TSTA Board Meeting, December 1, 2007

The TSTA Board met in Austin on Saturday, December 1. President Donna New Haschke called the meeting to order at 9:32 a.m. and adjourned at 4:59 p.m. that evening. The Board took the following actions:

Elected Jack Davis to a three-year term on the Board of Trustees for the TSTA Permanent Fund. 

Adopted several amendments to the TSTA-PAC Guidelines as proposed by the L-PAC Committee. Most of the changes were minor and editorial in nature, but two were more substantive: 1) Require that any member of L-PAC must be a continuing contributor to PAC before being appointed and 2) Provide that any contributor giving at the Stacey level is entitled to sit on the screening for every endorsement committee for any State Representative, State Senator, Congressional or State Board of Education for the district in which the contributor lives. 

Received the results of two email votes: Recognizing the Hispanic Caucus and the American Indian/Alaskan Native Caucus and approving a contribution of $1,000 to Utahns for Public Education to help fight the voucher ballot proposal in Utah (the proposal was defeated 62% to 38%). 

Approved funding to assist the TSTA ESP of the Year to attend the NEA ESP Conference.

Budget, Finance and Membership

The Board received and reviewed the 2006-07 Audit, which contained a lot of good news. TSTA achieved a surplus for the year of $409,185, about double the surplus of last year. The status of the TSTA Staff Pension Fund continues to have a negative impact on the balance sheet portion of the budget, but for the third straight year (since changes in accounting rules required us to start including this on our Association balance sheet), the plan showed improvement. When the rules first required us to include the status of the pension fund on our balance sheet, the negative amount (according to some very stringent rules) was more than $7,000,000. The next year, that amount went down to about $5.5 million and in 2005-06, it was reduced to just under $4 million. For the 2006-07 audit the “negative net assets” on the balance sheet caused by the pension was reduced to just under $2 million.

The financial report for the first two months of this fiscal year indicates that we are off to a good start. While we always anticipate running in the red the first few months until the dues money starts coming in, the deficit for the first two months of this year is almost $200,000 less than for the comparable two months last year. 

Deputy Executive Director Roger Montgomery also provided his usual annual report on the TSTA-R Live Membership Fund (RMF). The total in this fund is now $240,279.32. The investment returns from this fund are divided each year with 52% ($5,991.26) going to TSTA to offset amounts expended by TSTA in support of TSTA-R and 48% ($5,530.40) going to TSTA-R as direct support for their programs. 

We had another great fall with our recruiting efforts, enrolling 6,143 new members so far, about 300 fewer than the same period last year (caused, we believe, by the later school openings). This has contributed to a net increase in Active-Professional and Active-ESP members of 2,855 members (somewhat less than the 3,437 net gain at this point last year). This typically is the high point for membership in a year, as more locals get their rosters up-to-date and as members drop through the year, but we expect to enjoy another substantial net gain in membership. This will be the third straight year for membership growth, and the fourth year of growth in the last five; prior to the turnaround in 2003-04, TSTA had only three years with membership increases in the prior 26 years, going back to the days of unification.

Board Discussions

The Board discussed proposed policy changes in the Board Policy around minimum compliance rebates and incentives for membership growth. The changes are driven by the change in Bylaws approved at the April House of Delegates adding a requirement for locals to adopt a plan to the minimum standards for compliance, while also calling for an “incentive” plan for locals that do not achieve full compliance. A Governance Review Special Committee established by the Board has been reviewing this matter, along with other Governance issues, and the propose changes came from that Committee’s discussion.

The lengthiest discussion on the proposed policy centered on what group would rule on appeals by locals whose plan was deemed not sufficient.  The proposed policy provided for those appeals to be considered by the Advisory Committee and some Board members felt the appeals should be considered by the full Board.  Eventually, a vote was taken to determine that the language should not be changed when it is brought back to the Board for action at the next meeting.  Executive Director Walker did remind the Board that this draft was going to be circulated to the members of the Governance Review Committee for their comments and that he would share the comments/suggestions of the Committee with the Board before final action is taken. 

In addition to providing the funding for the ESP of the Year as noted above under action, the Board also discussed providing funding for one of the ESP at large members of the TSTA Board to attend the NEA ESP Conference. This matter was referred to the Budget Committee for their consideration. 

The Board also discussed changes in the Organizing Revolving Fund Policy (to make some of the money in the Fund available to locals in smaller grants with less paper work) and in the Partnership Local Policy (to create more flexibility over the timeline for moving from Developing Partnership status to Full Partnership status and to continue TSTA financial participation to some extend even for Full Partnerships). These changes will come to the Board for action in February. 

The final discussion topic concerned the possibility of providing wireless internet access and, perhaps, laptop computers for Board members in the Board room. Executive Director Walker indicated that we needed to undertake a thorough review of our technological capacity with the intent to look at a major upgrade, and that this request could be a part of that review, at least to determine potential costs.

Staff Update

Antonio Galindo has been hired as an Organizational Specialist to replace Deshaunta Kerns in the El Paso area and Bianca Prado-Espinoza has been hired to be the receptionist.

Eve Bell submitted here resignation from the Help Center position located in Dallas and that position is posted and being filled temporarily by Ifeoma Odita. 

One position that has been authorized but unfunded is a secretary position in OCALD.  We have decided to seek someone to fill that position as a half-time position, and that job is posted.

Other Items

The Board also received information about the June, 2008, Ambassador (June 18-22) and Leadership Academies (June 20-22). These will overlap for the first time, partly for some cost savings and partly to help in getting Ambassadors engaged with association activities more quickly. Brenda Pike, OCALD Director, also solicited feedback from Board members around the membership materials used in this year’s membership drive. The feedback was positive, with some suggestions for possible improvements for next year. 

President Donna provided a brief update on the Governance Review Special Committee and asked Region 4C Vice-President Wayne Ward to share with the Board some information about the Legal Services Special Committee and what they have created. 

Executive Director Walker informed the Board that after he reported to them in September that the development group that had been considering working with us to make major improvements to the building had decided they had not been able to find any workable and affordable designs, another development group asked to meet with us to explore options. This group indicated that they believed the best solution would be to tear down the building completely and start over. The current building is old, inefficient and difficult to renovate. This was confirmed by a recent appraisal completed by TSTA. We will continue to explore possible options with the developer and, if something workable and affordable can be designed, it will be shared with the Board for consideration. 

Vice-President Ann Heuberger presented a student report (neither the Student President Leigh Ann Meeks or her Vice President were able to attend) and also shared her experience appearing on behalf of TSTA before the Dallas ISD Board to oppose their performance pay plan. 

The NEA Directors presented reports on their activities, and TSTA-R President Letha Grace McCoy shared information about upcoming activities of that group. 

The Board adjourned at 4:59 p.m. after hearing speeches from the candidates for various offices to be elected in April at the House of Delegates.