Brenson discusses budget cuts

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alabama Retired Teachers Association coordinator Otis Brenson discusses possible budget cuts with the Dallas County Retired Teachers at their final meeting of the year. -- Chris Wasson

Dallas County’s retired teachers held their final meeting Tuesday at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Otis Brenson, coordinator for the Alabama Retired Teachers Association, was on hand to speak to the group about what is in store for retired teachers as budget cuts for the state threaten to possibly take away money from the retired teachers.

“I’m not here to tell you anything you don’t know already,” Brenson said. “But I would like to talk to you about the history of our organization. Without a good knowledge of where we were, it’s hard to go forward.”

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Some of the possibilities include a 5 percent budget decrease in the Phip A, but one of the other issues is the lessening of school days in the year.

“People think that teachers make their money all during the year, like on summer and vacation,” Brenson said. “But, in reality, they are paid by the number of days they work. A reduction of five days of school can be as much as $2,500-$3,500 in loss of money.”

The Senate Bill 310, also known as the “Students First Act of 2011,” which reduces those eligible for tenure, only allows for a 15-day defense of termination cases and teacher transfers.

“Tenure was set up so you couldn’t fire a teacher for political reasons,” said Brenson “I hope that doesn’t change.”

Brenson also charged the attendees to grow their organization so they wouldn’t be left without a voice when budget cuts dealing with retired teachers are proposed.

“Right now we have about 26,000 people,” he said. “But that’s not even 50 percent of the number of retired teacher. We have to do a better job of getting to teachers after they retire so our voice is stronger.” Chapter president Carrie Grider said the group was glad to hear what Brenson said.

“”We needed to hear that and just they way you said it,” Grider said. “We appricate him coming. Each of us has a fair now to get people to join with us.”