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Celebrating student loan relief

“It was like waking up and learning you won the lottery.” That’s just one of the comments flooding the AFT offices from members who are elated to be free of student debt at last. After relentless advocacy, including an AFT lawsuit against former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that was so broken is finally doing what it is supposed to do: delivering relief from student debt for thousands of borrowers. So far, $6.2 billion in student debt has been forgiven for 100,000 public service workers like teachers, nurses and professors.

Demand Safe Schools! Wear RED Wednesday, September 2nd!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 is a National Day of Action to urge the US Senate to pass the HEROES Act. 

MEA is joining with other educators and education stakeholders around the state and nation to create a social media presence that urges the Senate to pass and the President to sign the HEROES Act. 

If passed, the HEROES Act would provide critical resources to protect students, teachers, paras and our families from COVID-19; to save jobs and to meet the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of all our students. 

Whether working from home or at your worksite MEA is asking members to do the following:

  • Wear RED on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2020,
  • Print and fill out this sign,
  • Mask up,
  • Take a selfie with your sign, and


Post on your social media page(s) using the hashtags #DemandSafeSchools and #HEROESAct.
(On Facebook use @manateeea to tag MEA in your post.)

PDF icon day_of_action_mea_090220-i-demand.pdf

Amendment to 20-21 Reopening of Schools MOU

July 31, 2020 - The language in the Reopening of Schools MOU regarding pay for teaching more than one schedule needed to be clarified. For that reason, Superintendent Saunders and MEA President Pat Barber have agreed to the PDF icon this AMENDMENT to the MOU. 

Administrators received the same information from Ms. Saunders.

PDF icon reopeningmouamendment.pdf

Memorandum of Understanding for 20-21 Reopening of Schools

July 30, 2020 - The Manatee Education Association and the Superintendent have reached agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that spells out the working conditions for teachers and paras during the re-opening of schools under the conditions of the pandemic and the Executive Order of Commissioner Corcorcan to open brick and mortar schools 5 days a week. 

We are providing highlights but encourage you to read the attached MOU to fully understand your rights and working conditions. 


  • Expectations for two weeks of pre-planning 
  • Assurance that CDC guidelines will be followed 
  • Teacher and para working conditions for all 3 student schedules 
  • And much more… 

Please read the details contained in the attached documents and let us know if you have questions. 

Pat Barber          Cynthia Saunders


President            Superintendent

PDF icon mou-005-07292020_-_2020-2021_reopening_of_schools.pdf

Information from MEA for Teachers

Any teacher who wishes to teach in the eLearning schedule because he/she falls in a high-risk category according to CDC guidelines* should follow the following steps:
1. inform his/her principal of that fact as soon as possible.  
2. the principal should then direct the teacher to contact HR Director Wendy Mungillo to provide information regarding the condition or circumstance that causes the person to be high risk. This also pertains to those who live with or care for a high-risk individual in their homes.

We suggest that you wait to hear from Ms. Mungillo about sending the doctor's note.

This is not going to be a cumbersome process with a lot of documentation needed. A simple explanation and a doctor's note will be enough.

*The following conditions put people at high risk for COVID:

  • being above 60 years of age 
  • cancer
  • chronic kidney disease
  • COPD
  • immunocompromised state
  • obesity
  • serious heart conditions
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Asthma
  • hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Thalassemia

AFT launches massive national campaign to fund public education

The AFT’s long-time advocacy for public schools has just been turbo-charged, with a sweeping, multi-pronged campaign to fund the future of American public education. Amid the continuing wave of teacher activism shining a spotlight on massive shortfalls in education investment, the Fund Our Future initiative aims to take the teachers’ megaphone into Congress, statehouses and communities nationwide.

AFT members are taking Navient to court

A class-action suit filed in federal court sets out serious allegations that student loan servicer Navient has misled borrowers in public service professions from accessing a loan forgiveness program to boost its own profits. The landmark complaint, which seeks millions in damages and class-wide injunctive relief, details a spate of systematic misrepresentations, untruths and misdirection pedaled by Navient to stop borrowers from enrolling in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a 10-year payoff plan administered by rival servicer FedLoan.

Important Information RE: the Data Breach Settlement

Attention:  MEA Members

June 4, 2018 - In February 2017 MEA informed members that we were working with our attorneys to determine viable avenues to assist members in recovering any losses which have been sustained, or which may occur in the future, stemming from the District's improper disclosure of W-2 forms.

By now you should have received information via US mail (a post card) from the class action settlement administrator, Equip Systems. The information details how to access the settlement website and how to submit a claim.

In order to receive money from the settlement, a member must complete a claim form and submit it to the Settlement Administrator.

Anyone who does not submit a claim form, will not receive any money from the settlement.

All information is available at including the claim forms.

Notice outlining the settlement terms

April 20th Nationwide Day of Action

April 20th is a Nationwide Day of Action Against Gun Violence in schools.  This day was selected because it is the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School.  12 students and one teacher died that day.  As a result of more recent school shootings in communities like Parkland, lawmakers have taken the easy way out.  Instead of discussing meaningful solutions and having discussions with us, they turned to arming staff - just one more thing for teachers and school employees to do.  Educators across the country believe there are other resources we need more than a deadly weapon. 

We need real solutions that make our schools and our communities safer.  Our focus is on both the mass shootings in schools and on campuses and the gun violence far too many students and families face in their communities everyday. 

We're standing together again on April 20th so say NO MORE:  No more children murdered in our classrooms or our streets.  No more parents sending children to school who never come home.  No more teachers, coaches, principals, media specialists or other staff standing between students and a gunman.  Let's have real conversations and find real solutions.


1.Ask your colleagues and friends to wear orange, Friday, April 20th - the color of the movement

2.Use the hashtag #ArmMeWith to publicize what educators really need, like #ArmMeWith . . . counselors, technology, books, time to develop relationships with my students, whatever you think schools need.

3.Send us your photos and share them on social media!

FL Supreme Court Sides with MEA in Financial Urgency Case

August 9, 2017 - In 2008 MEA filed an Unfair Labor Practice against the district when they declared “Financial Urgency” and imposed a 1% pay cut on teachers and paraprofessionals. MEA’s case was stayed until the FL Supreme Court resolved the statutory interpretation. That has been resolved in MEA’s favor.

Because so much time has passed and a make-whole is not likely from the current Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC), a settlement was reached with the district.  Click here to read the Settlement Agreement.

The district must email the notice below informing all employees that MEA’s interpretation of the statute was correct, and that the district will follow that interpretation in the future.

The decision of the Supreme Court is very timely and important due to the potential financial impact of House Bill 7069 on school districts.


            Section 447.4095, Florida Statutes, provides that, in the event of a “financial urgency requiring modification of a collective bargaining agreement,” the parties “shall meet as soon as possible to negotiate the impact of the financial urgency.”  On May 5, 2008, the former Superintendent invoked this provision and sent the MEA a letter demanding that the parties enter into bargaining.  The MEA disagreed that there was a financial urgency and declined to negotiate outside of the regularly scheduled negotiations.  Thereafter, the School District proceeded to make the following changes in teacher’s working conditions:  (1) reduce the teacher work year from 198 days to 196 days, the net effect of which was a one percent decrease in teacher salaries; (2) reduce paraprofessional salaries by one percent; and (3) eliminate a step salary increase.

            The MEA filed an unfair labor practice charge with PERC alleging that the School District’s action was unlawful because, among other things, there was no “financial urgency” sufficient to require modification of the collective bargaining agreement. The MEA contended that modification of a collective bargaining agreement due to financial difficulties could occur only as a last resort where there was no other way to resolve the financial problem.  The 2008 School District Administration disagreed.

            On March 2, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court decided that the statute must be interpreted narrowly, requiring a public employer to demonstrate there are no other reasonable alternative means of preserving the agreement in whole or in part.  The employer must also demonstrate that the funds required to address the financial problem are not available from any other possible reasonable source.

            The MEA has agreed to dismiss the ULP and to forego further litigation of this matter based on the School District’s acknowledgement that it will follow the Florida Supreme Court’s interpretation of Section 447.4095 when deciding whether to invoke this statute should the issue arise in the future.