By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Education Association (AEA) has announced that they and members of the Alabama House Democratic Caucus, and the Alabama Education Retirees Association (AERA) will hold a rally on Tuesday in Montgomery to address public education concerns and their issues with the Education Trust Fund budget.
House Minority Leader Craig Ford, AEA Executive Secretary Dr. Henry Mabry, AERA Executive Secretary Janice Charlesworth, and 100 retired and active educators from all over the state will rally on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 12:30pm on the front steps of the State House at 11 South Union St., Montgomery, AL 36130.
The “Friends of Public Education” Rally is an attempt to draw attention to the fact that the state’s teachers have seen declining pay over the last five years with just one 2% pay raise, rising PEEHIP copays and deductibles, and smaller take home pay due to larger employee contributions for their retirements.
House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D) from Gadsden said, “Over the past four years, we have asked our educators to do more for less money and with fewer resources. The Republican Supermajority in Montgomery cut educators pay by 2.5 percent, and eliminated 6,000 education jobs, including more than 2,500 teachers. This has led to larger class sizes and fewer young people being recruited into the profession.” “We trust our educators with our most precious gifts: our children.
But when it comes to giving these same educators a basic cost-of-living pay increase legislative leaders somehow can’t find the money? That’s nonsense!”
AERA Executive Secretary Janice Charlesworth wrote in an email to her membership, “Members, Rep. Craig Ford has organized the Friends of Public Education Rally on Tuesday, March 18 at 12:30 p.m. He suggests that you contact your legislator in advance to set up a time to meet with him/her. The House will go in session at 1 p.m. If you do not have an appointment, you will have to send in a note with a page asking the legislator to step out of the chambers to meet with you. To make it easy for you, I am attaching a contact list to call the legislator’s office in Montgomery and set up an appointment for Tuesday, March 18. Please make every effort to participate in this rally and to meet with your legislator. As the budget stands, your benefit check will be less as of October 1, 2014. Be sure to let your elected official know where you stand and how his/her vote will impact your vote in November, 2014. Without full funding of PEEHIP, you will pay more for health insurance.”
Retired educators have not had a cost of living increase in the last 5 years. Their earnings have seen considerable erosion due to inflation and PEEHIP cost increases due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and medical inflation.