State Testing During CDL? Oregon is Seeking a Waiver and Wants Your Input

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) plans to apply for a stateside waiver from giving the Smarter Balanced Assessment for the 2020-21 school year.  We look forward to working with the Biden administration to change many of these ludicrous decisions.  

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) has been strongly advocating on our behalf. In a letter to ODE, OEA President John Larson wrote: 

“We can do better by Oregon students and use this opportunity to truly take steps to end the systemic inequity that has long been present in education. The pandemic, the racial and social unrest in the country, and the economic upheaval hitting vulnerable families has shone a bright spotlight on those inequities. Now is the time to take action at the root of these inequities. It is not the time to continue to simply measure the outcomes of those inequities, as statewide summative tests have done for the past 20 years.” You can read the full letter here.

As it prepares to submit the application for this waiver, ODE has requested input from the education community. You can submit letters of support to ODE before December 15th. You can use both the OEA Letter of Support and the attached talking points as tools to help you in drafting these letters. Submit your feedback to [email protected].

Grants for Students in Need: Support the OEA Foundation and Access Funds for Students

When Oregon students wake up and head to school, things look different this year. But one thing hasn’t changed: our students living in shelters, struggling with poverty, navigating the foster care system or parental illness come to school with a few less resources than other students. That’s where the OEA Foundation can step in. A new winter jacket, waterproof boots, personal hygiene products – these are the types of basic and essential needs our students have that the Foundation covers. If you have a student who needs extra support to cover the basics, consult the complete OEA Foundation guidelines today and apply with the easy online application.  

If you are able, we invite every OEA member to give through payroll deduction, even just $1 per month to the Foundation – 100% of every dollar donated goes to support Oregon public school students. 

Your End of Year Pay Stub Helps When You File Your Taxes

Please save your last paycheck of the year to track your deductions. This year, you can deduct up to $300 in charitable donations from your taxes, even if you do not itemize your taxes. If you have not already donated $300 this year to non-profits, please consider doing so by December 31st! 

Your final pay stub of the year will show you the year-to-date deductions in your deductions column. It will show your charitable contributions if you donate to the OEA Foundation or other charitable organizations.

It will also show your annual total for any political contributions to the PAT-PAC or OEA-PAC. Political contributions in Oregon are eligible for a state tax credit of up to $50 per individual return or $100 per joint return. 

Unfortunately, under the Trump tax reform bill, you can no longer deduct your union dues unless you are a small business owner.

Donate to The PAT Sick-Leave Bank

Donate up to 40 hours of your sick-leave to help a colleague in need.

Last school year, PAT members helped dozens of colleagues in need thanks to contributions to the PAT Sick Leave Bank. These colleagues had exhausted their accumulated leave balances, and were unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they avoided the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage.

Thanks to your generosity, last year we met our goal of collecting the maximum number of voluntarily donated hours allowed under our contract. Recent improvements in our contract (CBA Article 17.2.1.2.F) mean that we can now fulfill almost all applications for assistance prior to running out of Sick Leave Bank hours. This shows the District that PAT members act on their belief that an injury to one is an injury to all.

It’s a new school year, with new needs, and a new Bank to fill. We can accept up to 4,000 hours and have a long way to go to reach that goal. 

This year, it is easier than ever to donate hours: you can donate hours by filling out this online form! You will need to log in with your PPS email account and include your PPS employee ID number on the form.

For more information, and to apply to the sick-leave bank, go to our website: http://www.pdxteachers.org/pat_forms 

Thank you for being part of this crucial program that allows us to support our colleagues through our union.

NEA Student Debt Virtual Clinic

NEA is hosting a virtual student debt support drop-in clinic on Saturday, December 12, from 9am - 1pm PST. The clinic will feature experts from NEA, NEAMB, and the Savi team, who will moderate an open Zoom meeting for educators to answer their student debt questions, share recent updates on the student loan payment suspension, and discuss the current state of the student debt crisis.

Participants can feel free to join at any point during the clinic: you are welcome to drop by any time and to stay only as long as you want! 

Educators can RSVP here and you will be sent a Zoom link that will allow you to join the student debt clinic anytime during the window.

California Casualty Quote Fest

On December 17th, from 4:30 - 6:00pm, please join a session with California Casualty, which offers PAT members quotes on auto, home, and renters insurance. Members will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card for each auto insurance quote. Please RSVP here.

California Casualty has great rates and has been supporting OEA and PAT members with discounts on insurance policy since 1974.