Thursday, November 15, 2012

AAA Survey

Are you an athletic coach or club advisor—or in an elementary school, perhaps a bus supervisor, safety patrol coordinator, or handle discipline in the principal’s absence?  If so, you receive money through the AAA contract

We are currently surveying AAA members as we prepare to negotiate a new contract with the district.  The survey invitation was sent from Kraig Peck to your NSD email address.  If you are a coach, advisor, etc. and did not receive an invite, please contact Lydia King at

The survey closes at noon on Monday, November 26th.  Bargaining will begin in December.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Represent NSEA at WEA-RA!

Nominations are now open for NSEA delegates to the WEA's annual Representative Assembly. Acting as a delegate is a great way to get involved, to learn more about how WEA operates, and to help shape WEA's direction.

This year's WEA-RA is close to home, in Bellevue, and runs from Thursday, April 25 through Saturday, April 27, 2013. Click here for a nomination form (due to NSEA by Friday, November 30). See below for more information.

NSEA Delegate to WEA-RA 

Overview: WEA-RA is the annual gathering of representatives from WEA affiliates around the state to decide on policy, positions, and the business of WEA. It's a great way to see the "big picture" of what happens within WEA. This year's RA will be held in Bellevue from April 25 through 27. NSEA will pay your expenses, including release time and meals. NSEA has budgeted to send 20 delegates to WEA-RA this year. No previous experience is needed.

Nomination procedure: Review the NSEA WEA-RA Nomination Packet. Send completed nomination form to NSEA by Friday, November 30th. Election will be held in January.

Questions? Contact Lydia King at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Your School's Building Inservice Funds: Professional Development Funding is Available!

Did you know that your school has professional development funds for you, referred to as "Building Inservice Funds?" These are funds that we have negotiated, and are in your Collective Bargaining Agreement. Through collective bargaining, in many ways such as this, we improve our schools and profession. This is REAL ed reform!

The formula for how much each school get is on page 110 of your Agreement. It is based on the number of FTE Certificated staff at your school.Funds are carried over from the previous year. Click here for a list of how much each school has, including carryover funds.

How are these funds to be used?
 Under our Collective Bargaining Agreement, the SDLT (your school's Shared Decision-Making Leadership Team) makes the decisions on the "Use of specific monies in this Collective Bargaining Agreement..." The SDLT also makes decisions on "Building Inservice/Professional Development," as well as activities on SIP and SITE Days, and the broad category of "Work that will support the mission of improving student achievement," which covers most important decisions. (pp. 22-23)

Some schools' SDLTs have created a Professional Development Committee or an Inservice Committee to allocate these funds. Your school should have a written decision making process, voted on by the staff by each Oct 1, that identifies how this decision is made at your school. (Article 17.3.1, on p. 24)

If you have questions, please contact your NSEA Building Rep, or email us.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Benefits Update

We have important updates to share about your Health/Benefits as a Northshore School District employee for the 2013 plan year. This information is from Chris Tracy, the NSEA representative to the Health/Benefits Committee.

The Northshore School District Health/Benefits open enrollment from the 2013 Plan Year will be from Thursday, November 1 through Friday, November 30, 2012.

Life Insurance 
The NSD will be moving to a new life insurance provider and the Health/Benefits Committee has negotiated with the new carrier guaranteed acceptance for Supplemental Life Insurance (2x or 3x salary) and for dependent life insurance during the open enrollment period. This is a one-time event when no health questionnaire is needed!

Dental, Vision, Hearing Insurance 
There will be no changes in program or premiums for NSD dental, vision and hearing benefits for the 2013 plan year. Willamette dental premiums will be slightly lower than in 2012.

Medical Programs
Recent state and federal regulations necessitated some changes to our medical programs and pricing. As a result, the NSD Health/Benefits Committee--made up of representatives from all NSD employee groups--met over the summer and during the fall to modify our 2013 Regence self-insured programs and premiums. The Health/Benefits Committee earmarked $1.65 million from medical reserves to buy down premiums.

NSD will again offer three traditional, self-insured, medical plans (NSD Regence Choice, Standard and Value) plus Group Health and offer a new self-insured Regence High Deductible Plan.
  • Beginning January 1, Regence Choice, Standard and Value plans will not cap the number of outpatient mental health and chemical dependency visits each plan year and outpatient visits are no longer subject to the annual medical plan deductible. Office co-pays still apply. 
  • To comply with state regulations, single subscribers selecting any medical plan with NSD Dental will have some out of pocket payroll deduction. It is estimated that single subscribers selecting Regence Standard or Value or Group Health with Willamette Dental will have no out of pocket payroll deduction. 
  • Regence Standard and Value subscribers that insure full-families will see a modest reduction in out of pocket payroll deductions. Other dependent coverage categories will mostly have slight decreases in out of pocket payroll deductions, depending on the type or number of dependents. 
  • While nearly all other school districts recently eliminated their most comprehensive medical program that is similar to our NSD Regence Choice (such as Premera 1), the Health/Benefits Committee was able to preserve Regence Choice as an option for NSD employees---but out of pocket payroll deductions will be going up about $20-$42 per month, with single subscribers seeing the largest out of pocket increase. 
  • Group Health subscribers covering dependents will see fairly large decreases in out of pocket payroll deductions, as much as about $130 per month for full-families; the decreases are due to lower claims experience. 
Beginning January 1, the NSD will offer a self-insured NSD Regence High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account. At the Benefits Fair, November 1, informational sessions will conducted at 3 pm, 4 pm and 5 pm to discuss the HDHP; employees are advised to attend an informational session before selecting this option as this medical program is so different from traditional medical programs. It will be priced in-between the Regence Value and Standard plans.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vote NO on I-1240

Charters are NOT the answer for Washington State, especially not using the language in I-1240. 

Learn more about I-1240's fairy tales by watching this video: While you're at it, pop some popcorn and take the time to watch this, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman:

Opinion: Stop Paying for the Seattle Times!

It’s Time For School Employees to Stop Paying for a Print Subscription to the Seattle Times 
Opinion by Chris Tracy, Kenmore JH Librarian

For a long time, I’ve looked for reasons to continue to subscribe to the print edition of the Seattle Times. You see, I grew up with the Seattle Times. As a kid growing up in South Seattle, my parents subscribed to the Times and I remember diligently checking the Seattle Rainier baseball box scores, and checked the box scores for major league teams, too, and I read all about unlimited hydroplanes and their races. As I grew older I read the news, the Business Section and combed through the classified ads. In college, I took a break from studying and working each Sunday morning to read the Times in bed. As an adult I subscribed to the Seattle P-I and King County Journal and bought the Times each day. When the P-I ceased publication I subscribed to the Times.

I’ve always respected the right of the Editorial Page to voice their views; sometimes I agreed with their viewpoints, but the past several years have tended more and more to disagree with their slants. The last couple of years they have attacked my teacher pension, my health benefits, they promoted Charter Schools, promoted a teacher evaluation plan that was more punitive than supportive of teachers and more. I’ve seen them support (or not support) candidates for reasons that seem more personal, than based upon facts. I’ve read news articles that are supposed to assess the validity of arguments politicians are making, only to see much is left out. I’ve watched the paper get smaller in size, scope and sections. But I’ve stuck with the Times as a subscriber, until this week.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the Seattle Times decided to give huge amounts of free advertising to one candidate for Governor and one initiative, using some wild double-talk to justify their actions. That’s it. I cancelled my subscription and encourage others in public education to consider the same action. Read the Times online for free, but don’t give the Seattle Times your money.

I’ll miss a hard-copy newspaper. I have already emailed the publisher of the Everett Herald and asked them to consider expanding their home delivery to North King County. I’d suggest those living in Southern King County contact the Tacoma News Tribune and request they expand coverage northward, as well.

As Always,
Christopher Tracy
Kenmore, WA
(Tracy is a longtime teacher and past recipient of the Washington Library Media Association’s Teacher-Librarian of the Year Award.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Did You Get Your Ballot?

You should be getting your ballot any day now.  Please be sure that you, your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers vote by Tuesday, November 6th.  This election is crucial for public education, educators and students, and the middle class.  For a full list of WEA-PAC recommended candidates and positions, click here.

Click HERE to learn how you can get involved with phoning and/or doorbelling. No regrets!