The Douglas and Ozark Counties Retired Teachers and Other School Personnel met for lunch Tuesday, March 18 at Krazy Daze. Those present were Marie Bristol, Julane Williams, Norma Stillings, Eva Painter, Colleen Lakey, Ruth Evans, Thelma Chisam, Kay Transano, Virginia Parsley, Betty Moore and their guest, Mark Henry.
Marie Bristol, RTA President had asked Middle School Principal, Mark Henry to give insight into the Ava Public Schools Safety Initiative ballot question at the April 8 school election. Although the staff and community do make the safety of our school children a priority, there are trainings and environment changes that could be made to make the schools in Ava even safer.
Marie handed out the new 2014 program books. She had received the certificate of affiliation with MRTA with proof of non-profit status, and that the Income tax statement had been sent in.
Marie had made the changes to the scholarship application form for education majors. The changes had been approved last year to go into effect in 2014. She has sent forms to the high school counselors at Ava, Gainesville, Bakersfield, Luna, and Dora. Two Douglas and Ozark Counties RTA scholarships of $200 each would be offered to one senior from each county. The applications are due April 12.
Marie also expressed concern that certain groups were still trying to make changes to the Public School Retirement System that would impact future retirees. Those proposed changes might not hurt the older retirees, but new and future retirees could see significant loss of benefits. Current educators who have about 13% withheld from their paychecks each month may be tempted to listen to those who suggest those changes; but if less money goes into the system, less money can be paid out in benefits. Marie discussed the need to stay up on Legislative happenings and to be ready to respond when there is a possible threat. That is why membership in the MRTA and the local MRTA units is important.
Marie went over the instructions to committee chairs. Our community service activity this year will be to collect “Box Top,” Best Choice, and Campbell Soup labels for our schools. We are to keep track of our volunteer time and contributions to the food bank or Meals on Wheels.
Norma Stillings announced that April is “Go Blue” Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. She asked that members show their support for this effort by wearing blue on “Blue Sunday” April 6.
The next Douglas and Ozark Counties RTA meeting is planned for Tuesday, April 15 at Krazy Daze’s.