www.winnebagocountyrta.org MAY 2018
Co-Presidents.………….… Norm Alpers & Fred Kunz WESLEY WILLOWS TOWN CENTER
Vice-President & Program…….…,Jacqueline Bolger
Secretary ……….………………….Dr. Laura Jernigan 4142 Johns Farm Road, Rockford 61101
Treasurer ……………..…....……Dorothy Schoonover
JUNE 28 MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Greetings, WCRTA members! As I write this article, the sun and warm weather have temporarily disappeared and we are truly experiencing spring in the Midwest: cool temperatures with a sprinkle of rain. So, let’s think about something that will bring warmth to all of our hearts - our Scholarship Presentations!! Knowing that the future of education, specifically elementary education, will continue to grow certainly puts a smile on my face.
Please save the date of Thursday, June 28and join us at Wesley Willows Town Centeras we meet and celebrate the winners of the 2018 Blanche Martin Scholarships! Registration begins at 11:30,and our buffet luncheon will start promptly at noon. The BBQ /Picnic buffet consists of grilled chicken and BBQ ribs, braised Swiss chard, potato salad, baked beans, peach cobbler, coffee or iced tea. Cost of the luncheon is $16 per person.
Following the presentation of the scholarships, Lynn Gibson, newly retired superintendent of Hononegah District 207, will share the impact and influence that teacers have on their students as she shares personal anecdotes about her own teachers throughout her educational experience.
The Reservation DEADLINEis Tuesday, June 19.To reserve a seat for the luncheon, please fill out the attached form and send it, along with a check for$16.00 per personpayable to WCRTAto Gayle Haab, 3767 Doreen Drive, Roscoe IL 61073. (815-742-1331, email@example.com) Contact Jacque Bolger if you have any questions (815-282-4933 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jacque Bolger, WCRTA Vice-President/Program Chair**********************************************************************************************
Reservation form for June 28 WCRTA Scholarship Luncheon
Phone (s) ___________________________________ Email ___________________________
How many reservations? _________________ Amount of check $______________
Please send your check payable toWCRTA for $16 per personto Gayle Haab,
3767 Doreen Drive, Roscoe IL 61073. Reservation deadline is Tuesday, June 19.
Thank you for your prompt response!
SAVE THESE 2018 DATES!
June 28 Membership Meeting (Scholarship Presentations)
Wesley Willows Town Hall Center - 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Board Meeting - 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
July 12 Bus Trip to Milwaukee - Members (& Guests) -
8:00 am – 8:00 pm (See flyer in this newsletter)
August 16 Membership Social Meeting - McEachran Winery,
Caledonia – 2-4 pm (see article on page 7)
September 20 Membership Meeting - Stockholm Inn - IRTA Staff
9:00 am - 11:00 am
October 18 Board Meeting - ROE, Loves Park - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
November 15 Membership Meeting - Ethnic Heritage Museum (Architect Gary
Anderson – speaker) Two turkeys will be raffled.
December 6 Board Retreat to plan 2019 programs – Fat Catt Restaurant, Rockton at
We welcome guests at Board meetings and new Board Members who will bring fresh ideas to the planning table!
Message from Norm Alpers, Co-President of WCRTA, email@example.com
The Championship of the Stateline Quiz Bowl between Auburn High School and Keith Country Day School was determined at a May 16 taping, but you can probably still see the broadcast of that event on Channel 39’s website. The reason I mention this is, as you read in our last newsletter, WCRTA has become one of the sponsors of Quiz Bowl with a contribution of $2,400 this past season. In return, we have received quite a bit of on TV exposure. That $2,400 came from our membership dues which we use for any of our expenses. We have begun to do some fundraising for our continued support of the Quiz Bowl as you will see on page 7 and on the website (www.winnebagocountyrta.org). It is with that in mind that we are asking our members if they would contribute to our Quiz Bowl support by purchasing sheets or making a financial donation for the purpose of our continued support of the Quiz Bowl. If you would like to contribute to that support, please send your check to our Treasurer. Her name and address & a donation form are located at the bottom of page 3.
We are also trying to figure out a means of determining if and/or how our support has been a good investment for us. With that in mind I am asking for input from you about our support of the Quiz Bowl. If you care to comment or express yourself about our Quiz Bowl support, please e-mail me or Fred Kunz and let us know. Our e-mail addresses are included in our introductions.
Just a few more, brief things to comment on. First, as you will see you are invited to our Scholarship Awards lunch on June 28, 2018. Details are provided in the newsletter. We had 14 applications this year, which was awesome. The candidates were also pretty awesome. Second, we are sponsoring a bus trip to Milwaukee on July 12. This was announced in our last newsletter. It is also featured on the WCRTA website. There is still room. The deadline is June 30. See flyer in this newsletter. Third, if you have not paid your 2018 membership dues for WCRTA, please do so as soon as possible. We are still short a number of renewals.
Our annual Retiree Welcome Breakfast is scheduled for September 20, 2018, at the Stockholm Inn. According to the lists that I have accumulated, there are 61 retirees from schools in Winnebago County, 39 from Rockford Public Schools and 22 from non-Rockford schools. In addition to welcoming those retirees, we will also be updating our membership on the actions/proposals of our state legislature and governor concerning our pensions and benefits. By that date, they may have done something or are anticipating something that we need to be aware of.
Have a great summer, now that the weather is getting closer to actually being summer weather.
News from Fred Kunz, Co-President of WCRTA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to all the board members who attended the May 16 meeting. We had an excellent level of participation and ideas. Work was continued on our mission statement. A vote will occur at our June 28 Board Meeting. Also, approval was given to adopt the IRTA procedure of notification of non-paying dues members and removal of such non-paying members from the database if annual dues are not paid by March 31.
Eleven WCRTA members will attend will attend the Area 1 Conference at IVCC on May 17 or at Dixon on May 18. Volumes of great information will be gathered from IRTA Officers and Staff. Norm and I will attend the Presidents’ session to get new ideas and programs and share the giant steps we have recently made. George Whinna, Norm and I will attend the final taping of the Stateline Quiz Bowl. WCRTA has been a booster of the show four the past four months at $600 a month. To raise these funds, we have been having sheet sales (see enclosed flyer). Almost one half of the cost is ours. Special thanks to Gayle Haab for running this fundraiser. Member donations are also accepted.
IRTA Foundation is running its "Label" fundraiser again this year. Please send in your donation. Last year we raised $161,843 net for over 71% return. Thanks to those who encouraged current classroom teachers to submit applications for the $750 grants. I had the task of reading over 200 of the applications and seeing many spectacular ideas and programs from across the state. The winner of the IRTA Foundation Area1 grant was Hannah Wilczynski of Lanark, IL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
WCRTA Donation Form for Stateline Quiz Bowl Booster Sponsorship
Name ________________________________ Amount Enclosed $_______
Email address: ______________________________
Please mail to: TreasurerDorothy Schoonover, 4143 Catalpa Woods Drive, Rockford, IL 61101
2018 Blanche Martin Scholarship Winners
The Blanche J. Martin Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the six future elementary teachers who will each be awarded a 2018 scholarship to assist them with their educational expenses. From a record number of very qualified applicants, the committee chose:
Sophie Riley who will attend Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky
Maria Cirone headed to the University of Alabama,
Mary Jane Knuth attending Loyola University Chicago,
Gracie Caltagerone at St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, Wisconsin
Brianna Tresemer continuing at Illinois State University
Chloe Baxter attending Rock Valley College
These six outstanding scholarship recipients will be introduced at a luncheon on Thursday, June 28, at Wesley Willows Town Center, 4142 Johns Farm Road, Rockford, at 11:30 am.
Sophie and Maria are graduating from Rockford Christian High. Mary Jane and Gracie will be completing their junior years at Loyola and St. Norbert’s respectively. Brianna will be completing her sophomore year at ISU, and Chloe is finishing her freshman year at Rock Valley College.
--Mike Cannariato, Blanche Martin Scholarship Committee Chair
Legislative Review—May 2018
While this may seem to be a quiet period in legislation/elections in Illinois, there is a great deal of work going on down in Springfield with regards to your pensions/health benefits. At the recent Area 1 Conference in Dixon, it was emphasized just how important YOU and your participation in IRTA/WCRTA are to our efforts as a group to maintain the level and manage the aspects of the benefits we have earned. WCRTA hopes to be visiting with our local representatives in the coming weeks, and it means a lot to be able to emphasize to them that we are a group of 500educated and informed constituents that consistently VOTE. By being an IRTA/WCRTA member, you give yourself a voice that also speaks for many. By using IRTA tools such as Voter VOICE, you can directly inform and have an impact on our legislators. If you still haven’t logged in via the IRTA website and set it up so you can use Voter VOICE, please do so.
For example, since I have set up Voter VOICE for myself, it only took a couple of clicks to send a well-worded IRTA message to Joe Sosnowski on my behalf to ask him to support SB3046. SB3046 allows retired teachers and retired community college workers to re-enroll for TRIP/CHIP benefits during the annual re-enrollment period if those benefits had somehow lapsed or they had previously decided not to enroll. I remember an incident a few years back where I desperately worked to contact the out-of-state children of a favorite retired teacher whose wife passed on and he had dementia. There was a re-enrollment deadline approaching for a major health insurance change and if he did not request that change he would have lost his insurance and not have been able to re-enroll. This bill would have assured that the teacher would have an opportunity to re-enroll and retain his benefits. While there have been various versions of this bill, the present wording was negotiated by IRTA with CMS and it is presently unopposed.
There are several bills floating around between the two houses with somewhat different wording that will allow retired teachers to increase the number of days they can teach (and not lose their benefits) to 120 days and the number of hours to 600 but not more than 100 days in the same classroom per year. As of this writing, the chances of one of them passing look good as one version, SB3045, has already passed the Senate and is in the House.
The continuing budget discussions and the upcoming fall election bear serious watching. The budget is being kicked back and forth between the legislative “budgeteers” and the “gang of four” without much success. IRTA is anticipating the possibility of another piece-meal budget process which will extend out over the summer with funding for education being one of the pieces that will pass. We all know how well that process helped Illinois in the past couple of years.
In addition, the governor proposed in his budget address to drastically cut health insurance benefits for public and university employees, but he did so without introducing any legislation with details of his plan. He also wants to shift pension costs to the local school districts who, understandably, say they cannot afford the additional cost.
Some may not be aware of a problem with TRIP. IRTA was notified by CMS that the comptroller has not been making the required $10 million monthly payments to the Teachers Health Insurance Security fund since January of 2017, a figure now in the neighborhood of $185 million in arrears. Most of you have probably chosen to be in the TRAIL program that uses United Health Care to manage your health benefits so there has been no problem for you, yet. But, while all of TRAIL is a part of TRIP, not all TRIP uses TRAIL and some health providers where only TRIP is involved are not getting paid and may be as many as 200 days behind. If you are a TRIP only participant, and health providers are complaining they are not getting paid or, more importantly, you are having to pay up-front for health services, be sure to notify IRTA so they can get a handle on how serious this issue is affecting you and help them decide what action to take!
Finally, it is important that you know that IRTA now has the IRTA-PAC committee that concerns itself with making recommendations regarding candidates for the upcoming elections that will support issues important to IRTA members. The committee will be sending out questionnaires to all the House and Senate candidates and the two gubernatorial candidates on issues important to IRTA members. Those questionnaires will be due back the latter part of August and the IRTA-PAC committee will review them and, also using feedback from locals like WCRTA, come up with recommendations so you can go into the polling booth well-informed as to which candidates share your concerns regarding the benefits you’ve earned. --Dr. John Carleton, Legislative Chair
Endorsed Benefits Overview. IRTA has two types of member benefits--Endorsed and Informative Benefits. In an effort to improve the quality of benefits available to IRTA members, the IRTA board agreed to endorse products. These products were selected because they provide superior benefitsand competitive premium rates. These products have been heavily negotiated on behalf of retired school educators, and the IRTA board believes that they are the finest available anywhere. Informative benefits are products that are available to IRTA members as a service. Join IRTA for Complete Information
Available endorsed benefits include Annuity Policy, Credit Card, Dental and Vision Insurance, Flexible Choice Cancer, Heart Attack & Stroke Policy, Liberty Mutual, Life Line Screening, Life Policy, Long-Term Care, and Medical Air Services Association.
Available Informative Benefits include American Hearing Benefits, Apple Products, Dell Computers, Flower Discounts, Globus Vacations, Hearing Plan Discount Benefit, La Quinta Inn & Suites Discount, MediPendant, myAMBAdining.com, myAMBAdiscounts, Orlando Employee Discounts, Rental Car Discounts, Road Scholar, Term Life Express, Vacations By Rail, and Veterinary Pet Insurance.
Gayle Haab, Member Benefits & Reservations
AUGUST SOCIAL GATHERING
So summer is fast approaching, and you’re looking for activities to fill up your calendar? Have we got a deal for you, especially those who love wine and want to know more about wine! On Thursday, August 16, from 2-4 p.m., Sue Sohner from the McEachran Homestead Winery will do a brief presentation to our group about this charming local vineyard and te wine-making process. For only $10.00 per person, we will enjoy Sue’s presentation followed by a Wine Tasting and Wagon Ride.
Our group social event may not be until mid-August, but you can enjoy yourself every Friday night during the summer, when the winery hosts live music from local musicians. Bring some lawn chairs, sit back and reminisce as you enjoy music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s! Complete yourevening by ordering a cheese and fruit tray from McEachran’s or bring your own food and have a picnic!
Join us at the Vineyard! McEachran’s Homestead Winery
1917 Wyman School Road
Caledonia, IL 61011
815-978-5120. (Call if you need directions!)
______ Yes, I plan on joining the WCRTA group at McEachran’s on 08/16/18
Guest(s) ___________________________ ______________________
Phone Number(s) ____________________ ______________________
Email address _____________________________________________
Reservation deadline is Thursday, August 9. Please enclose a check payable to WCRTA for $10.00 per person and remit to Gayle Haab, 3767 Doreen Drive, Roscoe, IL 61073. (email@example.com; 815-742-1331)