Up the Street
The week that was in Annapolis
Issue of the Week: Budget and Pensions (again)
The issues that dominated the legislature revolved around
the governor’s budget proposal, including his proposed changes to the pension
system. The governor’s staff and staff from the Department of Legislative
Services provided briefings throughout the week and more was learned about some
of the specifics in the proposal.
Among the new details:
- Department consolidation recommendations include
combining the Maryland Higher Education Commission with the Maryland Department
- $1.9 million cut from the MSDE budget for the
testing and grading of the HSA government exam.
- Pension benefits would be calculated based on
the final five years of service, instead of the final three years. This
change would be for both new hires (as reported last week) and for nonvested
- Proposed pension changes would generate $120
million in FY12. While the governor proposed reinvesting future reform
savings back in to the system to improve the system’s funded status, that full
reinvestment does not take place until FY14. All of the FY12 dollars
would be used in the General Fund to offset the state’s budget gap. In
FY13, 1/3 of the savings would be realized in the General Fund.
News and Notes
- Educator Effectiveness Council (report from
Co-Chair and MSEA VP Betty Weller)
On Monday, the Educator
Effectiveness Council met at the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.
Charlotte Danielson, whose framework is cited specifically and frequently in
the RTTT application, made a strong presentation to the Council. She
discussed her framework and student growth, cautioning against using student
test scores to evaluate teachers.
Draft minutes of the Monday
meeting are attached here.
- State Board of Education Meeting
MSEA President Clara Floyd
presented to the State Board of Education on charter schools. Her
prepared testimony is linked here.
MSEA Taking the Lead
Taking the lead this week is
the Calvert Education Association. CEA used their Monday Lobby Night to
challenge Senate President Mike Miller on the issue of pensions. The
passionate, loud, and clear voices of 70 CEA members was important on Monday
night and will continue to be important for President Miller and 187 other
legislators to hear throughout the session.
The week ahead
- The Center for State and Local Government
Excellence and the National Conference of State Legislatures will hold a
Pension Briefing for legislators on Monday, January 31 at 2pm at the Maryland
Inn in Annapolis.
- MSEA PAC Steering Committee will meet at MSEA
headquarters on Friday, February 4 at 2pm.
- Friday, February 4 is the Senate Bill
Introduction Date. Any bills introduced after this date will be referred
to the Senate Rules Committee before it would be provided a hearing in the
committee of jurisdiction.
Keep the Promise Campaign
- Keep the Promise lobby efforts included dropping
materials for all 188 legislators and Governor O’Malley to review on
pensions. We included a letter
from President Floyd, copy of the ActionLine Pension
Insert, and a point-counter-point analysis of various pension proposals and
why they are wrong
- MSEA released our Keep the Promise Video
that you can share with building reps to use during 10-minute meetings, link on
your local association website, and otherwise share with members to spread the
word about our campaign and how they can get involved.
- Thousands of Promise Apples have been delivered
to locals and they are pouring back into Annapolis. Keep signing and sending
them, and we can keep up the pressure!
What can you do?
- We must continue to push members to contact their
legislators. Share the Capwiz link
and keep the pressure on.
- Save the date, create the buzz, and start organizing
members, parents, and local partners to Rally in Annapolis on Monday, March
- With sign-ups in the triple digits already, our texting
campaign is gaining momentum. Encourage your members to text PROMISE
to 77007 to get issue updates and calls to action to help with our advocacy
efforts during the legislative session.