by Jessica Dunn, Executive Director
A member recently asked what GEA and UEA do during the legislative session to advocate for public education and if anything is still being done to address needs caused by the ongoing pandemic. I realized that my response was full of information that others might like to know as well.
The Utah Education Association (UEA) is the statewide entity and has the responsibility to lobby and advocate at the state level. This includes USBE and the legislature. During the legislative session, UEA’s lobby team is at the Capitol every day. They take their guidance from the priorities identified by members in the legislative survey that is sent to all members ahead of the session as well at the UEA’s governing bodies (their Board of Directors which has a representative from GEA and House of Delegates which has member representatives from every district in the state, including ours). To learn more about UEA activities during the legislative session:
GEA is still actively advocating for safe schools as well as continuing with our focus to protect and improve working conditions for employees. Some of our recent advocacy outcomes include district provided COVID leave, three extra planning days, last week’s distance learning week, increasing the availability of masks to school-based employees, and district provided mental health resources. We communicate some of our outcomes in multiple ways – to our ARs at our monthly meetings, on our GEA Facebook page (@GEAUtah), on our website (www.gea-ut.org), to all members in periodic emails, and individually to members when the advocacy is specifically for them.
Other areas that we have recently worked on or are currently working on include SEP formats, PBL Gradebook update to allow for a Transfer Code, broader allowances for employees to work from home on distance learning days, district policy language not part of the Professional Agreement, updates to the Corrective Discipline handbook, analysis of and response to SPED employees’ circumstances, and so much more.
Our work is driven by our GEA membership. Sometimes that information is provided to us by individual member needs when they call or email us. Sometimes we see a pattern of concerns at a school, and we do a whole member meeting to get a better picture of what is needed. Thus far this year, we have done 7 of those meetings and then followed up with the principals, SLIDs, John Welburn, and Dr. Nye. We have committees comprised of members from all over the district that provide us current needs or concerns and problem solve how to address them. More information about those committees can be found on the GEA website under Standing Committees. We also address general concerns on a broad level. For instance, we recognized that educator morale was really suffering so we took that head on with district administration and the school board. This goes back to the list of recent advocacy outcomes but is also an ongoing commitment.
I haven’t even mentioned all the district meetings we attend so that we are part of the administrative decision-making processes, the individual advocacy that we do, or the work we do with the GSD School Board. And we can’t forget that negotiations are coming up in the spring. We stay busy for you!
GEA works relationally which is why we have good success in resolving concerns and reaching positive outcomes for our members. Part of that success is due to the depth of our leadership, including those of us that work in the GEA office, our Board of Directors, our ARs, and those members that actively contribute to the work of the association. I invite you to be more involved! That can be as simple as assisting the Association Representative (AR) at your school with some of their responsibilities, following the GEA Facebook page and sharing the posts, inviting your colleagues to become members, or attending EDOH. You can also be more involved by serving as a full time Assistant AR and attend our monthly meetings or fill a spot on one of the GEA committees. In the spring you will receive information about how to serve on one of those committees for the 22-23 school year. There are lots of ways you can be involved so if none of these are interesting to you, contact our office so that we can dialogue about what you would like to do and how that can be accomplished.
Thank you for being a member! Our strong membership makes a difference in our ability to represent you!
Granite School District’s Board of Education values public education and educator input to create the policies, programs, and management of Granite School District. GEA PAC plays a vital role in interviewing and endorsing education friendly candidates for the GSD Board of Education. Having GEA’s president present at all Board meetings allows for instant feedback on behalf of teachers.
GEA has the duty to represent teacher voice. Attending monthly GSD Board of Education meetings is one way that GEA consistently works with the District to create a better working environment for educators and a high-quality school experience for our students.
How to Participate in Public Comment:
GEA is here to support and help you in participating in public comment. Please email or give us a call if you would like more information.
We would like to share an opportunity for you with Granite Education Support Professionals Association (GESPA).
GEA President, Michele Jones, presented at the November Granite School Board meeting to bring awareness of burnout.
Elections Announcement 2022
Are you interested in running for office?
The Granite Education Association announces elections and encourages all interested members to run for office. As a member of GEA, you have an opportunity to be actively involved and be a voice for teachers and our Association.
You may run for only one (1) Board position. Board members and officers elected by the general membership qualify as voting delegates at the Representative Assembly (RA)* and as a delegate to the UEA House of Delegates.
If you are interested in being involved, but not on the Board of Directors, you can run for the Representative Assembly Delegate position. Members elected by the general membership to attend the RA qualify as voting delegates to the RA, the governing body of NEA. Elected delegates travel to the RA during the summer to make policy for the NEA.*
We will email your statement and picture to building reps with the elections materials. Please plan to attend the AR meeting on Weds., November 10th and be prepared to make a short campaign speech.
* GEA Board members’ travel to the RA is funded in the middle year of their term of office. Among
members elected as delegates to the NEA RA, the top two vote-getters will have their travel funded.
If you would like to run, please download the form below:
Granite School District has self-funded health insurance, which means that GSD takes on the cost of benefit claims. Because our insured members have become wise consumers the District is able to keep the cost of the insurance low by comparison with neighboring school districts. There are some things about this benefit that catch people by surprise, and GEA wants to make you aware of a couple of exclusions within your GSD health insurance. These exclusions and more are listed towards the front of your insurance booklet. It’s a good idea to become familiar with these to understand your benefits
First, dependent maternity care is not covered, no matter the age of the dependent. Federal law stipulates those maternity expenses be covered for employees and spouses which is the law your insurance follows. When the Affordable Care Act, or ACA was passed, children were allowed to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. Which means some children are pregnant during their time on their parents’ plans, but their maternity costs are not covered by your GSD health insurance. This exclusion has often caught people unaware, and if it had been known, they would have opted for alternate insurance.
The second most common exclusion that is not well known is bariatric weight loss surgery. Not only is this surgery not covered, but any complications also resulting from weight loss surgery will not be covered as well. Along the same vein, medications and programs for weight loss are also not covered.
One huge plus of Granite’s insurance plans is there is no waiting period for preexisting conditions. Another perk is the Granite Wellness Center. Anyone on District insurance has access to the benefits of this facility at no out of pocket cost to them. Below, please find a list of services, and if you haven’t had a chance to utilize this benefit you can learn more about it here.
This just in from Utah Retirement Systems!
Please direct any questions you may have to Utah Retirement Systems, their contact information is below.
New URS Service: Financial Wellness
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