TSTA Board Meeting, September 15, 2007

MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
TEXAS STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION
L. P. STURGEON ROOM–TSTA HEADQUARTERS
AUSTIN, TEXAS
September 15, 2007
(Approved as amended December 1, 2007)

I. Call to Order

The regular meeting of the TSTA Board of Directors convened at 9:34 a.m. on Saturday, September 15, 2007, in the L. P. Sturgeon Room at TSTA Headquarters.


II. Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence

The board recited the national and state pledges of allegiance and observed a moment of silence. President Haschke asked those present to keep absent board member Linda Estrada in their thoughts.


III. Roll Call

Present:

Donna New Haschke, President;
Ann Heuberger, Vice President;
George Borrego, Region 1A;
Barbara Franklin, Region 1B;
Hilario Cavazos, Region 1C;
Beth Shellenberg, Region 1D;
John Hand, Region 1E;
Glenda hawthorne, Region 2A (10:45 am);
Teri Sanchez, Region 2B;
John Duncan, Region 2C;
*David DeLuca, Region 2D;
Louis Malfaro, Region 2E;
Maxine Guidry, Region 3A;
Frances Smith, Region 3B;
Gordon Gauthier, Region 3C;
Davey Vela, Region 3D;
Dayne Antwine, Region 3E;
Barbara Davis-Staley, Region 4A;
Lee Ann Bryant, Region 4B;
Rubidel Peoples, Region 4C (9:45 am);
Charles Turner, Region 4D;
Eula Axe, Region 4E;
Rita Haecker, NEA Director for Texas
Rhonda Schell, NEA Director for Texas;
Ginny Evans, NEA Director for Texas;
Yolanda C. Molina, NEA ESP At-Large;
Jack Davis, Supervisory At-Large;
Karen Barnes, Educ. Support At-Large;
Raymond Flood, Educ. Support At-Large;
Leonor Terrazas, Educ. Support At-Large;
Claudette Thomas, Educ. Support At-Large;
Janet Schmelzer,TFA President;
Letha Grace McCoy, TSTA-Retired Pres.;
Leigh Ann Meeks, TSTA-Student Program
* David DeLuca was absent from the morning session due to a school event, but arrived in time to fully participate in the afternoon session. 

 

Absent Members:  James Harris, Region 2F; Shirley M. Howard, NEA ESP At-Large; and Linda Estrada, Educational Support At-Large each notified TSTA of their absence prior to the meeting.


IV. Establishment of Quorum

A quorum was established and announced. President Haschke welcomed Barbara Franklin to the board, replacing Michelle Hickman who accepted an administrative position and resigned from the board.


V. Adoption of Agenda

Motion (Jack Davis/Charles Turner) to adopt the agenda, giving the president prerogative to move items as necessary.  Approved.


VI. Introduction of Guests

The following guests were acknowledged by President Haschke:  Winifred Jackson (candidate), Nancy Morgan (observer for Region 2F), Wanda Nealy-Ward (candidate), and Wayne Ward.  President Haschke also introduced the following TSTA staff: Charles Axe, Richard Kouri, Roger Montgomery, and Brenda Pike.


VII. Approval of Minutes—July 26, 2007

Motion (Jack Davis/Claudette Thomas) to approve the minutes of its July 26, 2007, meeting in Fredericksburg, Texas. Approved (without change).


VIII. Action Items

A. Election of a Board of Directors Member to Attend NEA Western Regional Leadership Conference 

Lee Terrazas (Educational Support At-Large), Rubidel Peoples (Region 4C), and George Borrego (Region 1A) were nominated to attend the NEA Western Regional Leadership Conference. Hilario Cavazos and John Hand both declined nomination.  The board elected Rubidel Peoples to attend the conference. 

B. Recognized TSTA Caucuses 

Motion (George Borrego/Gordon Gauthier) to recognize the TSTA Black Caucus, the Republican Educator Caucus, and the TSTA Democratic Caucus. Approved

C. Statewide Election Timelines 

Motion (Glenda Hawthorne/Gordon Gauthier) to approve the statewide election timelines for: (1) TSTA President and Vice President, (2) TSTA Board of Directors At-Large, (3) NEA Director, Place 3 and Alternate NEA Directors, and (4) NEA State Delegates.  Approved

E. Board Policy FP-11, Board Expenses   (This item was taken out of order.)   

Motion (Budget Committee) to approve the Budget Committee’s substitute proposal revising TSTA policy FP-11 and FP-12.  

Discussion: Vice President Heuberger, as chair of the Budget Committee, explained the impact of the substitute motion and pointed out that it not only addresses the substance of the original motion—to increase the mileage reimbursement—but also creates one consistent policy for both board and committee expenses.  The revision amends current FP-11 and eliminates current FP-12.  It was clarified that the mileage reimbursement is more under the substitute motion than under the original motion. 

Approved

D. Adoption of Proposed 2007-2008 Budget 

Motion (Budget Committee) to approve the 2007-2008 TSTA budget. 

Discussion: Vice President Heuberger recognized the Budget Committee members and reviewed and explained the proposed budget. Roger Montgomery explained the organizing fund and how it is tracked and reported.  Executive Director Walker explained staff positions related to the budget, including funded and unfunded positions. He also reported on the status of sale or renovation for the TSTA building.  In response to various board members’ questions, Walker noted:

  • expected costs for building upkeep will run hundreds of thousands of dollars for the elevator and roof alone;
  • at least one other state (Neb.) in a similar situation decided to build a new building away from the state Capitol but the House of Delegates rejected that plan and charged a member assessment for renovation;
  • the current construction cost for downtown Austin is approximately $350/ SF
  • the past Board of Directors made clear that a downtown location was important in order to maintain lobbying advantage and advantage over competitors, but the current board might have a different view;
  • he hopes to have a better report on deferred maintenance items by the December meeting (including rough estimates) to begin discussion, but a formal proposal on this issue will take longer to prepare; and
  • there was not a partnership breakdown with the Turpin group; they simply could not figure out workable solutions for the building and their profit margin

Approved

F. Approve Committee Appointments           

Motion (George Borrego/Ann Heuberger) to approve appointment of Ana Sakr, Region 1C, to CIA and Tony Marino, Region 4B to LPAC.  Approved

G. Utah Education Association Request – Voucher Initiative Referendum Campaign 

Motion (George Borrego/Gordon Gauthier) to donate $5,000 from our PAC for Utah contingent on legality and approval of LPAC. 

Discussion: President Haschke and Vice President Heuberger gave some background on the well-funded voucher initiative that the Utah Education Association is fighting.  In response to various members’ questions, Richard Kouri noted: 

  • TSTA’s PAC balance as of September 7, 2007, was approximately $305,000, with anticipated expenditures of $250,000 in the primary election and a similar amount in the November election;
  • Over the years, NEA has contributed $900,000 to Texas initiatives; and
  • TSTA currently has approximately 919 continuing contributors, and approximately 76% of PAC funds come from those 919 contributors. 

Approved

H. Elect Board Member to Tejeda Award Committee (Item added at the meeting.) 

Yolanda Molina (NEA ESP-At-Large), Hilario Cavazos (Region 1C), and Charles Turner (Region 4D) were nominated to serve on the Frank J. Tejeda Award Committee, replacing Michelle Hickman who has resigned from the board. The board elected Yolanda Molina to serve on the committee. 


IX. Reports (This item was taken out of order.)

A. Report of Deputy Executive Director 

Roger Montgomery reviewed the financial report, noting that we will close out the year and have a final report and audit available at the next board meeting. In response to questions, Montgomery noted that we are on target to meet projections for both membership and budget for 2007-08.  However, we are a little behind last year because of the schools’ late start. 

[THE BOARD RECESSED AT NOON FOR LUNCH AND RECONVENED AT 1:15 PM]


X. Discussion Items

A. Organizing Projects/Partnership Agreements 

Executive Director Walker explained the history of the organizing fund and partnership agreements, how the three-year duration was established, and the difference between partnership locals and local option. He noted that some projects are beginning their third year and the board will need to decide how it wants to proceed going forward, which will be a topic of future board discussions.  In response to various board members’ questions, Walker noted: 

  • Brownsville and Lubbock are the only remaining organizing projects with reduced dues;
  • all reduced dues require a vote of this board and the NEA board;
  • even with the steep dues estimation that comes with organizing dues, Brownsville is slightly above the state average on retention (the statewide retention rate is approximately 85%);
  • whether or not to offer reduced dues requires a case-by-case assessment … what works in one area won’t work in another and absent other factors, such as strong leaders and staff, it won’t have any impact;

IX. Reports (cont’d.)

B. Report of Director of Affiliate and Leadership Development 

Brenda Pike updated the board on building visits and noted that they have fewer weeks for visits this year due to the schools’ late start. Various directors recommended using Retired members, scheduling visits through the superintendent, and inviting TSTA leaders. It was also suggested that a package be developed for local presidents to sell building visits, and that ads should be placed in their magazines. 

Pike noted that this year’s Leadership Academy and the Ambassador Academy will run simultaneously—Wednesday through Sunday. The early registration fee will likely be $100 with graduated increases for later registration periods. 

Pike showcased new products: notebook inserts are 40 cents, bumper stickers are 50 cents, and folders are $1.00. She also explained the new member benefit for discounted electric service in certain areas. Members should have started receiving the new membership cards, but Pike intends to follow up with the vendor because most board members had not yet received them. 

Pike said use of the form is the proper method for giving feedback to her office regarding NEOs.  

C. Report of Director of Public Affairs 

Richard Kouri discussed the TSTA Hispanic parent survey taken of 400 families in the El Paso, Laredo, and McAllen-Brownsville media markets and the Spanish language media campaign (radio ads, posters and publications) encouraging more parental involvement. He noted that TSTA received a $160,000 grant for the radio ads, which are currently running on Spanish-language stations. 

Kouri also encouraged directors to help increase continuing contributors for the PAC, offering a bonus bag for anyone who signs up two continuing contributors or two upgrades. He noted that the TRS fund manager incentive compensation plan vote was passed—the bonus kicks in if the manager exceeds certain benchmarks—and detailed information is on the TSTA website. 

[THE BOARD RECESSED FOR A 10 MINUTE BREAK AND RECONVENED AT 3:40 PM] 

D. NMS/Organizing/Partnership Locals Update

E. Staff Update 

Executive Director Walker provided written reports and gave a brief update on the financial status of organizing fund projects and partnership locals and on staffing changes. 

F. Local Affiliate Status Report – No changes to report

G. NEA RA Report 

President Haschke gave a brief synopsis of the NEA RA activities in Philadelphia.  

H. Advisory Committee Report – Written Report Submitted. 

I. Regional Reports 

Directors and Regional Presidents updated the board on activities in their local areas. Raymond Flood (Educ. Support At-Large) was particularly pleased that the Dallas County ISD superintendent was supporting the NEA Dallas Winter ball. A large percentage of the bus drivers in various areas of the state who assisted with hurricane relief were TSTA Educational Support members. Laredo requested the presence of President Haschke during their building visits. 

J. TSTA – Student Program Report 

Leigh Ann Meeks (TSTA-SP President) reported on student program activities. 

K. TSTA – Retired Report 

Letha Grace McCoy (TSTA-R) submitted a written report and gave a brief update on the TSTA-Retired activities.   

L. NEA Directors Report 

The NEA Texas Directors (Rita Haecker, Rhonda Schell, Ginny Evans, and Yolanda King) provided both written and oral reports about their recent NEA activities.  NEA Board of Directors held a conference call to discuss the Utah voucher initiative, and NEA is providing financial support to assist the Utah Education Association’s efforts. 

M. Higher Education Report (Item added at the meeting.) 

Janet Schmelzer (TFA President) reported that they currently have an organizing position open for a bilingual candidate.  TFA is also planning to overhaul their bylaws. 

N. President’s Report 

President Haschke presented her appointments for the Friend of Education Award Committee and the Frank J. Tejeda Award for Public Service Committee. She noted the name correction for Mary Johnson Richeson (correction to Exhibit 7). 

O. Vice President’s Report 

Vice President Heuberger reported on her recent activities. 

P. Executive Director’s Report 

Executive Director Walker reminded the board about the Strong Affiliates conference and how TSTA handled funding for Texas affiliates. Written information about the dates and hotel rates for this year’s state HoD in Plano and the NEA RA in Washington, D.C., were provided to the board.


XI. Information Items – No Discussion


XII. Executive Session

The TSTA Board was called into Executive Session by President Haschke from 5:00 pm to 5:06 pm. It was reported that the board discussed staff bargaining.


XIII. Informal Session/Communications/Announcements (This item was taken out of order.)

John Hand (Region 1E) submitted the following issues for Informal Session.           

  1. Can TSTA use its legal and/or lobbying staff to look into the issue of the rules governing LD students, TAKS exams-exit level, and the consequences of Special Education students not passing TAKS?
  2. What happened with Congressman Hinojosa regarding ESEA, specifically the merit pay issue? 

Hand noted that TEA has provided no clear guidance on requirements for Special Education students to graduate and that changing the current practice can impact a school’s report card. He specifically asks TSTA to pressure TEA for clarification regarding special education testing. 

There was brief discussion questioning whether this is a state or federal issue.  Richard Kouri clarified that the No Child Left Behind federal legislation limits the number of students that can be exempted from testing (SDAA).  Under state implementation, that results in 3% that can be exempted under SDAA. 

In further discussion it was reported that in addition to TAKS-I, TAKS-M will be field tested next month and TAKS-Alt will be used for the significantly disabled.  All three tests are based on grade-level TEKS. TEA rules are not expected to deviate much from the federal guidelines.  No Child Left Behind set a timeline for each student to be performing at grade level.  Accommodations for TAKS release will be available in November. 

Informal session ended at 5:25 pm.


XIV. Comments by Candidates Who Filed for TSTA President and Vice President and for NEA Director, Place 3 and NEA Alternate Director

All candidates who filed for statewide election were invited to address the TSTA Board.  The following candidates attended, spoke, and were allowed three minutes for his/her address: 

Candidates for TSTA President
Rita Haecker
Ann Heuberger

 

Candidates for TSTA Vice President
Jason Hillman
Francis Smith
Wanda Nealy-Ward 

 

NEA Director, Place 3
Ginny Evans
Winifred Jackson 

 

Candidate for President, Bayardo Arrelano, and candidate for Vice President, Joel Rosenzweig, could not attend the meeting.


XV. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:55 pm.