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School year ends, and CSEA keeps going strong

June, 2015

It is hard to believe another school year has come to a close. The students we work so hard to educate and nurture now advance to new grade levels or graduate and move on to college. I know that it’s bittersweet as we are driven to help our students succeed, and we are often sad when it comes time for them to move on in their life’s journey. We’ve also celebrated our colleagues who have chosen to move on to a well-deserved retirement. 

CSEA has a proud tradition of recognizing and honoring the work of our members. Five Member of the Year winners from across the state are chosen annually. We honor these members at conference during special presentations and with a luncheon for them and their guests. Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, also recognizes classified employees of the year with six awardees. CSEA was proud to have all those awarded come from CSEA chapters this year. We are also very proud of the classified employee who was honored by the Community College Chancellors office. The work we do as classified employees in every district, community college, county office of education, and joint powers authority truly inspires and engages our students, the leaders of tomorrow.

Our ACE (Appreciating Classified Employees) program recently took place during Classified School Employee Week. Ten chapters are chosen annually to participate in the program, which has school board members/trustees, superintendents, administrators and community leaders become a classified employee for the day. This is an excellent opportunity for those who make important decisions in our districts to truly understand the work we do. I want to thank Whittier City Chapter 62 President Jack Leber for inviting me to his chapter’s program. I toured and saw the various participants hard at work. I had the pleasure of joining member Robert Sarabia and Superintendent Ron Carruth as we climbed onto the roof of one of the schools to get a lesson in heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance. I know everyone who participates finds the ACE program to be a worthwhile experience.

As I write this, the governor approved the state’s budget spending plan. This spending plan continues to provide significant investment in K–12 and community colleges, as well as providing slightly more spending for preschool, childcare and the California State University system. The budget also implements the first-ever California Earned Income Tax Credit to help the state’s lowest-paid working families. We should see money coming into schools to help with a multitude of programs and to secure jobs. We have begun to see salaries increased and healthcare caps raised in numerous chapters, as well as jobs being restored. We endured almost a decade of cuts, furloughs, no raises and an erosion of health benefits. Finally, education is being paid back what it is owed.

Conference is upon us. If you will be joining us, I look forward to seeing you there. If not, check csea.com for updates throughout the week. I wish each of you a safe and restful summer. Thank you for all you do.

In strength and unity,
Michael Bilbrey, Association President


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Michael Bilbrey

Association President Michael Bilbrey