With recruiting season fast approaching, the Indiana State Teachers Association finally addressed its members about the union’s parlous financial condition. In a 10-minute video posted on the ISTA web site, president Nate Schnellenberger sets out to “correct any misconceptions based on those inaccuracies” contained, he claims, in media reports of the situation – though he doesn’t mention any of these alleged inaccuracies in the video.
The only real news in the video is that in addition to the $40 dues increase instituted by a special session of the ISTA representative assembly (likely to raise somewhere around $1.8 million), the union has also cut its budget by an additional $3.25 million, mostly through deep layoffs and office consolidations. Assuming membership levels don’t drop precipitously, those measures should close the union’s budget deficit.
Unfortunately, that still leaves the $65 million in liabilities of the ISTA Insurance Trust. To help make those payments, NEA will provide ISTA with a loan of $50 per member (roughly $2.5 million). I assume this money will come from NEA’s usual assistance to state affiliates – for example, a significant amount of UniServ funding is now freed up because many Indiana UniServ directors have now been laid off.
Speaking of which, ISTA’s austerity measures are meeting resistance in some locals. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette buries the lede in its story about the layoff of Steve Brace, the executive director of the Fort Wayne Education Association.
“[FWEA President Al] Jacquay and the local union have complained to the ISTA about Brace’s layoff, and they say the union is violating a contract that states the local officials can have a say in who is named the executive director. Jacquay said they have met with an attorney and hope to sit at the table with ISTA officials and discuss the situation to avoid legal proceedings.”
Yes, they’re keeping the attorneys busy in Indiana. Here’s the Schnellenberger video: