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Stewards Minutes March 16, 2021

NHFT Stewards Meeting Minutes

March 16, 2021

In attendance-

D. Cicarella, P. DeLucia, M. Solli, J. Graves, C. Heiter, D. Low, I. Festa, D. Canzanella, K. Hopes-McFadden, J. Roth, J. Gonzalez, M. Maloney, M. Comando, J. Maselli, A. Meadows, B. Wolak, J. Dinan, J. Robinson, D. DeNuzzo (excused), J. P. Wilson, J. Leach, K. O’Keefe, K. Wetmore, K. Hebert, L. DellaPietra, L, Nusdeu, M. Galante, M. Gallagher, M. Breuler, M. Soares, R. Augustine, R. Repko, S. Whelan, S. Davis, S. Siena, S. Boutin, T. Parillo, Z. Collier, K. Distante, K. Morrison, S. Raffone, K. Cudworth, B. Sobolisky, T. Merritt, T. Criscuolo, S. Flynn, J. Langlois, N. Charest

Call to Order by David Cicarella at 3:35pm

Motion to accept February minutes not made.

February and March minutes will be discussed and approved at the April meeting.

TEVAL Midyear Conferences due by March 31--not a numeric evaluation this year, just a supportive conversation.




FFCRRA (State) has been renewed --only the – residual from Federal relief up to 80 hours at full pay for employees or ⅔ of that covered for care for family members.


Legislative Update--


Advocating for Hybrid teachers (4 Sentence story needed) around how concurrent assignments (teaching both remote and in person students) do not serve students well.


Commissioner Replacement – Charlene Russell Tucker interim commissioner


Retirement trend is heavy now. Incentives offered in some districts.


Randi Weingarten has been vocal on how ESSER Covid relief grants should be used on Summer Camps


VAMS update--it’s currently backed up and so you should be receiving information in order to get vaccinated since YNNH and others are linked if you are getting messages.


SAT exemption has been denied and will be given on March 24th as well as on alternate dates.




Upcoming workshops:


3/22: Workplace Bullying


· 3/23-3/25: Share My Lesson Conference


· 4/24: Agidio – Retirement session (9-11 AM Saturday)


Important to testify on specific bills, one of which establishes a monetary stream to support the establishment of charter schools which is not as innocuous as it may sound. Such monies might otherwise be dedicated to public schools.


Another bill requires that bottle filling stations be established in various buildings.


Another bill allows Alliance Grant funding (around 80% of NHPS’s funding) to be used more liberally.


A bill to establish a reading curriculum k-12, another around computer science and how it may be counted towards graduation. (currently 9 towards humanities, 9 towards STEM).


Other “dummy bills” as well on issues ranging from the permanence of remote learning, on school climate, a JANUS bill and a FAFSA bill requiring high school students to fill out such information as a graduation requirement.


Much of the legislation is targeting students and their paths to work and college, especially during Covid.


Nancy Charest, President of the Retired Teachers, NHFT


“You are involved in politics--it’s either done to you or with you…”


Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset are two laws that will affect retirement established in the 1980s.


Social Security retirement benefits were cut back or eliminated for those who earned them and need to choose between teacher retirement and Social Security. If you have a military benefit, you can claim Social Security which is a form of discrimination.


A teacher’s pension reduces the Social Security benefit at retirement in Connecticut and several other states.


The Government Pension Offset is a Social Security benefit related to spousal or survivor benefits. Congress forgot that the survivor benefit reduction harms the surviving spouse, many of whom are women.


The Windfall Provision affects 15 states but not teachers in all those states. It affects medical benefit offsets and Social Security benefit reductions at retirement.


If you call legislators, Congresspeople, you can tell them to do away with the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset. Would only cost 1.5% to eliminate this.





Reminder: all teachers should check 933 updates when posted as this reduces redundancies in questions, comments, etc. from membership.


COVID Dashboard update--Dave has asked for a regular Monday update to the dashboard.


ADA accommodations re: vaccinations--Many questions were fielded around the accommodations.

This was featured on the latest NHFT update, but once vaccinated, the ADA accommodation remains in place.


No one will be asked to go to work immediately, but HR can ask for an update from a physician regarding the ADA accommodation.



There is a one-pager around Covid in conjunction with Maritza Bond at the Health Department that may be ready for dissemination by the end of the week.


FFCRA has been extended and teachers need to fill out the EPSLA (Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act) Form.


Question around lesson plans. Dave Cicarella has a written memo detailing our lesson plan policy from 2015 which remains in force, and there is no change to this policy.


Question on class size related to kindergarten and new numbers of students showing up to in person from Beecher.


When there are extra students over contract, it is still up to the teacher to agree to the extra student(s) and compensation. MOUs will be required to ensure appropriate compensation for individual situations (thus past precedent is not established).





Any news on reports of Four Mental Health Days for students being added to the school year? Marianne Maloney will ask at the AFT-CT meeting.


Teachers who are quarantined can still teach remotely. They can communicate with administration on that unless told to stay home and not teach, in which case sick days must be used.


Question around retirement paperwork and incentives occurred. Conversations around disbursement of sick day payout and supplemental medical insurance plans have happened in the past. 100 folks or so are desired to make any plans more viable. Dave and Pat will address with COO Phil Penn.


Discussion around in person summer school occurred in terms of learning loss.


Discussion on the protocol for quarantining occurred and the process for contacting teachers.


Questions around Pre-K and Sped considerations and social distancing ensued.

CDC is recommending a minimum of 3 foot distance between students.


Discussion of the calendar vote for 2021-2022 and timeline for completion .


Questions around asking the district to send information to parents as to protocols regarding their children, even though in some cases Covid test results are being awaited. Dave will ask Dr. Whyte concerning these questions around what can be mandated if a parent is positive for Covid, etc.


Motion to Adjourn at 5:15pm