April showers bring May flowers -- and hopefully an opportunity to get together for our May General Meeting (currently scheduled for May 24). In the meantime, the January 25th BFSRA Zoom Meeting recording is available by clicking HERE. This meeting featured the Superintendents of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland School Districts, and included a question and answer session at the end of the Superintendents' presentations.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
BFSRA had a General Zoom Meeting on Monday, January 25, 2021 from 10-12. The superintendents (KSD, PSD, RSD) 'zoomed in' at 10:15. Alan Burke acted as our moderator, and members were able to ask questions after each superintendent's presentations and then again at the end. Statistics on attendance, general notes on the meeting itself, and a link to the recorded meeting will be posted here as soon as they are available. Members were able to participate either online, or via telephone.
The Pre-Retirement Zoom Webinar took place on Thursday, February 18th, 2021: 5:00-7:30 PM. Geared to Certificated and Classified Employees within 1-5 years of retirement, it was sponsored by Washington State School Retirees’ Association. Click HERE to view the recording of the webinar. For more information and resources, visit the WSSRA website by clicking on WEBINAR RESOURCES.
Tier 1, Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccinations started to become available to those 65 and older in January. The mass vaccination site at the Benton-Franklin Fairgrounds opened January 25. While it may be possible to schedule a vaccination with one's healthcare provider, the two primary ways of doing so are online at https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/ or by phone (1-800-525-0127). WSSRA is tracking the statewide effort; its summaries can be found on the Current News and Projects tab (https://wssra.org/index.php/newsupdates)
Sunday, December 27, 2020
With less than four days of 2020 to go, better times are most assuredly ahead. Here are some of the events to look forward to:
Wednesday, December 29th: Department of Retirement Systems - live DRS webinar for WSSRA Active Members ("Our Education & Outreach team will present several topics, including: Plan 2 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS), Plan 3 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS), Online Resources, Getting Ready for Retirement, Applying for Retirement"). See details by clicking HERE.
Monday, January 25th: proposed Zoom meeting for all members from 10 a.m. - 12 noon. We will call and send out the necessary information for those interested in hearing from our three superintendents (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland school districts), regarding the New Year. See the December newsletter for additional details and contact information.
Thursday, February 18th: Pre-Retirement Zoom Webinar for Certificated and Classified Employees. For more details, click HERE. To register, contact Tara Teitzel of WSSRA at Tara@wssra.org.
In addition, the WSSRA website has an update tab (WSSRA - Current News and Projects) with lots of good information about ongoing and future events. Please make sure you check it periodically. The most recent update (November/December) can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Ellen Wolfhagen of the Health Care Authority (HCA) will present the latest on the new United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plus Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans in a webinar on Monday, November 9 at 9:00 a.m. Ellen is the manager of the MA-PD plans for HCA/PEBB, and will describe the two new PEBB plans that will be available throughout Washington, and offer out-of-state coverage, beginning January 1, 2021.
Sign-ups for these plans must take place by November 30. The MA-PD plans are less than half the monthly cost of the current Uniform Medical Plan (UMP), and are price competitive with Kaiser Permanente and Premera Blue Cross Plan F and Plan G offerings. Ellen will present through a series of slides and then take questions from attendees. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the WSSRA website.
For more details, click HERE or visit the WSSRA website at https://www.wssra.org and select the WSSRA Current News and Projects tab.
Friday, October 16, 2020
BFSRA CARES! Help the Salvation Army help our communities!
For the past six years, BFSRA has been a proud supporter of the Salvation Army in its annual Toy Drive. Although we won't be able to enjoy each other's company, or the music of Mary Lou and Stevie, or the delicious luncheon celebrating the holiday season, we WILL be able to experience the joy of bringing joy to others. These pictures show just two of the tables that held the generous BFSRA donations of toys last year.
On Monday, November 23, please bring toy donations to the First United Methodist Church, 2 S. Dayton Street, Kennewick between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.. The Benton Franklin School Retirees Association (BFSRA) will use the church’s covered drive-through area and the foyer on the south side of the church property for toy collection during the two hour collection. At 1:00 p.m. the Salvation Army will arrive and take the collected toys.
Notes from our President:
Now is a great time to shop for school supplies and Christmas items for S.H.A.K.E. and our Salvation Army collection. You may drop off your items on Monday, November 23, 2020 from 11-1 at the First United Methodist Church in Kennewick. We will receive school supplies on the same day for our January date. If you need help, we will be happy to pick-up from your home and see that your items are included with the collection on that Monday by the Salvation Army representatives and school supplies. School supplies will be delivered by me to Maureen Bell for distribution to schools in the new year and could possibly be used sooner with elementary students starting school this month.
Let's make this a happy time for our families and community. We appreciate whatever you are able to contribute. Call if you need assistance. 509-627-7364 for Victoria or any of our officers/Executive Board.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
[Edited to reflect appropriate ID and Passcode]
Meeting ID: 983 4630 0074
We will be connecting virtually on Monday, October12, 2020. The program is being brought to you by our Legislative Committee, hosted by BFSRA President Victoria Russell, and organized by Peter Dietrick, WSSRA Legislative Coordinator. Starting at 10am will be the District 8 candidates; District 9 candidates start at 11am and District 16 candidates start at 12pm. This Zoom Webinar will allow you to (virtually) meet the candidates and ask questions as you formulate your choices for the November 3, 2020 election.
The use of Zoom is at no cost to you. You may need to download the Zoom application to your computer or tablet or phone; to do this, go to https://zoom.us/. Select the Join a Meeting link in the top menu; enter the ID shown below, and then select download and run Zoom for an icon to place on your desktop. You can also use a search engine like Google (search for How to Zoom or Zoom for beginners) if you wish more references.
In order to participate in the Zoom/Webinar, select/tap your Zoom app/icon and enter this ID 952 4380 8726 when prompted; the Passcode 862602 is for October 12, 2020. Press/Select Join; at this point you should be able to see the presenters. Unmute your microphone and camera in the left hand corner of your screen.
You will receive a call to remind you about the Zoom Webinar just as we call you for a luncheon. You can use your cell phone, tablet, or computer to join in. We hope you will try to join us!
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
WSSRA Zoom Webinar: Interview with Matt Smith, the Washington State Actuary (Tuesday, September 29, 9:00 am.)
Executive Director Alan Burke and Legislative Director Peter Diedrick will use Zoom to interview Matt Smith, the Washington State Actuary, on Tuesday, September 29 at 9:00 am. "Mr. Smith will field questions regarding the important work of the Office of the State Actuary (OSA) in guiding pension agencies by calculating longevity averages for retirees. These figures, when combined with prospective rate of return for investments in the $130 Billion state investment fund, largely determine the cost of pension policy bills like the Plan 1 COLA and Plan 2/3 early retirement. Clearly, the higher the costs, the more difficult it becomes for the legislature to act on a pension improvement proposal."
As with the Town Hall Meeting and the other Webinars, go to www. wssra.org and select the WSSRA - Current News and Projects tab to get more details.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
In case you missed it . . .
WSSRA has made the video recording of the interview with Theresa Whitmarsh (Executive Director) of the State Investment Board available. Click HERE to view it. The State Investment Board is responsible for managing the funds that make up 75% of pension check amounts, so as Dr. Alan Burke states, "it's really, really important that we pay attention to what goes on there."
Sometime later this month, WSSRA will present another interview, with the State Actuary. Stay tuned!
Thursday, September 3, 2020
You are ever on my mind, in my heart and prayers as we all withstand these adverse and unprecedented times in 2020. We will resume our fellowship at sometime, but until then keep me posted of concerns, those who may need assistance or just a call to talk. We are here for each other. As election time draws close, remember to VOTE. We are planning a ZOOM meeting the fourth Monday in September, so check out Facebook and BFSRA's blog. Remember you may always call me personally if you have questions or just to chat. Wear your mask whenever you go out, social distance, get your flu shot, wash your hands frequently/use hand sanitizer. Call if you need to talk or to tell me about a member in need.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Western Washington members at 9 am PST
Eastern Washington members at 11 am PST
Monday, May 25, 2020
Celebration of Life
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Friday, March 6, 2020
This meeting was greatly anticipated by members and was the most popular of the year. Our member Margaret Holloway is a dual citizen of the USA and Australia. We love her accent and her willingness to share specifics of her culture. We each received a token Australian flag with our cake dessert. Margaret shared her prepared visuals and commentary on the wildlife, flora and locations special to her. Unfortunately, wildfires have jeopardized large geographic areas of Australia, recently. There are several organizations to which donations can be made. These include:
SAVE THE KOALA -- Sydney Zoo Foundation. https://sydneyzoofoundation.com.au
Science for Wildlife -- https://chuffed.org/project/wildlife-bushfire-crisis#inspiringaction
New South Wales Rural Fire Service -- https:/www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/about-us/funding
We were reminded that these might be good ideas for birthday and Christmas, by making a donation in a special person's name.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Welcome to BFSRA! The Benton/Franklin School Retirees' Association (BFSRA) is the local affiliate of the Washington State School Retirees' Association (WSSRA) -- whose sole purpose to enhance the security and vitality of your retirement years. If you belong to either the TRS, PERS, or SERS retiree plans, we are your primary advocate in the state of Washington for your retirement pension benefits.
We welcome all present members of, as well as any and all future TRS, PERS and SERS retirees to join us, for it is through our strength in numbers that we will have the greatest positive impact on what happens in Olympia with our pension funds and retirement benefits.
We provide pro-retiree, pro-education advocacy and leadership to the Washington State Legislature. We have representatives who work with legislators who impact retirement and pension plans and issues, and we collaborate and advocate with other groups that share our vision, values, and aims.
We sponsor pre-retirement seminars, and award substantial scholarships to college students enrolled in their school's college of education. We also provide education support grants to active teachers and education support staff in local schools, and encourage volunteer activities in support of Washington's school children.
We also provide access to many members-only benefits through the Association Member Benefits Advisors (AMBA). Special insurance rates, travel discounts, and product savings are available to our members.
We consider ourselves educators for life. If you are or have been a certificated or classified school district employee in the state of Washington—from superintendents to school nurses, bus drivers to behavioral psychologists —you are welcome here.