Wednesday, February 23, 2011


"As a science teacher with a degree in physics, I could go into the private sector and easily earn double what I do now, but I know how important it is to have good teachers in our Iowa classrooms. That's why I'm fighting to maintain our collective bargaining rights - so we can continue to recruit and retain great teachers and in turn ensure a great public education for every Iowa child," said Melissa Spencer, president of the Des Moines Education Association who spoke at the rally at the Capitol yesterday with over 800 people present in support of public employees. The ISEA participated in this event.
Across the country, public employees are under attack. NEA/ISEA is doing everything possible at all levels of the organization to counter these attacks. The ISEA understands you want to take action to make sure your voice is heard. To see what is happening at the national level go to Here is what you can do to help avert these attacks in Iowa:

Allowable growth The first attack is on allowable growth. February 26 is the legislative deadline for setting allowable growth for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Allowable growth is the cost of living adjustment schools receive each year. The House, along strict party lines, has set allowable growth at zero percent, choosing instead to give the money for corporate tax relief. Zero percent allowable growth will mean no new money for education spending for the next two years. The Senate, along strict party lines, has set allowable growth at 2 percent. Two percent allowable growth will help avoid staff layoffs, keep class sizes smaller, and provide money for supplies and technology.

Write to your legislator today and explain what 2 percent allowable growth will mean for your school and students. Tell legislators to put our Kids 1st!

HSB 117 moving to committee this ThursdayThe second attack is on collective bargaining. House Study Bill 117 (HSB 117) changes the arbitration process to one that benefits management and eliminates the ability for locals to bargain layoffs (Reduction in Force - RIFs) and health insurance. Arbitration is the legal process to resolve disputes between the employer and employees. Further, the bill would require bargaining unit employees to pay at least 30 percent of health insurance while management could be covered at no cost. The bill is moving from the subcommittee to the full committee on Thursday. If it passes through the committee it will go to the House for a vote.

The Iowa Association of School Boards and the Urban Education Network have indicated they support HSB 117, while the ISEA is strongly opposed to this bill. Although we stand together on issues such as allowable growth and preschool, the education community should be united with one voice on these issues. Please encourage your Legislators to oppose HSB 117 and ask your local school board members to stand with us.

Contact your House member and urge him/her to oppose this legislation. Our bargaining process has been working for 30 years and the parties need to be able to resolve differences at the local level.