Political Action

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CONNECTICUT PASSES GROUNDBREAKING LEGISLATION TO ATTACK THE STUDENT LOAN DEBT CRISIS http://seiufacultyforward.org/2015/06/connecticut-passes-groundbreaking-legislation-to-attack-the-student-loan-debt-crisis/

Posted by Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, SEIU L1973 on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June 9th, 2015

Posted In: Political Action

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April 21st, 2015

Posted In: Part-Timers, Political Action

Our last e-news blast focused on the lengthy state budget process. Now, threats to our members’ employment exist, including the closing of the Meriden Center of Middlesex Community College. These threats are being made in response to the Governor’s PROPOSED budget. College Presidents are threatening our members because of instructions received from Dr. Gray.

Publicly, Dr. Gray and other system officials have blamed the cost of employees transferring from ARP to the Hybrid Plan as being a significant cost to the system. However, please read the attached letter from the SEBAC Attorney to the Chairs of the Appropriations Committee, explaining why this is NOT TRUE. The Comptroller reimburses the higher education institutions for the full cost of fringe benefits for employees paid out of the block grant (i.e. the Governor’s proposal).

We can feel neither comforted by, nor confident in, the leadership of President Gray. He remains focussed on his obviously failed Transform 2020 initiative. Further, we have learned that the System Office is withholding $40 million dollars of the Governor’s proposed block grant for the Community Colleges for itself. Dr. Gray is solving his own budget crisis – one that results from a bloated system office bureaucracy and his continued mismanagement – by forcing a budget crisis upon our colleges.

April 2nd, 2015

Posted In: Political Action, SEBAC

The new “Governor’s Scholarship Program” was enacted as part of the State Budget Implementer Bill, House Bill 6706. Below is the text of Line T678 of the House Bill 6706 which shows the amounts in FY14 and FY15 that will be allocated to the scholarship ($42M and $43.6M).  Also attached below is the text of Sections 179 -182 of House bill 6706 which sets forth the guidelines and procedures for the implementation of the program. The 4C’s, with leadership and guidance from the Financial Aide Council, worked hard to ensure that the program also applies to part-time students; and the text of House Bill 6706 does indeed included part-time students. Special thanks to our lobbyist, Bob Shea, who keeps track of all the goings-on at the Capitol and helps the 4C’s be so effective.

T678 Governor’s Scholarship

42,011,398

43,623,498

 

Sec. 179. Subsection (f) of section 4-89 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2013):

(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to appropriations to the Office of Higher Education for student financial assistance for [the scholarship program established under section 10a-169, or for the high technology graduate scholarship program established under section 10a-170a,] the Governor’s Scholarship program established under section 182 of this act, or to the Board of Regents for Higher Education for Connecticut higher education centers of excellence established under section 10a-25h, to the Office of Higher Education for the minority advancement program established under subsection (b) of section 10a-11, to the Board of Regents for Higher Education for the high technology doctoral fellowship program established under section 10a-25n, or to the operating funds of the constituent units of the state system of higher education established pursuant to sections 10a-105, 10a-99 and 10a-77. Such appropriations shall not lapse until the end of the fiscal year succeeding the fiscal year of the appropriation except that centers of excellence appropriations deposited by the Board of Regents for Higher Education in the Endowed Chair Investment Fund, established under section 10a-20a, shall not lapse but shall be held permanently in the Endowed Chair Investment Fund and any moneys remaining in higher education operating funds of the constituent units of the state system of higher education shall not lapse but shall be held permanently in such funds. On or before September first, annually, the Office of Higher Education and Board of Regents for Higher Education shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and the budgets of state agencies, through the Office of Fiscal Analysis, concerning the amount of each such appropriation carried over from the preceding fiscal year.

Sec. 180. Section 10a-161 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2013):

The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education shall: (1) Establish state-wide policy pertaining to student financial assistance; [under sections 10a-163 and 10a-167 to 10a-169, inclusive;] (2) establish procedure by regulation, for the award of financial assistance under [sections] section 10a-167 and [10a-169] section 182 of this act; (3) review and approve applications for financial assistance under [sections 10a-163,] section 10a-168 and [10a-169] section 182 of this act; (4) receive and review records of all financial assistance granted pursuant to section 10a-167; (5) increase the availability of the state financial assistance programs to all segments of the state population, with significant attention to those with special needs; and (6) assist financial aid officers at institutions of higher education and secondary school guidance counselors in becoming better informed about matters concerning student financial assistance affairs. [The Board of Regents for Higher Education shall appoint a seven-member advisory committee on student financial assistance matters. At least one member shall be a financial aid officer at a public institution of higher education; at least one member shall be a financial aid officer at an independent institution of higher education; at least one member shall be a Connecticut student from a public institution of higher education in the state; at least one member shall be a Connecticut student from an independent college or university in the state; and, at least one member shall be a public secondary school guidance counselor.]

Sec. 181. Section 10a-168 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2013):

If the [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education determines that no approved program of teacher education within the state is available for the preparation of teachers of children requiring special education as defined in part V of chapter 164, said [board of regents] office may provide scholarship aid for such undergraduate and graduate students as it may designate to attend approved programs in institutions in other states. The [board] office may determine the amount of such scholarship aid in each case. [, without regard to the limitations of section 10a-169.] In order to be eligible for such scholarship aid, any applicant shall agree to teach children requiring special education in Connecticut for at least three years.

Sec. 182. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2013) (a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Family contribution” means the expected family contribution for educational costs as computed from the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid;

(2) “Full-time or part-time undergraduate student” means a student who is enrolled at an institution of higher education in a course of study leading to such student’s first associate or bachelor degree and who is carrying, for a full-time student, twelve or more semester credit hours, or, for a part-time student, between six and eleven semester credit hours at such institution of higher education;

(3) “Independent institution of higher education” means a nonprofit institution established in this state (A) that has degree-granting authority in this state; (B) that has its main campus located in this state; (C) that is not included in the Connecticut system of public higher education; and (D) whose primary function is not the preparation of students for religious vocation;

(4) “Public institution of higher education” means the constituent units of the state system of higher education identified in subdivisions (1) to (4), inclusive, of section 10a-1 of the general statutes;

(5) “Eligible educational costs” means the tuition and required fees for an individual student that are published by each institution of higher education participating in the grant program established under this section, plus a fixed amount for required books and educational supplies as determined by the Office of Higher Education.

(b) The state, acting through the Office of Higher Education, shall establish the Governor’s Scholarship program to annually make need-based financial aid available for eligible educational costs for Connecticut residents enrolled at Connecticut’s public and independent institutions of higher education as full-time or part-time undergraduate students beginning with new or transfer students in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. Any award made to a student in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, under the capitol scholarship grant program, established under section 10a-169 of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to January 1, 2013, the Connecticut aid to public college students grant program, established under section 10a-164a of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to January 1, 2013, Connecticut aid to Charter Oak, established under subsection (c) of section 10a-164a of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to January 1, 2013, or the Connecticut independent college student grant program, established under section 10a-36 of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to January 1, 2013, shall be offered under the Governor’s Scholarship program and be renewable for the life of the original award, provided such student meets and continues to meet the need and academic standards established for purposes of the program under which such student received the original award.

(c) Within available appropriations, the Governor’s Scholarship program shall be comprised of a need and merit-based grant, a need-based grant, a Charter Oak grant, and a performance incentive pool. The need and merit-based grant shall be funded at not less than twenty per cent of available appropriations. The need-based grant shall be funded at up to eighty per cent of available appropriations. The Charter Oak grant shall be not less than one hundred thousand dollars of available appropriations. The incentive pool shall be not less than two and one-half per cent of available appropriations. There shall be an administrative allowance based on one-quarter of one per cent of the available appropriations, but not less than one hundred thousand dollars. Not less than thirty-eight per cent of the annual appropriation shall be allocated to the independent institutions of higher education for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, and not less than thirty-six per cent of such appropriation shall be allocated to such institutions for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

(d) The Governor’s Scholarship need and merit-based grant shall be available to any Connecticut resident who is a full-time or part-time undergraduate student at any public or independent institution of higher education beginning in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The Office of Higher Education shall determine eligibility by financial need based on family contribution and eligibility by merit based on either previous high school academic achievement or performance on standardized academic aptitude tests. The Office of Higher Education shall make awards according to a sliding scale, annually determined by said office, up to a maximum family contribution and based on available appropriations and eligible students. The Governor’s Scholarship need and merit-based grant shall be awarded in a higher amount than the need-based grant awarded pursuant to subsection (e) of this section. Recipients of the need and merit-based grant shall not be eligible to receive an additional need-based award. The accepting institution of higher education shall disburse sums awarded under such grant for payment of the student’s eligible educational costs.

(e) The Governor’s Scholarship need-based grant shall be available to any Connecticut resident who is a full-time or part-time undergraduate student at any public or independent institution of higher education beginning in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The Office of Higher Education shall determine eligibility based on family contribution. The amount of the annual appropriation to be allocated to each institution of higher education shall be determined by its actual eligible enrollment based on family contribution during the fiscal year one year prior to the grant year. Participating institutions of higher education shall make awards according to a sliding scale, annually determined by the Office of Higher Education, up to a maximum family contribution and based on available appropriations and the number of eligible students. Each participating institution of higher education shall expend all of the moneys received under the Governor’s Scholarship program as direct financial assistance only for eligible educational costs based on the sliding scale determined by the Office of Higher Education and the maximum award amounts set by said office.

(f) Participating institutions of higher education shall annually provide the Office of Higher Education with data and reports on all Connecticut students who applied for financial aid, including, but not limited to, students receiving a Governor’s Scholarship grant, in a form and at a time determined by said office. If an institution of higher education fails to submit information to the Office of Higher Education as directed, such institution shall be prohibited from participating in the scholarship program in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which such institution failed to submit such information. Each participating institution of higher education shall maintain, for a period of not less than three years, records substantiating the reported number of Connecticut students and documentation utilized by the institution of higher education in determining eligibility of the student grant recipients. Such records shall be subject to audit. Funds not obligated by an institution of higher education shall be returned by February fifteenth in the fiscal year the grant was made to the Office of Higher Education for reallocation. Financial aid provided to Connecticut residents under this program shall be designated as a grant from the Governor’s Scholarship program.

(g) The Governor’s Scholarship Charter Oak grant shall be available to any full-time or part-time undergraduate student enrolled in Charter Oak State College beginning in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The Office of Higher Education shall allocate any appropriation to Charter Oak State College to be used to provide grants for eligible educational costs to residents of this state who demonstrate substantial financial need and who are matriculated in a degree program at Charter Oak State College. Individual awards shall not exceed a student’s calculated eligible educational costs. Financial aid provided to Connecticut residents under this program shall be designated as a grant from the Governor’s Scholarship program.

(h) The Governor’s Scholarship incentive pool shall be created to encourage retention and completion for any student who (1) receives the Governor’s Scholarship need-based grant, (2) returns with sufficient credits to complete such student’s associate degree in two years or bachelor degree in four years, and (3) exceeds the minimum satisfactory academic performance standards as determined by the Office of Higher Education. Such student shall be eligible beginning in the second year of such student’s need-based grant. The pool shall be distributed to participating institutions of higher education based on eligibility as determined by the Office of Higher Education.

(i) In administering the Governor’s Scholarship program, the Office of Higher Education shall develop and utilize fiscal procedures designed to ensure accountability of the public funds expended. Such procedures shall include provisions for compliance audits that shall be conducted by the Office of Higher Education on any institution of higher education that participates in the program. Commencing with the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, and biennially thereafter, each such institution of higher education shall submit the results of an audit done by an independent certified public accountant for each year of participation in the program. Any institution of higher education determined by the Office of Higher Education not to be in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Governor’s Scholarship program shall be ineligible to receive funds under the program for the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the institution of higher education was determined not to be in substantial compliance. Funding shall be restored when the Office of Higher Education determines that the institution of higher education has returned to substantial compliance.

June 13th, 2013

Posted In: Home, Political Action

The SEIU CT State Council is inviting all SEIU members to join them in campaigning door-to-door for Obama in New Hampshire.
4Cs members who want to come, please reserve your seat at least a couple of days ahead of time. Contact Bill Meyerson at  bmeyerson@seiu1199ne.org

Saturday, October 27th buses to New Hampshire (probably Nashua or Manchester)

Bus 1 leaves from:
  • Trumbull Park and Ride CT-8 and Penny Lane at 6AM
  • Long Wharf Theater lot, New Haven, Exit 46 off I-95 at 6:30 AM
  • 1199 office, 77 Huyshope Ave., Hartford 7:30 AM
Bus 2 Leaves from:
  • Waterbury Park and Ride of I-84 exit 23 at 6:30 AM
  • 1199 office, 77 Huyshope Ave.,  Hartford at 7:30 AM
Buses get back to CT after 9PM

October 22nd, 2012

Posted In: Home, Political Action

There are a number of bills affecting the community colleges that we are following:

  • House Bill 5028: AN ACT CONCERNING THE ALIGNMENT OF COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS WITH COLLEGE CURRICULUM
    This bill requires alignment of common (High School) core standards with college-level programs at Connecticut institutions of higher education. A substitute bill was approved by the Higher Education Committee, Education Committee, and Appropriations Committee. The substitute bill changes the grade level for college readiness assessment from grade 11 to grade 10.
  • House Bill 5030: AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GENERAL EDUCATION CORE OF COURSES
    This bill calls for seamless student transfer from Community Colleges to the State University System via a general education core of courses of at least 30 academic credits to be implemented by July 1, 2013. Faculty members from the affected higher education institutions will be included in the development and implementation of a general education core of courses. The bill passed the House unanimously after an amendment removed the University of Connecticut from the bill.
  • Senate Bill 39: AN ACT CONCERNING REQUIREMENTS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS
    This clarifies the staff qualification requirements for early childhood education programs serving infants, toddlers or preschool age children. Substitute language requires all individuals in the program who have primary responsibility for a classroom of children to meet staff qualifications requirements. The substitute bill was approved by the Higher Ed Committee and sent to the Senate floor for action.
  • Senate Bill 40:AN ACT CONCERNING OPEN ACCESS TO COLLEGE LEVEL COURSES
    This allows all students open access to entry level courses at the college level and prohibits Connecticut institutions of higher education from forcing any student to enroll in a remedial course. Substitute language details concepts such as using “multiple commonly accepted measures of skill level” to assess student’s needs and to create intensive, embedded support while the student is in an introductory course. It calls for development of these intensive programs, as well as, college readiness testing in high schools. The Higher Ed Committee approved the substitute bill and sent it to the floor of the Senate for action.
  • Senate Bill 42: AN ACT CONCERNING THE SELECTION PROCESS FOR MEMBERS OF THE FACULTY ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
    This bill clarifies the composition of the committee and the means and manner under which elections will be conducted. The language approved by the committee allows for the election of three faculty and one administrative representative from each of the systems. It also specifies that unions are not required to be involved in the election process. Thirdly, it adds the words “fair and open” with regard to the system-wide election of faculty senate members. The Higher Ed Committee approved the bill and sent it to the Senate floor for action.
  • Senate Bill 241: AN ACT ALLOWING ADJUNCT FACULTY MEMBERS OF THE REGIONAL COMMUNITY-TECHNICAL COLLEGES TO WAIVE MEMBERSHIP IN A STATE RETIREMENT PLAN
    The bill permits adjunct community college faculty members to waive membership in a Connecticut retirement plan just as adjunct faculty members employed by the Connecticut State University System and the University of Connecticut are permitted to do. The Higher Ed Committee and the Labor Committee approved the bill and sent it to the Senate floor for action.

April 10th, 2012

Posted In: Political Action

The Connecticut State Council of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced their endorsement of Chris Murphy to be Connecticut’s next United States Senator.  Including the 4C’s, CT SEIU is made up of six affiliated local unions representing more than 55,000 workers and retirees. SEIU is Connecticut’s largest union.
“Chris Murphy has been a champion for working families since his days as a state representative,” said Paul Filson, executive director of the state council. “While he has been in Congress, he has been a leader in supporting the 99 percent. SEIU is confident that Murphy will continue to lead as a member of the Senate and SEIU is enthusiastic and committed to helping Murphy win both the primary and general elections to get him there.”

“From the beginning of my public service, I’ve stood with Connecticut’s workers and fought to create jobs and make our economy work for everybody” said Murphy. “To have SEIU and the 55,000 workers and retirees they represent across Connecticut join our team is an extraordinary boost for our growing grassroots campaign, and I’m honored to have them in our corner.”

The State Council of SEIU includes:

  • Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges/SEIU Local 1973
  • Connecticut District/SEIU Local 32BJ
  • CSEA SEIU Local 2001
  • Connecticut Employees Union Independent/SEIU Local 511
  • International Brotherhood of Police Officers/SEIU Local 731
  • New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199/SEIU

Since announcing his candidacy last year, Murphy has continued to build a grassroots campaign that has grown stronger by the day. He has received the endorsement of the Working Families Party, the Connecticut Education Association, Connecticut Fire Fighters, United Auto Workers, Connecticut Laborers, the Connecticut State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Communications Workers of America, the League of Conservation Voters, Connecticut’s entire Congressional House delegation, Attorney General George Jepsen, Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, dozens of state Senators and state Representatives and over 8,000 Democratic and progressive activists from all across Connecticut.

April 9th, 2012

Posted In: Home, Political Action

See More Photos from the Event

4C’s Members joined with more than 200 SEIU activists for a political conference that featured the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and several Democratic candidates for Congress. These discussions with the candidates will help decide who will be best for 4C’s members, our students, and our colleges and eventually may lead to a union endorsement.

The conference, held on January 14 at Central Connecticut State University, started with presentations by the three Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate: Susan Bysiewicz, Chris Murphy, and William Tong (photo above).

Participants then broke down by Congressional District to hear from candidates for Congress, including Congressmen Joe Courtney (2nd CD) and Jim Himes (4th CD). The most lively discussion of the day involved the candidates running for the open 5th congressional district. Three Democratic candidates sought the SEIU endorsement, including Elizabeth Esty, Dan Roberti, and Speaker of the House Chris Donovan (photo right).

The day ended with a visit from Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman.

December 22nd, 2011

Posted In: Home, Political Action

November 16, our international union, the 2.1 million members united in SEIU endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry sent members the following message:

> Click here to get involved in SEIU’s campaign to Re-elect President Obama.

President Obama is the only candidate for president who shares our vision of America as a land of opportunity for everyone. We need a leader willing to fight for  the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.

You’ve probably seen how hard it is to get the concerns of working people taken seriously in our political process. Here’s why:

Our economy and democracy have been taken over by the wealthiest one percent.

These bankers and CEOs have used their wealth and excessive political influence to treat our state and federal governments like their personal cash drawer – spending lavishly on elections and then pressuring legislators to give them even more instead of creating jobs. It shows in the results.

Just  last month, congressional supporters of the one percent blocked President Obama’s latest job proposals. They claimed that we couldn’t afford to invest in creating good jobs in the United States and then suggested another round of tax cuts for wealthy corporations and the one percent. I have a word for that: ridiculous.

We know what’s really important. We know that after a decade of tax breaks for the rich and out-of-control gambling on Wall Street, things have gotten much harder for working Americans. We know that if these problems aren’t taken care of now, the next generation will have it even worse.

We know that we need to create good jobs here at home so that workers can support their families,  young people can get a good start in life, and everyone can  have a  shot at the American dream.

We know that health care, elder care and other vital services must be available for all our families.

We know there needs to be a pathway to citizenship for every immigrant worker. We know that something has to be done.

President Obama is looking to turn things around, but he needs help from all of us to be heard over his wealthy opponents, people who seem to believe that the only thing wrong with the economy is that they have to share it.

From now until Election Day, next November, we need to dedicate ourselves to this goal. We will knock on doors, we will talk to our friends and neighbors and coworkers, and we will fight shoulder to shoulder alongside working families across this nation to show the one percent that they aren’t the only ones willing to fight for America’s future.

> Click here to get involved in SEIU’s campaign to Re-elect President Obama.

November 18th, 2011

Posted In: Home, Political Action

September 27th, 2011

Posted In: Political Action

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