I hope you are having a great start to the school year! It is an honor and privilege to serve as your newly elected chapter leader for Vision Education Services.
I am committed to seeing that the vision-related interests of our chapter are vigorously represented to the Department of Education and within our union, and I look forward to communicating with you on a regular basis.
I urge you to visit our Vision Education Services website, which has been updated with a new Resources page that may be helpful to you. Please check it out and let me know of any suggestions you have for items or information that we should post on our chapter’s web pages.
I also want to encourage you to attend our chapter meetings to stay abreast of issues that affect our schools and our union.
Remember that as your chapter leader, I am here for you. Feel free to contact me with any issues, concerns, questions or suggestions. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call our chapter hotline at 1-212-598-6841.
I wish you all a very productive school year. Thank you for all that you do.
Vision Education Services Chapter Leader
I would like to ensure that everyone is receiving important news and updates from our chapter and our union. If you know any members who did not receive this email, please forward it to them and encourage them to sign up on the UFT website so they will receive future alerts from me and our union leadership.
If you move or change your telephone number, it is important that you notify the Department of Education AND UFT of your new contact information. You can download a Personal Information Change Form.
If you have any concerns regarding your membership, please contact the UFT's membership department at 1-212-598-6855.
Join the union
At our first staff development meeting, I received two new membership cards that were filled out by new hires. If you have not yet registered, I would like to encourage you to join the union. As a union member, you will have access to valuable benefits such as money-saving group insurance plans and low-cost legal and financial service plans and you will have a voice in your professional life that non-members don’t have. You will also be able to vote in union elections and help choose the UFT’s leadership team in your school, in this chapter and citywide.
There is little financial advantage to remaining a non-member. Because the UFT represents you in contract negotiations and you are entitled to receive the same health benefits, salary and working conditions that the UFT negotiates for its members, state law requires that an agency fee equivalent to union dues be deducted from your paycheck.
We held our first consultation meeting of the year with Gregory Santamoor, the director of Educational Vision Services, on Oct.1.
At the consultation meeting, we discussed establishing a schedule for future consultation meetings, implementing new planning and sunshine committees, a review of the annual budget and other issues.
I was also able to call attention to a number of staff concerns including the allocation of time for SESIS attendance, the availability of supervisors and issues related to EVS programming equipment and ordering. I want to make sure that every member is heard and that we get what we need to do our jobs.
We must work together to get the things we need, and these meetings keep us connected with the DOE. I want to urge to you check our chapter website regularly in order to stay informed of important issues that are brought up in these meetings.
Consultation committee minutes are now posted on our chapter website.
Lump-sum payment calculations now on DOE payroll portal
All in-service members can see a statement of their lump-sum calculation on the DOE’s payroll portal and retired members can see the same breakdown on the DOE's retiree portal. The portal will break down the money that members received in their regular paychecks dating back as far as Nov. 1, 2009, the amount they should have received if those two 4 percent raises from 2009 and 2010 were reflected in their paychecks at the time, and the difference for each check. This is the first round of lump-sum payments, representing 12.5 percent of the money accrued to date. If you are an in-service member currently on payroll, you should have received your lump sum in your Oct. 15 paycheck. In-service H-Bank employees should have received their lump-sum payment on Oct. 23.
If you have any questions about your lump-sum payment, please contact a UFT salary rep at your UFT borough office. For issues that cannot be resolved in this way, you can file a Lump Sum Inquiry Form.
For more general information about lump-sum payments, please check out the special Contract 2014 section of the UFT website.
From our District 75 meeting, top issues
In October, District 75 chapter leaders met our union’s District 75 Representative Analia Gerard to discuss some of our most pressing issues. She was very interested and responsive to our concerns. We discussed the following issues:
- Attending parent-teacher conferences: Related service providers who are not assigned to a school should only attend two out of four parent-teacher conferences. If a teacher is fully assigned to a school, then the teacher must attend all four parent-teacher conferences and follow the school’s schedule for these conferences.
- Lump-sum payment calculations: All members who worked Chapter 683 should have received their lump-sum payment on Oct.15.
- Non-verbal students with GPS devices: After a few incidents involving students with special needs escaping from schools without direct supervision, parents have started using GPS devices to track students in the event that their child wanders off school premises. The concern with these devices is that they can also be used for remote audio monitoring and recording. There have been two previous cases where paras were brought up on charges because of the audio that was captured on such devices. In both cases, the paras were restored to their previous position but this continues to be a concern.
Our District 75 Representative Analia Gerard recommends that all staff maintain a professional demeanor and conduct themselves as if they were being filmed by a video camera at all times. I will continue to keep you posted on these issues and others that are pertinent to our chapter.
Feedback on chapter issues
Please provide me with your feedback regarding the following chapter issues:
Chapter meetings: If you are willing to attend chapter meetings at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway from 4-6 p.m., please email me at email@example.com. Light refreshments will be provided at these meetings and the location would give us an opportunity to discuss union-related issues without any interruptions.
SESIS time: We continue to have concerns regarding the time allocated to complete SESIS attendance. If you are currently experiencing any issues with the time allotted, please email me the exact time it takes you to complete SESIS attendance and I will bring these issues up in our consultation meetings with Gregory Santamoor, our EVS director.
New Google group: I am aware that there are many members who would like to discuss union-related issues and vision-related concerns for our students on an ongoing basis. To accommodate this need, I would like to start a Vision Education Services Google group. If you are interested in joining this group, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up for text messages
The UFT is now using text messages to members’ mobile phones to deliver information quickly, such as to alert you about weather emergencies and other urgent information; remind you about rallies and other union actions; and update you on vital news. UFT text messages are only occasional. Most messages will still be sent by email.
You can sign up to receive UFT text messages, by texting “UFT” to 30644 from your mobile phone, or you can sign up online.