Chapter news

Speech Chapter Newsbrief, Oct. 2011

Greetings to our new and returning chapter members!

I usually write this newsletter early in September, but it was delayed because of the urgent priority of my responding right away to the many calls and emails I received about the "SESIS mess."

We have filed a complaint with PERB, charging the Board with violating the Taylor Law by failing to ensure that you have the equipment you need to use SESIS and by increasing the number of hours you are required to work.

We have demanded that the Board negotiate with us regarding the SESIS program.

We have filed a union-initiated grievance alleging that the DOE has extended members' contractual workday by failing to provide adequate training, equipment, access to equipment and support for SESIS-related activities.

We have provided guidance on how to file individual grievances for members who have been specifically directed to perform SESIS-related activities before the scheduled workday, during lunch, after school or at home. You should also contact me immediately at if this occurs, or for any other SESIS-related problems.

The UFT is well aware of the unfair burden that is being placed on our members and is working hard to get us relief. Here's what you can do to help:

Alert your school administration to any difficulties related to "encounter" attendance and SESIS IEPs, such as computers, time or technical issues. We are asking that employees who have to work beyond their normal work day be paid for their time, so please document the time you spend on SESIS beyond the normal workday.

It is abundantly clear that the rollout of SESIS caseload management and attendance recording modules for related service providers has aggravated the already onerous burden on our members.

For many years the UFT has recognized the need for an up-to-date system for managing special education data and has been advocating for a computer-based IEP. We also recognize the need to help with Medicaid fund collection.

We are also concerned about the issue of contracting out and waitlisted students, and are pursuing the matter of "outsourced" or "contracted out" speech therapy in the schools. If you have an outside contractor working in your school or unserved/underserved students, please contact the hotline as soon as possible. We want to ensure that all services are delivered by Department of Education (BOE) employees whenever possible.

We will continue to focus on these and other critical issues, as well as other matters that affect the quality of our professional lives, until they have been dealt with properly.

Our speech hotline, available Monday-Friday from 4 -6 p.m., is 212-598-7774. Sandy Robinson, Kathy Lewis and I will respond to your questions and concerns. This year Brenda Caquias, our Brooklyn executive board member, will be substituting for absent hotline representatives. We are very happy to have her assistance.

Teacher Union Day, which of course is not limited to classroom teachers, is an annual event at which present and past union representatives are honored for their service to their members. This year's special event will be on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. I am pleased that I will be honored for my contributions as the former Bronx borough representative and as the current UFT Speech Chapter leader for 20 years.

As nice as it is to receive congratulatory emails and phone calls, it would be better yet if you would personally attend and sit with our executive board and other members. We will be celebrating our entire chapter, not just me. It's a rare occasion when we can all celebrate and sit together. The $50 cost includes breakfast, lunch and a lot of fun. To reserve your space at our tables, please call the hotline or email Send in your check and registration slip without delay. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

Save these dates in your calendar:

  • General Membership Meeting: Monday, Nov. 14, 4-6 p.m.
  • New Teacher Meeting: Monday, Dec. 5, 4-6 p.m.
  • Citywide Tenure Workshops: TBA


Mindy Karten Bornemann
Speech Impovement Chapter Leader

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