electives". They have been communicating with Dr. Hamilton for the last 2 weeks, and I have received many letters from members of the group. They are concerned that their sons and daughters will not be able to take as many elective courses as in the past due to increased state core requirements and the 6 hour day schedule at the high school. While the Michigan Department of Education requirements are mandated and add to the complexity of scheduling, there are no plans for the total elimination of any Fine and Performing Art Programs.

The high school committee I first worked with this fall proposed a plan that was not approved by the Bargaining Team. The reasons for the bargaining team decision are on the high school schedule blog and I hope you can go there to read about it, if you have not already done so. Much of the history of the committee's work is there.

In the meantime, I have spoken to Dr. Hamilton every day this week (February 15 - 17) about working toward another acceptable solution to this problem. Yesterday afternoon he sent a letter to the parents stating that the union leadership and the district are discussing this issue, asking that they allow the time for discussion and the bargaining process to occur.

As I have more information, I will share this with the membership. I would also urge anyone who wants more information to refer to my blogs, write, or call.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to your profession, and for taking the time to stay informed regarding the issues facing our membership.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Communications with Parent Group - "Save the Electives"

Dear WLEA Members,

In an effort to keep you informed:

On Sunday I was in receipt of a letter from a parent in the Walled Lake School District who identified himself as the leader of a parent group called "Walled Lake Save the Electives". Their wishes are that the Bargaining Team of the WLEA reconsider and take a plan for instituting the 7 hour day at the high schools forward to our membership. I have received a large number of letters from other parents requesting the same action. Cyndi Austin and I met with Dr. Hamilton yesterday and then released this statement to the "Walled Lake Save the Electives" Group:

"The WLEA is the authorized bargaining agent for its members with the Walled Lake Board of Education. It could be construed as an unfair labor practice for the president to enter into discussions with anyone other than the WLEA Members or Walled Lake District representatives in regards to contract issues."

"The WLEA President and MEA UniServ Director met with Dr. Hamilton today and have agreed that the issue of the high school schedule (6 period or 7 period day) will be discussed in the context of bargaining in the coming weeks."

On Tuesday I received another letter from the leader of the group, as well as many other parents, that asked me to follow their timelines. In response I have sent this statement to the leader of the parent group:

"The WLEA has a Constitution and Bylaws that set forth rules that insure that all bargaining matters are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner. It includes times lines and requirements that must be followed for any agreed upon action or proposal to be taken forward. I ask that you respect the process that must be followed."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CALL THE GOVERNOR - 517-373-3400

WLEA Members –
WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION! Our district is being crippled by the revenue cuts at the State level and now we could be faced with a $2400 (3% at the top) pay cut in ALL future years under the Governor’s newest proposal (you can read more about it on the blog). The REVENUE CUTS for our district will result in $20 million dollars of cuts. Some will come from fund equity, but over $6 million will be in staffing cuts AT ALL LEVELS IN ALL AREAS!!!!!
In tonight’s State of the State address, it is being reported that it is unlikely that the Governor will talk about tax reform and new ways to fund schools. WE NEED HER TO TAKE ACTION IN THIS AREA!!!
Take a moment to pick up your cell or home phone and call the governor at (517) 373-3400. PLEASE USE YOU CELL PHONES OR HOME PHONES TO CALL. Leave her a message with your thoughts.
- Show real leadership in your final State of the State address and call for implementing a balanced solution that doesn't ignore the need for more revenue.
- Withdraw this most recent attack on half a million Michigan public employees and their families before the State of the State.
- It's wrong to put a special tax on public employees -- taking 3 percent out of their checks to run government is the definition of a tax.
- Reject the flawed concept that continuing to take from public employees will fix our broken tax structure.
Take time to place this important call -- now is the time for every MEA member to tell our leaders in Lansing that it's time for real solutions, not more games and gimmicks.