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Friday, July 12, 2024


American Federation of Teachers President Glen Smith wants senators to say "no" to cost shifting on teachers' insurance and retirement contributions, changes in Act 4440 and elimination of five holidays. The issues are all part of the governor's memorandum of understanding with the Interior Department.
Smith wrote to Sen. Roosevelt David asking him to block the three initiatives placed before the Legislature by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
Smith said the initiatives put an additional load on the already-overburdened backs of government workers, and pointed out that teachers have not had salary increases for five years.
Smith said teachers are leaving the territory to find employment elsewhere because of the low salaries.
In the meantime sources have told St. Thomas Source that senators have a plan that will be included in the FY 2000 budget to increase property assessments by 5 percent. The extra money would go to the Education Department, specifically to increase salaries for beginning teachers.
Sen. Lorraine Berry was asked about the plan for Education during a meeting of the League of Women Voters earlier this month, but she would only say that more would be revealed during budget hearings.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole also mentioned a plan by the Legislature to improve funding for Education. He, too, said he could not comment further about the plan.
Smith also wrote to Delegate Donna Christian-Christiansen asking her to explain her role in the memorandum signed early in October by Turnbull and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.
Smith invited Christiansen to attend the monthly building representative meeting of the AFT at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, to make a presentation on the memorandum.

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