PESPA LEADERS TO ADDRESS SCHOOL BOARD ON NEED FOR NURSES
PESPA has joined with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), our two national affiliates, to bring the issue of school health services to the Pinellas School Board. PESPA Secretary, Kim Palfy, a nurse at Hamilton Disston School, will address the Board Tuesday, March 13, to encourage them to focus on the need to provide more nurses for our students. “The consensus is that we need one nurse for every 750 students and Pinellas has one for every 1,500,” said PESPA President Randy Dodds. “This means that ‘health services’ often fall to our secretaries, associates and clerks rather than to people professionally trained to deliver them.”
There is a growing recognition that healthy students are better students and that many of the problems in achievement are not mental but physical. PESPA will also caution the Board against outsourcing health services. “We want people whose loyalty is to our students and our system, not an outside contractor,” said Mr. Dodds. In many districts, expanded health services are often funded by the local community or the legislature. “Regardless of the funding source, we need to take care of our children now.”
REMEMBER TO VOTE FOR DIRECTORS, CONVENTION DELEGATES MARCH 14
All PESPA members are eligible to vote for directors and convention delegates this Wednesday. Four candidates have filed for three Director seats on the PESPA Board. They are Debra Connors, Pinellas Park Senior; Marjorie Emr, Walsingham; Judith Kavourgias, Madeira Beach Middle and Peggy Kerr, Madeira Beach Middle. Carolyn Smith will be running as an FEA (state) delegate to the convention, competing with PCTA members Garth Albury, North Shore; Kim Black, Pinellas Park High; Mia Sadler, Bayside and Freddrea Shelton, Bayside. To learn more about the candidates, see the current issue of the Pinellas Educator or go to pcta-pespa.org.
DIABETES WALK HUGE SUCCESS
Over 100 members of the School Board/PCTA-PESPA walk team joined with thousands of other walkers last Saturday to raise money to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. Nearly $10,000 was raised by the Pinellas team, clad in bright turquoise shirts donated by Tax Shelter America, who walked the 5 kilometer course. See the next issue of the Pinellas Educator for pictures. “A special thank you to all who came out on a windy, cold, morning to support this cause,” said project coordinator LaToya Thomas. “I know this will make a difference for kids.”
NEED TO TAKE THE CERTIFICATION EXAM (OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES)?
PCTA-PESPA will be offering its highly successful Teacher Certification Exam training on Saturday, March 17 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the office. This training assists teachers and potential teachers in passing both the General Knowledge and Professional subtests. The training is free for members, $25.00 for not-yet members and $12.50 for students, associates and substitutes. Call 585-6518 to register.
PENNY FOR PINELLAS VOTE TO HAVE IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL TAX REFERENDUM
The anti-tax mood in Tallahassee may spill over to both the Penny for Pinellas sales tax and the half-mil additional tax for salaries, the arts, reading and technology. “Clearly the frustration over the inequities in property taxes is beginning to have a ripple effect,” said PESPA Executive Director Jade Moore. “The complete abdication of fiscal responsibility by Governor Bush now appears to put many quality-of-life expenditures at risk. For example, there has been a complete shift from state tax support to local tax support for public schools. The County Commission has had a similar hit for courts, prisons and emergency preparedness. So, the former Governor could brag about cutting billions in taxes while he was shifting the burden to the property tax.”
“I encourage every support professional to consider the benefits of the Penny for Pinellas, endorsed by PCTA’s Faculty Representatives in its first two votes,” Moore said. “While it is not a ‘school tax,’ we benefit by everything from the road projects, to sidewalks, to the trails and so much more. Bayside High School was built with Pinellas Penny funds. The provision of funds for affordable housing in the new ‘Penny’ is a goal important to PESPA and its members. But, a negative vote will also cast a shadow over the school tax referendum renewal coming next year. Every employee has benefited because of the referendum and we have spent millions on art, music, reading and technology enhancements. Florida is not a high tax state but it has many unfair tax policies. We need to approach change with great caution.”
FEA SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL REGIONAL DRIVE IN CONFERENCE SET
PESPA members interested in enhancing their job and association skills should check out the annual Regional Drive-In Conference Saturday, April 28 in Lee County. There will be two training sessions of general interest to support professionals. The conference will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Estero (Ft. Myers) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PESPA will be providing transportation and FEA will provide breakfast and lunch. If you would like more information or to be considered for attendance, please call or e-mail Randy Dodds at 585-6518 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
MEMBERS CAN GET ESOL AND INTERVIEW TRAINING
PESPA is offering members two training opportunities in the near future. Next Wednesday, at 4:45 at the PCTA-PESPA office, members interested in a transfer or assignment can take Interviewee Skills, designed to improve both resumes and interviews. You can register for this training on LMS or by calling the office. On April 3, from 4:45 to 7:15, information on the ESOL certification exam will be provided. Call PCTA at 585-6518 to register.
SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE FOR PESPA FAMILY MEMBERS
The Pinellas Education Employees Retired (PEER), a group of retired PESPA and PCTA members is offering a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating Pinellas County senior who is related to a member of PCTA, PESPA or PEER. The student must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and have demonstrated service to school and community as well as achievement and motivation to continue his/her education. For more information and an application, visit the PEER page of the pcta-pespa web site or call Jane Lee at 399-0058.
LET US KNOW ABOUT READ ACROSS AMERICA ACTIVITIES
The Pinellas Educator will be featuring members who participated in Read Across America in the next issue, due out later this month. Send your stories and photos to Bev Diaz (email@example.com). One of our stories will show President Dodds as he joins with the Devil Rays to read to students at Campbell Park. Randy also signed on to pitch!