CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of this association shall be the Burlington Education Association (BEA).
ARTICLE II – PURPOSES
SECTION A – To work for the welfare of students, the advancement of education, and the improvement of instructional opportunities for all.
SECTION B – To develop and promote the adoption of such ethical practices, personnel policies, and standards of ethical practices, personnel policies, and standards of preparation and participation as mark a profession.
SECTION C – To unify and strengthen the education profession and to secure and maintain salaries, retirement, tenure, professional and sick leave, and other working conditions necessary to support the profession.
SECTION D – To enable members to speak with a common voice on matters pertaining to the education profession and to present their individual and common interest before the Burlington Board of School Commissioners and other legal authorities.
SECTION E – To lease or hold property, to administer funds and to employ a staff for the attainment of these purposes.
ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
SECTION A – Active membership in the Association shall be open to all professional personnel employed in the schools of Burlington whose positions are covered in the recognition clause of the Association’s collective bargaining agreement(s), and who agree to abide by the Vermont Agency of Education Code of Ethics; and shall be open to all education support professionals (ESP) in the schools of Burlington whose positions are covered by the Association’s collective bargaining agreement(s). The Burlington Education Association will accept as members only those who are members of the Vermont-NEA and the National Education Association.
SECTION B – Active membership shall continue until member leaves the school system, resigns from the Association, fails to pay membership dues, or his/her membership is revoked. To terminate payroll deductions the Burlington Education Association must be notified in writing by the last day of the current school year, in order to be in effect for the following September.
ARTICLE IV – OFFICERS
The officers of the Association shall consist of a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a treasurer. At the discretion of the membership, co-presidents may be elected to split the duties of president.
ARTICLE V – EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
SECTION A – The Executive Board shall consist of the officers of the Association, an Educational Support Professional Chief Negotiator, Teacher Chief Negotiator, Communications Chair, Grievance Chair, Community Relations Chair, and building representatives. This Board shall be the executive authority of the Association. Building representatives shall be elected in the following ways: two teacher representatives per elementary school, three teacher representatives per middle school, four teacher representatives at Burlington High School, one teacher representative at the Burlington Technical Center, one representative for On Top and Horizons, one representative for Early Elementary Education, and one ESP representative per school.
SECTION B – Any member of the Association may attend its meetings.
SECTION C – The Executive Committee appoints the Educational Support Professional Chief Negotiator, Teacher Chief Negotiator, Grievance Chair, Communications Chair, and the Community Relations Chair. The officers and building representatives will be elected by the membership.
ARTICLE VI – AFFILIATION
The Association shall affiliate with the National Education Association under its rules.
ARTICLE VII – FISCAL YEAR
The Association fiscal year will be from September 1st until August 31st.
ARTICLE VIII – POWERS
The Association shall have all the powers necessary to provide activities to conduct its purposes including, but are not limited to, the power to collect, hold and disseminate information consistent with its purpose, and the power to collect dues and disperse funds for the membership.
ARTICLE IX – AMENDMENTS
This Constitution may be amended in the following sequences:
SECTION A – Amendments shall be presented to the Executive Committee at a regular meeting. At the next regular meeting, two-thirds of the committee members present shall approve the proposed amendments.
SECTION B – Proposed amendments shall be made available to members in each building for at least two weeks prior to vote.
SECTION C – Amendment vote will be by ballot at any general meeting. The constitution will be amended by two-thirds of those members present and voting.
ARTICLE I – MEETINGS
SECTION A – The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall routinely meet once a month during the school year at the call of the President or at the request of three members of the Committee.
SECTION B – Annual Meeting
The annual meetings of the Burlington Education Association shall be held in May or June. Elections and adoption of local dues shall take place
SECTION C – Membership Meetings
Membership meetings may be called from time to time by the President to discuss professional issues. The President also shall call a general meeting under any of the following conditions:
Upon written request of five members of the Executive Committee.
Upon written request of ten building representatives.
Upon petition of ten percent of the general membership.
To vote upon amendments to the constitution/ by-laws.
ARTICLE II – QUORUM
A majority of members of the Executive Committee shall be the quorum for the Executive Committee. A majority of members present at a meeting shall be the quorum for the membership meeting.
ARTICLE III – POWER AND QUALIFICATION OF OFFICERS, CHAIRS AND REPRESENTATIVES
SECTION A – President
The President shall preside over meetings of the Executive Committee and membership. Under no circumstances shall an officer or representative be discriminated against because his/her views differ from those of the majority or because the representative is expressing the views of his/her constituency. In such an event, the president shall intervene to stop such discrimination. The President shall appoint committees with approval of the Executive Committee, be an ex-officio member of all standing committees, and shall be the executive officer of the Association. The President shall represent the Association before the public either personally or through delegates, and shall perform all other functions usually attributed to this office. Officer must have been a member of the Burlington Education Association for at least one year prior to their election and shall maintain membership in good standing during their term of service.
SECTION B – Vice President
The Vice President shall perform the functions usually attributed to the office. He/she shall assume the duties of the president when he/she is absent or incapacitated. He/she shall work closely with one or more standing committees as the President may suggest. Officer must have been a member of the Burlington Education Association for at least one year prior to their election and shall maintain membership in good standing during their term of service.
SECTION C – Secretary
The Secretary shall keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the Executive Committee, the Annual Meeting, and the general meetings, and shall assist the President with Association correspondence. He/ she shall keep accurate records of attendance of members of the Executive Committee. Officer must have been a member of the Burlington Education Association for at least one year prior to their election and shall maintain membership in good standing during their term of service.
SECTION D – Treasurer
The Treasurer shall hold the funds of the Association and disburse them upon authorization of the Executive Committee. He/she shall be responsible for maintaining a roll of members. He/she shall keep accounts of receipts and disbursements, shall report to each meeting of the Executive Committee and shall keep the President informed of the financial condition of the Association. He/she shall be responsible for filling reports, with the Internal Revenue Service and other tax departments, the Secretary of State, and the Vermont State Treasurer. He/she shall be bonded by the Association. Officer must have been a member of the Burlington Education Association for at least one year prior to their election and shall maintain membership in good standing during their term of service.
SECTION E – Building Representatives
Building Representatives shall represent the Association on a building-level, assist individual members with questions relating to the master agreement, complete the first step of the grievance procedure as outlined by the master agreement, represent members in disciplinary meetings with administrators, and assist the Association with membership recruitment, engagement and general communication to members.
If the majority of the school membership feels that it is not being adequately represented by its Representative the school may request the President bring the matter to the Executive Committee.
The Building Representative, as chairperson, shall call meetings of the Association members to discuss Association business and report accurately to the Executive Committee. Representatives shall be responsible for soliciting views of their constituents and reporting accurate information back to the Executive Committee.
SECTION F – Chief Negotiators
The Chief Negotiator shall preside over the Negotiations Committee oversee preparation and implementation of bargaining proposals, and represent the association at Vermont-NEA regional bargaining council meetings. There shall be a teacher chief negotiator and an ESP chief negotiator.
SECTION G – Grievance Committee Chair
The Grievance Committee Chair shall preside over the Grievance Committee oversee the processing of grievances in accordance with the master agreement and maintain accurate records of individual grievances.
SECTION H – Communications Committee Chair
The Communications Committee Chair shall preside over the Communications Committee and oversee the internal communication to members including, but not limited to, preparing Ten-Minute Meeting agendas for building representatives, website maintenance, and maintenance of membership email lists: personal and professional.
SECTION I – Community Relations Chair
The Community Relations Chair shall preside over the Community Relations Committee and oversee external communications from the BEA and the community, monitor the media, and develop press releases. The chair will coordinate regular member representation at Board of School Commissioners meetings.
ARTICLE IV – TERMS, SUCCESSIONS, AND REMOVAL OF OFFICERS, CHAIRS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
SECTION A – The officers and representatives shall serve for two years. President and Secretary shall be elected in even years. Vice President and Treasurer shall be elected in odd years. Building representatives from the elementary school shall be elected in even years, and building representatives from the high school, middle schools, technical center, On Top, Horizons, and EEE shall be elected on the odd year.
SECTION B – Whenever the office of Vice-President, Secretary, or Treasurer shall become vacant between elections, the vacancy shall be made public and the remaining members of the Executive Committee shall choose a replacement to serve pro-temporo until the annual meeting.
SECTION C – Whenever a majority of the Executive Committee shall agree that an officer, chair or representative has been grossly negligent of duties defined in the By-Laws, is incapacitated, or has missed three consecutive meetings, it shall recommend to the Executive Committee that the position be declared vacant. If two-thirds of the Committee l confirm the recommendation, the committee will follow the vacancy process in this article.
SECTION D – Terms begin July 1.
SECTION E – Stipends
All positions on the Executive Committee shall receive a stipend as determined by the Executive Committee. The President and Vice-President shall receive at least a stipend equal to annual membership dues (national, state and local). The Treasurer and Secretary shall receive at a stipend of equal to half of annual membership dues (national, state and local). The Chief Negotiators (Teacher and ESP) shall receive at least a stipend equal to annual membership dues (national, state and local) during a bargaining year. The Grievance Chair, Communications Chair, and Community Relations Chair, shall receive at least a stipend equal to annual membership dues (national, state and local). Building Representatives shall receive at least $25 per meeting of the Executive Committee. Any Executive Committee member may decline her/his stipend and direct the BEA to donate the amount of the stipend to a non-profit with IRS 501(c)3 status of her/his choice.
ARTICLE V – POWERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
SECTION A – The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the management of the Association, approve expenditures over $150.00, and carry out policies.
SECTION B – The Executive Committee may develop workshops and training conferences for all the members.
SECTION C – The Executive Committee shall have power to employ a staff for the efficient management of the Association.
SECTION D – The Treasurer with the input of the Executive Committee prepares the annual budget.
ARTICLE VI – STANDING COMMITTEES
SECTION A – Structure
There shall be standing committees carrying the specific functions outlined below. Each committee shall have sufficient members and a chairperson, appointed by the President with approval of the Executive Committee, to represent different educational levels and appointed for overlapping terms of two years. The President and the Executive Committee shall committee, with the approval of the Executive Committee, may organize special sub-committees and task forces from the membership of the Association for specific activities. The President or his/her designee shall be a member, ex-officio, of each committee.
SECTION B – Meetings
Each committee shall choose a secretary who shall keep a continuing record of activities. Chairpersons shall report monthly to the Executive Council. During preparation of the negotiation package appropriate committees shall report their recommendations with supporting rationale to the Executive Committee for inclusion in the negotiation proposals to be presented to the Representative Council for approval.
SECTION C – Committee Titles and Duties
- Grievance Committee
In addition to the chairperson appointed by the Executive Committee, the Grievance Committee shall be composed of at least one teacher representative and one ESP representative from each level: elementary, middle, and high school. Within the time frame specified in the grievance and arbitration procedure of the contract between the Association and the Burlington Board of School Commissioners, this committee shall be responsible for guiding grievances which shall become the property of the Association beyond Level One. Before proceeding to arbitration, the Committee must have the approval of the Executive Committee. If the Committee or the Executive Committee do not support arbitration, the grievant shall be notified in writing the reasons for not pursuing arbitration.
The building representative shall serve as the advocate at the building level. The Committee and the building representative shall keep personnel aware of both their professional rights and professional responsibilities under the Contract. It shall act to protect the professional interest of the personnel responsibilities under the Contract. It shall act to protect the professional interests of the personnel and defend them against unfair or unethical procedures and practices. This Committee shall have an annual training session conducted by the NEA and/or the VT-NEA staff. The Committee shall make recommendations to the Executive Committee with supporting rationale for inclusion in the negotiation proposals. The Committee shall also study and make recommendations to the council concerning problems related to staff welfare; namely, working conditions, sick leave, professional and personal leave, retirement, and other items related to staff morale. The Committee shall be alert to any such problems that are brought before it by individual members or groups of members of the Association. The Committee shall prepare and organize their recommendations with supporting rationale and submit them to the Executive Committee for negotiation purposes.
- Political Action Committee
There will be a Political Action Committee charged to make recommendations to the Council on issues, approval of endorsements and recommendation on tax increases. In addition, they shall disseminate information on issues and candidates when appropriate. Another function of this Committee is to encourage qualified candidates to seek elections. The Committee may also function as directed by the President, the Executive Committee.
For March and Special Elections this procedure will be followed:
a. The Political Action Committee shall be empowered to decide which ot the races to recommend endorsements of candidates and issues.
b. The P.A.C. will set up a Committee to interview candidates in affected races or find information on issues.
c. The results of this Committee will be synopsized and available to the Executive Committee at least three (3) days before the meeting to vote on recommendation.
d. The vote of the Council on P.A.C. recommendation shall require a two-thirds majority.
e. Following such an endorsement, the Executive Committee may give the P.A.C. a specific charge to organize support for the endorsed candidates.
f. This synopsis will be published in the BEA-Line with the results of the Council vote.
The endorsement of issues and candidates by the BEA is meant as a service to members. Such endorsement reflects an Association statement that the endorsed issue or candidate reflects the best interest of the Association on educational issues.
- Community Relations Committee
The Community Relations Committee shall work to create a positive image for the profession image for the profession. The committee shall work with the spokesperson who is the President in preparing communication to the community and the press. It shall be responsible for working cooperatively with parents and citizens to garner support for programs and tax issues, and guiding the community in sound educational policies press releases X and the community. This Committee shall work in close association with the President and the Executive Committee. It shall establish liaison with the press and media so that the public can continually be informed of the Association’s views. Members of this committee will coordinate BEA attendance at Board meetings and monitor Board activities. The Committee shall present an educational award to a graduating senior from Burlington High School. Notice of criteria, application approval and selection are the responsibilities of this committee.
- Communications Committee
It shall be responsible for the maintenance of email lists and the preparation of emails, newsletters, and bulletins for the members. It shall prepare Ten-Minute Meeting agendas for building level meetings. It shall maintain and oversee updates to the BEA website. It shall also oversee organizing the annual BEA Heart of Education event.
- Audit Committee
The Audit Committee shall audit all accounts of the Association each year and shall report its findings for publication at the Annual Meeting of the Association in May, and request an audit every other year by Vermont NEA.
ARTICLE VII – NEGOTIATIONS
SECTION A – Negotiations Committee
The Executive Committee shall appoint all members of the teacher and ESP negotiations committees. In addition to the chairperson, each negotiations committee shall be composed of at least one representative from each level: elementary, middle, high school/tech center. There shall be one additional representative from On Top/Horizons and one teacher representative from EEE. The teacher negotiations team shall have one ESP representative liaison and vice versa.
SECTION B – Solicitation of Proposals
Standing Committee shall recommend proposals for negotiations with supporting rationale to the negotiations committee. The Executive Committee and Negotiations Committee shall seek additional recommendations from the membership. It shall be the responsibility of the negotiations committee with the assistance of the Executive Committee to develop negotiation packages within the limits specified in the Master Contract between the Burlington Education Association and the Burlington Board of School Commissioners.
SECTION C – Communications
During the period of negotiations the Negotiating Committee shall report regularly to the Executive Committee and membership. Building Representatives shall hold informational meetings regarding bargaining with members in each building during the negotiations process.
SECTION D – Ratification
The following sequential steps shall be taken to ratify the Master contract between the Burlington Board of School Commissioners and the Burlington Education Association.
The negotiations committee shall present the tentative agreement or such items as may remain unsettled, along with its recommendation for action (ratification or strike) to the Executive Committee. The negotiation committee shall be present to answer questions.
The President and Chief Negotiator shall call a membership meeting to ratify the tentative agreement. Members of all bargaining units may attend the meeting, but only members of the bargaining unit for which the tentative agreement applies shall be able to vote.
The vote shall be taken by ballot. No absentee balloting is allowed.
SECTION E – Strike Authorization
In the event that the Negotiation Team and the Executive Committee recommend that the Association withhold services from the Burlington School System, the President and Chief Negotiator shall call a membership meeting to ratify the tentative agreement. Members of all bargaining units may attend the meeting, but only members of the bargaining unit for which the tentative agreement applies shall be able to vote.
The vote shall be taken by ballot. No absentee balloting is allowed. No strike shall be authorized except by the majority vote of the members in affected bargaining unit, at a meeting called especially for the purpose.
ARTICLE VIII – ELECTIONS
SECTION A – Nominations and Voting of Officers and Building Representatives
Elections shall take place at the Annual Meeting. The Executive Committee shall notify the membership at least three months before the Annual Meeting of the positions scheduled for election that year. Building Representatives will also remind members at building level meetings leading up to the Annual Meeting of what positions are scheduled for election. The Executive Committee shall actively recruit candidates for office. Any member may run for a leadership role.
The election of officers shall be conducted in accordance with the following procedures:
A person may not be a simultaneous candidate for more than one officer position; however, she/he may run for an office and, if defeated, may run for another office or building representative position.
Nominations will be taken on the floor of the Annual Meeting. Each candidate will be given equal time to share information on her/his background and why she/he is running for the position.
Voting shall take place by ballot unless there is an uncontested candidacy. However, any member may request voting take place by ballot in an uncontested race. No absentee balloting will be allowed.
In the event there are more than two candidates for any office, then there shall be a primary election. The two candidates with the highest number of votes for each office shall then be placed on the final ballot unless a candidate in the primary election receives a majority of the votes, in which case the candidate shall be declared elected.
Building Representatives shall be elected after the election of officers. Each building and bargaining unit shall caucus and elect the allotted number of building representatives as outlined in Article V of the Constitution. After the conclusion of the caucus elections, each caucus will report their election results to the entire membership.
SECTION B – Representative Assembly Delegates
The Executive Committee shall determine the slate of Vermont-NEA delegates to the Vermont-NEA Representative Assembly each year.
ARTICLE IX – AUTHORITY
Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised Edition, shall be the parliamentary authority for the Association on all questions not covered by the Constitution and By-Laws and such standing rules as the Executive Committee may adopt.
ARTICLE X – Dissolution
The membership may dissolve this Association by following all necessary laws and regulations, including but not limited to Vermont-NEA bylaws, state law, and Vermont Labor Relations Board regulations. Dissolution may be necessary due to merging with another Association or reorganization due to employer reconfiguration. Dissolution may also be necessary due to school closure, employer dissolution, or decertification of the bargaining unit. Upon dissolution, the Association shall notify Vermont-NEA and deliver all paperwork and records to Vermont-NEA for storage.
ARTICLE XI – AMENDMENT
These By-Laws may be amended in the following sequence:
SECTION A – Amendments shall be presented to the Executive Committee at a regular meeting. At the next regular meeting, two-thirds of the members present shall approve the proposed amendments.
SECTION B – Proposed amendments shall be made available to members in each building for at least two weeks prior to the vote.
SECTION C – The amendment vote will be by ballot at any general membership meeting. The By-Laws shall be amended by two-thirds of those members present and voting.