The Lodi Education Association invites CTA membes to learn about student loan forgiveness and how to get your financial life in order. If you have Stafford or Perkins loans and teach in a “high needs school” or “teacher shortage area" you may be eligible for a portion of student loan forgiveness.
PLEASE NOTE, if you have CONSOLIDATED your student loans you may not be eligible for forgiveness (we’ll discuss this in greater detail) January 28, 4:30-6 at the Mc Nair High School Theater. 9500 McNair Lane, Stockton CA 95210. (Park in student parking lot and enter through lunch area)
By filling this form out you are reserving a seat this is important for us to have accurate count for materials and food. Click here to register.
First the good stuff...Today is a flex day for high school. Contact your admin if you flex. Tomorrow is a flex day for all, but you don’t have to tell a soul. Confused? Good, because I was yesterday. Just get your 17 gifts (all coffee mugs by the way) and yourself in your car 15 minutes after dismissal. When we return on Monday, January 6, that’s also TP Day for all. Notify your admin if you flex that day. 3 flex days in a row! We are rollin’!
I remember when I became involved in the union. I worked at McParland and my kids went to school with me. We lived about 3 blocks away. I was transferred (which is fine, whatever, it happens). My principal was out on sick leave due to cancer. The VP became acting principal, and a teacher became acting VP. The acting VP taught the same subjects I did. So it was either her or I. Guess who made the decision? The acting VP. Conflict of interest? Slightly. So I contacted the late Earl Pimental and he scheduled a meeting with Marc Tatum. I heard recently that Marv passed 2 months ago. Earl and Marv were great people. As I told Marv my story, his eyes got wider and wider. He said, “Ken I’m going to give you a chip. And when you WANT to transfer, you turn in that chip.” In two weeks, Marv called me and said, “Your old job opened up. Do you want it back?” The acting VP was made a VP at another school. What a coincidence.
I was lucky. My kids were lucky. But I called Earl to start the process. He was supportive and encouraging...and my case was pretty darn powerful. Only 11% of workers have a union to help them. Working together to guarantee rights at the workplace is what we do IF you take advantage of it. “Well, I don’t want to rock the boat and cause further problems for me.” I can’t help you unless you help you. Bullies won’t pick on the ones that bloody their nose.
Now...you’re saying...what does this have to do with me? Teachers are always complaining, and rightfully so, about their pay. Almost always, strangers on the street tell me I should be making a lot more. (Secret tip...I talk to everyone I meet.)
Now you can give yourself a 5% raise. Get signatures on those petitions over the holidays. If that petition passes, it’s 5% for every school district in the state. And let me brag about our bargaining team...they are the envy of every local in the county. “You got 85% of COLA for 3 years without any argument?” Yup. That’s how we roll in MEA. So...do yourself a favor and give yourself a raise. Otherwise, you can’t complain about your pay because you had a chance to fix it. It’s just like not voting.
It’s not about being greedy…it’s about trying to lure and retain the best and the brightest to Manteca Unified. And frankly…it’s working. We’ve convinced the school board and the administration this is the right approach. Even getting two signatures on a petition is worth it! Every little bit helps just like you tell the students!
I don’t think as often as I should about how thankful I am. I am thankful for a new reason as my wife and I made our last college tuition payment on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We have been paying for college for our six kids in one way or another for the past 21 years. We’re more thankful for the fact that they’re all healthy and doing really well.
At the beginning of the year as I was getting acquainted with my seniors and they with me, one asked, “How much do you make Mr. Johnson?” I usually don’t respond but this time, I said, “I just hit $100,000 on the nose. I always wanted to make $100,000 and now I did it.” The class in unison (I’m not exaggerating) were in awe that I made that much money. I said, “Gee, thanks a lot.” One said, “We just didn’t know teachers didn’t make that much money.” Let that sink in for a second…then I explained how much we pay for a 100% health care plan about $21,000 a year if you include the district contribution. $24,000 a year by the way is the national average. Then I pointed out that I pay 10% of my check into my pension. What’s a pension? I explained that, and then said only 13% of non-union, non-government workers have a pension. Then I explained the cost of college, about $20,000 a year, if you’re lucky. I encouraged them to commute to a CSU in the Bay Area or Stan State. Then I pointed out that my federal tax rate is 24%. And, that 2003 Toyota Tundra in the parking lot? Yup, that’s mine. “But honey, it has 173,000 miles on it, it’s paid off, and it runs great!”
All too often, I find myself complaining about the cost of living, health care, college, price of this and that, and then holidays roll around and it jars me back to reality and how thankful I should be…all the time.
It reminds me of my upbringing…my dad dying when I was three months old, leaving my mom with six kids to raise in cold, cold, cold Michigan. She moved to California to be near her sister and to get out of that snow! Can you imagine dressing six kids to go out in the snow just to get a carton of milk? I remember drinking powdered Carnation milk for meals and eating fast so I could get seconds. That wasn’t easy as the youngest. I still eat far too fast, and now you know why. My mom worked nights as a nurse so she could be there in the morning to see us off to school and be there to cook dinner when we returned. And she made it to all of my games.
I’m not trying to bore you with my personal life, but trying to make a point which I’ll finish tomorrow. I know you can’t wait. No, my wife doesn’t get my dry sense of humor either.
I can always count on you to help your students and in this small way, you can help our schools, local communities, and yourself.
To be considered by the CTA Scholarship Committee, applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 31, 2020. Online applications are available on the CTA website at: cta.org/scholarships
Usually there are only 3 staff serving 3 meals EVERY day to the needy at St. Mary’s Dining Hall in Stockton. What a great showing on Saturday by MEA and other public school teachers of San Joaquin County to help them out!