I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Monday, July 27, 2015
The Unheralded Benefit for Teachers That Came from 2015 Legislative Session....
A very beneficial yet minimally discussed item that came out of the legislature's last session was the state's implementation of "paid-for" professional liability insurance for teachers statewide.
While many teachers currently receive such professional liability insurance from their unions, many teachers do not belong to their unions for a number of different ideological/philosophical reasons. (Unions, particularly the teachers unions, lean heavily Democratic; (opensecrets.org pointed out that NEA campaign contributions nationally typically go 90% or higher to Democrats.)
In Escambia County Schools, for instance, more teachers are non-members than members of the local NEA affiliate, the EEA.
Despite the ideological dissonance---some teachers, even socially and politically conservative teachers--- remain members of their union solely for the liability protection that the union memberships provide. In the process, these teachers pay between $50.00-$75.00 MONTHLY for membership.
Although there are other organizations, such as the Association of American Educators, that provide low cost memberships and liability insurance ($198.00 yr.)--many teachers are simply not aware of this option.
In one South Florida county--the local union threatened to file an Unfair Labor Practice complaint against a school board member who was describing the benefits and low costs of AAE memberships to teachers as compared to the higher monthly costs of union memberships.
So to address this issue and provide support and potential savings for teachers, the Florida House of Representatives put forth HB 587, and the appropriation for the insurance was added to the budget by the Senate and funded at the end of the legislative session.
When additional information comes out on the application process, I will post that information here.