On an unseasonably mild November evening in North Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene Education Association held a crucial, but sometimes overlooked meeting. CEA’s building representatives from all around the district gathered at the IEA Region 1 office to catch up on important issues facing the local association and its members.
Under the measured leadership of four-year CEA President Derek Kohles, the meeting was a smooth, efficient exchange of information, ideas, concerns and positive stories. Kohles brought up a number of issues pertinent to the entire group, then went around the room giving each building representative a chance to report out on activities and issues from their workplace. Among the topics discussed were:
- Substitute and student teachers being assigned duties well beyond the scope of their employment status.
- Significant discrepancies in teacher compensation between Coeur d’Alene and Spokane Valley in nearby Washington.
- Master Teacher Premiums and IEA trainings to help members get their maximum compensation.
- Membership updates.
- Balloting for delegates to the upcoming IEA Delegate Assembly and Annual Meeting, as well as the NEA Representative Assembly.
- Opportunities for SPARKS training aimed at early career educators.
- A recap of the just-concluded national election and a brief preview of the upcoming Idaho legislative session.
- Getting an early start on negotiations with the district and making sure that members are engaged in the process and attend bargaining sessions.
The CEA building representative meeting wrapped up in about an hour, when the group departed with both words of encouragement and action items to work on before the next meeting. This is only a snapshot, but it presents a picture of a thriving local association—where communication, including meetings like this one, plays a pivotal role in their success.
For more information about becoming a building representative, please contact your local association president. Building reps are an extremely important conduit between IEA/ local association leaders and members throughout the state. This critical position can be an excellent first step in becoming more active in your professional association.