Update on Minimum Teacher Salary
For years, the MEA has aggressively advocated for lifting the minimum teacher salary, with a starting salary of $40,000.
MEA was excited when the Governor included this initiative in her two-year state budget, but this proposal didn’t pass as MEA had advocated for. Instead, the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs amended the starting salary to $35,000 in 2020-21; $37,500 in 2021-2022; then, finally, $40,000 in 2022-2023. This change came after Republicans on the Committee insisted the salary be reduced, and in order for the budget to receive enough support to pass, Democrats agreed to a watered-down version of the salary increase.
This isn’t what MEA pushed for, and we are disappointed, but we will continue to keep advocating for more. Meanwhile, this increase will still help many teachers across the state. In addition, MEA staff will continue to work hard with locals at the bargaining table to increase salaries to the $40,000 mark.
There have been many legislative wins for educators this session-and the Association is still working to see some more become reality. MEA will keep working to address the issue of 55% funding for our schools and we will keep pushing for the pay that our dedicated educators deserve.
And of course, MEA will continue to provide strong support in local negotiations to move things in the right direction, so I ask you to stand strong, speak up and speak out!
Hopefully, the academic year is coming in for a smooth landing for students and for you all. I know there is work to be done over the summer months, but I hope that everyone gets time to enjoy the break from the usual pace.
Read below for some opportunities in the coming months, some resources to check out at your leisure, and some important reminders!
PRIDE Parades! Join
MEA members and their families in the PRIDE parades around the state! The
parade in Belfast is coming right up this Saturday, June 8th! FMI: Go to MEA’s
Facebook page Events Page to sign up and get the latest
I was asked to represent MEA on the Governor’s Opioid Prevention Work Group and I need information from you.
Last call for members interested in the NEA program, Leaders for Just Schools. Training will take place in San Diego in August (paid for by NEA)
Another opportunity from NEA—Educator Voice Academies.Read More
For local treasurers and presidents—new and experienced! Watch for invites to MEA Treasurer trainings/Local Presidents meetings. Meanwhile, please save these dates!
- July 15 – South Portland
- July 16 – Auburn
- August 5 – Bangor
- August 6 – Presque Isle
ECET2-Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers events:
Powered by Teach to Lead Maine Conference August 16th in Farmington
I attended the recent NEA/NCSEA Convening on Trauma along with Janet Kuech, Board Director for District L, and Carrie Foster, President-elect of Portland EA.
Listen to and share a great
“echo song” entitled “Respect”—A
big shout out and thanks to music teacher and composer MEA member Bryan
Bergeron-Killough and performed by his students.
Have you seen the resource kit on Racial Justice in Education from NEA Human and Civil Rights? Read it here.
Check out the various grants and other resources from the NEA Foundation. Deadlines for the next round of grants is October 15th.
There are upcoming professional development opportunities on Learning for the 21st Century through the Department of Education.
Sign up for one of the Department of Education’s “Think Tanks” to share your perspective on public education in Maine.
Online VESi courses offered at a discounted rate to members; there is a wide variety of offerings suitable for teachers and support professionals. NEA offers microcredentials on a number of topics.
For free resources from the Maryland State Education Association and First Book Marketplace visit here:
Looking for information on a program to help reach students who feel less connection in school? Visit here: “Know Me, Know My Name”.
The National Teachers Hall of Fame’s National Memorial to Fallen Educators received the official designation by Congress in April 2018 as a national memorial.
When our NEA Director Amanda Cooper and I visited our Senators’ offices while in D.C. in May, we were asked to let educators know that if they are eligible for loan forgiveness but have had difficulty with the process, be sure to write to our Senators to ask for their assistance in the matter.
If you are about to retire (or you know a colleague who is) remember to sign up as a member of MEA Retired—it’s the best way to stay connected with fellow retired educators who share your interests, and to keep up with what happens in Augusta and D.C. And if you plan to retire in the next year or two, sign up now for a Pre-Retirement Seminar! Check out all the benefits of joining or sign up for a seminar!
If you are interested (or know someone who might be) in being appointed to one of the eight MEA Committees for next year, contact MEA President, Grace Leavitt.
MEA Committee Meeting Dates for 2019-2020
- October 5 – all Committees except Strategic Budget
- January 4 – all Committees except Structure and Bylaws
- March 7 – ESP, GR, HCRCA, IPD, SWB
- March 20 (Evening) – Structure and Bylaws
- March 21 – Resolutions, Strategic Budget, Structure and Bylaws
- May 9 – ESP, GR, HCRCA, IPD, SWB
All meetings are at MEA Headquarters, 35 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330 on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Lunch is provided. Note: some committees may decide to hold one of their meetings as a virtual meeting.
When is the last time your local amended your association’s constitution and bylaws? Might some updates be needed?
The dates for the August membership meetings for local leaders in the different UniServ Districts are being set; look for those dates in upcoming communications and be sure to send someone from your local to plan your fall membership drives!
Be sure in the coming months to keep checking the NEA website “Strong Public Schools” to keep up with where the presidential candidates stand on issues that impact students, educators, and public education.
The delegates at the recent 2019 MEA Representative Assembly passed New Business Item 7, asking MEA to explore ways to possibly help locals organize around issues in their area. So be sure to keep us informed of what is going on in your community.
NOTE: The 2019-2020 MEA Governance Calendar was distributed at the MEA RA last month, but due to a change in the NEA calendar, there has been a change in the dates for our committee meetings in May, as well as for the pre-NEA RA meeting. Committee meetings and the pre-NEA RA meeting will be May 9th (not May 2nd). The corrected calendar will be posted on the MEA website.
The July President’s Message will be sent a week later than usual (July 10th instead of July 3rd) so that information and updates from the 2019 NEA Representative Assembly can be included. Be sure to watch for it to keep up to date. But meanwhile…
…here’s to a smooth end of the academic year and a great start to a beautiful Maine summer!
Thank you for all you do for students and for colleagues! Enjoy some well-deserved vacation time!