Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Update from the Convention - A Need for Concern"

From WSSRA's state convention in Vancouver, Walla Walla's Legislative Committee Chair, Jim Davison, sent this to Elaine.  It would behoove all members to read this and take action as they see fit.

"A Need for Concern"   

Several of us just returned from the Washington State School Retiree Association annual convention, this year held in Vancouver, Washington. *(Regarding legislative concerns), we heard that 45 other states are cutting pensions (Washington State’s systems have been fully funded for 3 years running) and most one-time dollar fixes have already been made which will make the 2015 legislative session extremely challenging (a likely shortfall of at least $2 billion).

Because of that shortfall it is expected that legislators are likely to seriously look at cutting/eliminating retirees’ health insurance benefit (subsidy) which has already been reduced from $183 to $150 per month. (ALL current retirees get this whether they realize it or not.) This would result in an immediate cash flow increase for the legislature, and reduction for retirees of $1,800 per year!

For those still actively employed the push will be to create a defined contribution retirement system, getting the State out of the business since each retiree would be responsible for their own investments. Though some individuals may be very capable, even the professionals—who do it for a fee—have generally not done as well as those in charge of the State investments. In addition, those employees in a defined contribution system would NOT be eligible to participate in the State-sponsored health insurance!

 A by-product of switching to a defined-contribution system would be no more money going into existing retirement systems from employees. Currently investment earnings on those plans are responsible for $.84 of every $1.00 paid. With no new funds coming into those plans investments earnings will continue to decline, increasing the amount which the State must provide. That would continue until members of existing plans must no longer be paid (die).

This is information to think about and digest. Another email will be coming shortly with suggestions of what to say when you have a chance to meet with legislators or candidates.

"Suggestions for How You Can Help" 

As mentioned previously, members of WSSRA have two main concerns in the 2015 legislative session. For retirees it is the $150 benefit (subsidy) which each gets to help defray the cost of health insurance. For those still actively employed or who will be hired in the future it is the likely push for creation of a defined-contribution retirement system.

When retirees meet a legislator or candidate introduce yourself while making eye contact. Below are suggestions picked up at the WSSRA convention to use after introducing yourself:
     a) I am a retired school (state your position—aid, teacher, nurse, cook, secretary, principal, etc.)
     b) I started (teaching, working in schools) in 19__. I chose that career because I believe that our future is in our children. Though the pay was never as much as private enterprise I was assured that in retirement I would be treated fairly.
     c) I want you to know how important it is to me that you help me by funding and managing the retirement I was assured of when first starting work in a school district.
     d) The way food and utility costs are rising due to inflation, I’m concerned whether my state pension (tell them what it is if you feel comfortable doing so) will continue to be adequate. (The reason for telling them the amount of your pension is to let them know we are NOT rich and NOT receiving the huge amounts which make the news.)
     e) I want to give you my support but need to know you will support me.

Keep in mind these are only suggestions and may be modified or eliminated. The main thing is they need to know who you are and your story. If you are satisfied with your choice of candidate volunteer to help by:
    a) Putting a yard sign in your yard.
    b) Or in your friends/neighbor’s yards.
    c) Offer to help by introducing candidate to your neighbors (doorbelling or block party, distributing pamphlets).
    d) Make a small contribution (a check for a few dollars but definitely less than $20).

The more of us that legislators/candidates know the more they will think of us when issues comes up which affect us—and they will think of you when contacted during the legislative session concerning legislation important to you."

Jim Davison, Legislative Committee

*(small edit by Jim Bumgarner)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Installation of Officers: 2014 - 2015"

Past president of BFSRA and past State president, Marion Hughes, installed the following officers for the 2014 - 2015 year. They are, from left to right:  President, Tom Callahan; Marion Hughes; VP and Program Chair, Dottie Stevens; Treasurer, Marlys Mayer; and Secretary, Lew Edming. We not only wish them well in their new terms but offer any assistance they may need in order to more effectively fulfill their terms as they advance the missions of both WSSRA and our own local association, BFSRA.

"Final Message from President Jim Bumgarner"

Jim taking potshots at pigeons from aboard the USS Yorktown.
And so we end another year here at BFSRA, and what a great year it has been!  We have welcomed many new members, awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships and teacher grants,  delivered nine monthly newsletters, four of which are snail mailed, to over 600 people, provided hundreds of Toys for Tots during the holiday season, and hosted a very successful Pre-Retirement Workshop to over 100 people. 

Outstanding programs from Terry Simmelink entertaining us in August; to the Candidate's Debate; Saundra Hill, Supt. PSD; the Toy Drive; Lisa Toomey and the Hanford Reach Project; Callaway Gardens and Alzheimers;  and WSU Tri-Cities, presented by Chancellor H. Keith Moo-Young, kept us entertained, interested and informed.

We continue to try to cut a few expenses by decreasing snail-mailed newsletters and increasing email deliveries (snail-mail deliveries cost just over $1200/year for four issues).  We want to significantly increase the number of teachers applying for our grants, and we have some good ideas about how to go about doing so. And we have newly elected leaders chomping at the bit to get next year put together before August arrives.

We are in good hands with Tom Callahan, Dottie Stevens, Marlys Mayer and Lew Edming at the helm for the upcoming year. 

Thank YOU for two great years as your President, and here's hoping you have a great summer!  

Jim Bumgarner, Outgoing President 

May 19, 2014: Memorial Service

Thanks to President-elect, Tom Callahan, and Leona Hassing for the Memorial Services they presented at our last luncheon of the year.  Announcements were distributed to members and as Tom called out names, Leona placed a red rose into a vase for each named called.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

"Scholarship Winners: 2013"

As we like to say  here at BFSRA,  we like to "grow our own," and in so doing, our scholarship winners were proudly awarded their scholarships at the April luncheon this past Monday.

They are, from left to right: 

Neydeen Martinez is a Pasco High Running Start student who plans to transfer to Eastern Washington University to pursue an elementary education major and Spanish minor. She received a $1,000 BFSRA scholarship.

Madeline Serrano, a Pasco High senior, is planning to teach kindergarten after attending Eastern Washington University as an early childhood major. She received a $1,000 BFSRA scholarship and also a Washington State School Retirees Association Foundation $1,500 scholarship.

Kaitlynn Kleinbach of Connell High School is planning to attend Whitworth University as an early elementary education major. She received a $900 Robert J. Handy Scholarship, sponsored by PEMCO, that is renewable for four years, for a total of $3,600.

Courtney Lybbert of Southridge High plans to major in elementary education and minor in child development. Her goal is teaching grades K-4. She received a $1,000 scholarship.

Unable to the luncheon was, Gianna Nino-Tapio, a senior at Southridge High School, who is considering enrollment at Oregon State University with a dual major in education and health. She received a $1,000 scholarship.

A large dose of gratitude goes to Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs, Shirley Frare and Alice Allison, for their dedication and hard work that went into this year's selections; and to Don Parks for stepping in to make the presentations at the luncheon due to Shirley and Alice both not being able to attend.  All went very well.

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Retirement Workshop: A Big Success"

Jan Fraley delivering her "Retirement - What do I do First?" presentation.
One hundred and two school employees contemplating retirement, from the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas attended BFSRA's Retirement Workshop, Thursday evening, April 17th, in the Pasco School District administrative office.  The workshop was a resounding success.    

Thank you to all of the following for their help, assistance, guidance and expertise: 

The Presenters:  
"What do I do Now?" - Jan Fraley;  PEBB Health Insurance - Larry Cade; VEBA - Kristin Faris and Jessica Haguewood; Social Security and Retirement Tips - Matthew Riesenweber and Matt Wise from Waddell & Reed; WSSRA - Rick Nebeker; BFSRA - Don Parks; AMBA - Rohn Rutledge; DRS Plans I & II Bob Fox; and Plan III - Mark Miller. 

Pasco School District #1: 
Saundra Hill, Superintendent; John Morgan, Assistant Superintendent; Randy Nunamaker, Director Support Services; and Rosalie.

Kathy Goodwin, Walla Walla and Regional (E8) Retirement Planning Committee

Supertintendent Secretaries - 7 Regional School Districts: 
Connie Smith - Kahlotus; Jean Martin - Pasco;  Linda Tucker - Kennewick; Nancy Mayer - Richland, Peggy D - Patterson; Rawline Mann - North Franklin; Shelly Knight - Kiona/Benton

Benton/Franklin School Employees Association: 
Elaine Banks, Chair Retirement Planning Committee; Don Parks, Chair Membership Committee; Helen Bruggeman, Refreshments

Helpers and Volunteers from BFSRA:
Marlys Mayer, Jan Nilsson, Leona Hassing, Helen Bakshas, Tom Callahan, Lew Edming, Alice Allison,Sharon Weens.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March Program: "Dr. H. Keith Moo-Young, Chancellor WSU Tri-Cities"

Our speaker at the March luncheon was Dr. H. Keith Moo-Young, Chancellor WSU Tri-Cities.  Dr. Moo-Young joined Washington State University Tri-Cities on June 1, 2013.

A licensed Professional Engineer, Dr. Moo-Yong served as Dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles, prior to coming to the Tri-Cities.  He earned his Ph.D. and an MS in Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an Executive Master's in Technology Management from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Morgan State University.

Dr. Moo-Young spoke of the history of WSU Tri-Cities - surprising most in the room when he told how it started in the 1960's, long before the governor of Washington signed a law in 1989 forming 5 branch canvases: 2 for the University of Washington and 3 for Washington State University. 

He shared his thoughts and plans for creating an educational environment that will help ensure the USA be a strong competitor in the global landscape. With "China producing one-million engineers annually, India producing 700,000 engineers annually and the USA producing only 70,000," he said, "we are no longer globally competitive."  In face of these statistics, Dr. Moo-Young remains positive.  "This creates an opportunity for us," he said.  "With 5,000 scientist and engineers adjacent to WSU Tri-Cities we can achieve at much higher rates than most other places."

"With little to no recruiting, we have students from 28 of the 38 Washington counties, 12 states outside Washington state, and 10 countries."  He said WSU TC has access to two-million dollars earmarked for tuition scholarships.  "We can provide tuition scholarships that will decrease the cost of attending here to less than the in-state tuition California charges its own students."

Student housing will improve as well as the opportunity for students to be involved in athletics.  "This is not an intramural program we are building but a Club-Sports program, one where anyone can play and compete with other such programs throughout the Northwest.  Athletic involvement creates ownership and feelings of belonging in students and that encourages higher graduation rates."

It is indeed encouraging to hear such focused and aggressive leadership coming out of our own higher ed community. 

Thanks to Tom Callahan for another outstanding program for our members this month.