The North Eastern Ohio Education Association held the fall meeting of its Representative Assembly at Warren G. Harding High School on Saturday, November 11.
The Representative Assembly (RA) is the top governing body of NEOEA, following a governance structure similar to the National Education Association and the Ohio Education Association, with which NEOEA is affiliated. Representation is proportional: each local is allotted at least two delegates at NEOEA’s RA, and larger locals are allotted more delegates.
Each RA is a little different, and this one was no exception. Following a practice that has become more common in recent years, delegates met in a multipurpose room rather than a formal auditorium. The 255 delegates and 34 guests present were greeted by Jeff Pegg, President of the Warren Education Association, and Stacey Frederick, President of the Warren Secretarial Association. Warren City School District’s Superintendent Steve Chiaro shared the positive steps all parties have taken over the past few years for the good of all employees.
Presiding at the third of the four RAs scheduled for his two-year term of office, NEOEA President Jeff Wensing noted it was Veterans’ Day and led delegates in honoring the service veterans present and then spoke about the need to elect local school board members who support public education and value the work of the employees in the district. Jeff shared his own local’s experience and success in the recent round of elections.
In a fund-raiser conducted during the Legislative Committee’s report at the Representative Assembly, delegates donated $4,122 to OEA’s Fund for Children and Public Education.
Jill Gunther and Jenn Schumm, striking Service and Support Administrators in Portage County, addressed the delegates. Their local has been on strike since October 4. Delegates passed the envelope and collected $1,535 for the SSAs in Portage County.
At the recommendation of the Resolutions Committee, delegates enacted the NEOEA Resolutions for 2017-18. NEOEA’s new resolutions document includes 171 statements setting forth Association principles on topics identified in the organization’s Constitution. Delegates approved three new resolutions in section I, which consists of resolutions attempting to “promote and protect human and civil rights”:
● “Institutional and Organizational Discrimination;”
● “Racial Justice;” and
● “Sexual Assault.”
Delegates elected Sharon Callahan (Cardinal EA) to a fill vacancy for NEOEA Unit 6 Representative.
Delegates passed a New Business Item:
“Create an OEA Special Education Work Group to develop recommendations for professional development programs, sample contract language, OEA Resolutions, and OEA Legislative Policies that would address the needs of OEA members involved in or supporting education programs for students with special needs.”
Update from the OEA RA: NEOEA President Jeff Wensing and Hank Haynes introduced the Special Education Work Group new business item approved at the NEOEA RA in November (see above). The OEA delegates voted overwhelmingly to support the initiative. OEA members in all settings, especially the roughly 15% that identify as working in special education, report they face critical challenges in obtaining and providing additional supports and accommodations for the success of students with special needs. As an organization, we will continue to prioritize the needs of special educators in our membership along with their clients and students.
Delegates passed a Resolution of Appreciation:
“The delegates, Board of Directors, and officers of the North Eastern Ohio Education Association hereby express their appreciation to the Warren Education Association, the Warren Secretarial Association, and the Warren City Schools for their hospitality in hosting the fall 2017 NEOEA Representative Assembly.”
The NEOEA Representative Assembly meets again on April 21, 2018, at Normandy High School, 2500 West Pleasant Valley Road in Parma, Ohio.