Gov. Nathan Deal Targets Professional Association Payroll Deductions
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Gov. Nathan Deal's office sent an open records request to all Georgia school districts seeking information on the dues paid by payroll deduction during 2016 to PAGE and GAE. School districts allow payroll deductions for the convenience of educators for a variety of reasons. Most districts allow payroll deductions for voluntary benefits costs, other dues and contributions, including credit union accounts, United Way, education foundations, and other community services.
Membership association dues are considered by most districts to be a voluntary benefit chosen by educators for professional liability insurance and other services. This is no different than payroll deductions for other voluntary benefits, including life insurance, dental or eye care plans, flexible spending accounts, pre-paid legal services for family members or even pet insurance.
PAGE believes that the governor's interest in payroll deductions is to consider proposing legislation either to eliminate or restrict professional association dues or to mandate fees for administrative services to process dues through payroll deduction. Targeted legislation like this would send a clear signal to Georgia's educators regarding Gov. Deal's displeasure with educators and their advocates for speaking up about the issues that matter to them. And, any attempt to dictate how local districts administer their day-to-day payroll processes would be an unnecessary and unwarranted state overreach into the administrative decision-making of local boards of education and superintendents. It also would serve as further distraction to educators from their focus on the learning needs of their students.
PAGE is sharing this information with you so that you are aware of this issue should it come up this legislative session. Gov. Deal apparently does not approve of educators or their advocates speaking out effectively about the things that impact their students, schools, careers and local decision-making. When educators voiced disagreement with the idea of pay-for-performance and professional evaluations tied to state assessments and locally developed assessments, his response was to attempt to undercut professional associations by offering "free" liability insurance paid for by taxpayers. (Read HERE why PAGE membership is still an educator's best choice for professional liability coverage and other services.) Now, because many educators and their professional associations are effectively fighting back against his school takeover amendment, it appears that Gov. Deal wants to eliminate, restrict or mandate fees for districts to provide the most convenient method for educators to pay their association dues through payroll deduction.
PAGE's legislative team and membership services team will keep you up-to-date on any developments regarding the governor's efforts.
Open Records Request Submitted to Georgia School Districts
From: Riley, Chris
Subject: Open records request
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2016 9:56 AM
To: (School District Superintendent)
Cc: Teague, Ryan
I hope this email finds you well. I am emailing you to obtain the following information we are compiling from all school systems statewide. Once compiled, a full copy of the findings will be available for your review at OPB. Under the Georgia Open Records Act § 50.18.70 et seq, the Governor's Office is requesting the following information from each local school system:
1. Records of dues collected by the school system for the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) and Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE):
a- total dollars collected per month for Fiscal Year 2016;
b- total dollars collected per fiscal year for 2016.
2. Does the school system charge an administrative fee to collect the dues for PAGE and GAE? If so, what is the amount of the administrative fee?
As provided for by Georgia law, please provide this information electronically. If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform our office. Please submit the information to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Georgia Open Records Act requires a response time within three business days. If you are unable to meet this requirement, please indicate accordingly. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and attention the request.
Chief of Staff
Governor Nathan Deal
Get Schooled Blog Highlights Issue, Value of Association Advocacy
Atlanta Journal Constitution's Maureen Downey noted the governor's request and the value to educators of PAGE and professional association advocacy in her Get Schooled blog on Oct. 21.