Friday, October 16, 2020

Toy Drive!! Monday, November 23, 2020 (11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

 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

Upcoming BFSRA Legislative Zoom/Webinar (12 October 2020)

[Edited to reflect appropriate ID and Passcode] 

Meeting ID: 983 4630 0074

Passcode: 123

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  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. and select the WSSRA - Current News and Projects tab to get more details.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

WSSRA Interview with Theresa Whitmarsh, State Investment Board (September 9, 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

BFSRA President's Message - August 2020

 Dear Members:

         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.  

Victoria Russell

BFSRA President

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

WSSRA-Sponsored Town Hall Meeting and Interview via Zoom Meetings

WSSRA is sponsoring two Zoom meetings over the next week. You can attend the meetings via computer or by phone. Click on the title of the meeting to find out how!

** NOTE: Per WSSRA, if you cannot attend either or both virtual events, they will be recorded and posted on the WSSRA website. **
June 18th
Thursday, May 28th. WSSRA Town Hall Meeting -- PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE!!!

Western Washington members at 9 am PST
Eastern Washington members at 11 am PST
Description edited: Executive Director, Alan Burke, and Legislative Director, Peter Diedrick will review legislative issues given the recent drop in state revenue, the upcoming virtual convention on June 30th (which is replacing the Pasco event), retiree benefits, the process for legislative candidate endorsements, and general announcements concerning association business.

WSSRA Executive Director Alan Burke interviews Health Care Authority Employees and Retirees Benefits (ERB) Director David Iseminger. The Interview was recorded on Zoom and is available for viewing by clicking HERE.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life

We offer virtual roses in memory of our members who have passed.

Due to our inability to gather as a group, we continue to shelter in place for safety from the COVID -19 which was identified in March, 2020. We take time to recognize and remember our cohorts. Our members, friends and fellow teachers have given their commitment, talents and love to the education of children. Roses will be presented when we meet again. 
Special salute, May 25, 2020, Memorial Day
Victoria Russell, President

Benton Franklin School Retirees Association Members 
Deceased Spring 2019 - Spring 2020

Maxine Bumgarner
Paul Dann
Marion Hughes
Gerald Lane
Maurice Meilleur
Max Purser
Ava Thacker
Julie Van Hoy

Rose Allen
Ethel Boothe
Wilma Burgess
John Burke
Kathryn Carlson
Theodore Carratt
Randy Dolven
Hershel Griggs
Peggy Jensen
Dorothy Korstad
Lucy Larsen
John Moffitt
Arlene Rogers
Kenneth Russell
Robert Schuyler
Linda St. George
Judith Trainer
Ernest Unruh
Robert Vanliew
John Walker
Wendall Weld
Linda Williams

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Apologies and Updates

Apologies and updates:

First, I apologize for having neglected our page -- I managed to fall and break three ribs on the very day that I posted that the March luncheon was cancelled -- that, coupled with adjustments in lifestyles and other issues has caused me to have a much lower digital profile than I would normally.
Several critical updates which I'll summarize here, and on the BFSRA FB page -- and will work on providing additional information over the next day or so.

#1. The 2019/2020 convention will be in Pasco October 5-7, 2020 will not take place. The 2020-2021 Convention will be at the Pasco Red Lion Hotel June 7-9, 2021. [Edited August 21, 2020]
#2. The Plan 1 COLA bill (EHB 1390) was signed into law April 3, 2020.

#3. The April luncheon/meeting was cancelled. Details on any upcoming meetings (i.e., May) will be published as soon as I have them.
#4 Past issues of the newsletter and other relevant articles will be available for viewing on this site by May 13.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Cancellation of March Luncheon/Meeting

Due to the restrictions in place for reducing/avoiding the COVID-19 Virus, the March Luncheon/Meeting is cancelled. Details to follow . .

Update:  The following Luncheon Meetings are cancelled:

March 23, 2020

April 27, 2020

May 18, 2020

Friday, March 6, 2020

February 24, 2020 BFSRA Luncheon and Meeting: Australia with Margaret Holloway

 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.

Science for Wildlife --

New South Wales Rural Fire Service -- https:/

We were reminded that these might be good ideas for birthday and Christmas, by making a donation in a special person's name. 

Victoria Russell

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.

Friday, February 7, 2020

January 27, 2020 - BFSRA General Meeting and Luncheon, Pasco Red Lion

The big three school districts, Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, shared their superintendents with us at the January luncheon to bring members up to date regarding their individual districts. This is always a hugely popular luncheon event -- and this time was no exception! 

First, Jan Fraley was recognized for her work with SHAKE and collecting school supplies for students. Alyssa St. Hilaire talked about Destination Imagination and made a request for volunteers. Diana Baker shared an update on the BFSRA Directory and made a reminder to turn in past Directories for shredding; there is too much information in them to throw away and have this document misused.

Then, Dr. Traci Pierce (KSD, Dr. Michelle Whitney (PSD), and Dr. Rick Schulte (RSD) all provided updates on their districts. 

Dr. Traci Pierce introduced the Panel and presented an overview of the Kennewick School District.  Dr. Pierce became Superintendent this year after working last year with Superintendent Dave Bond.  There are over 18,000 students in KSD.  There is a focus for Kennewick students to access digital resources.  The Dual Language Program is expanding.  The current Bond funded building plan was shared.  Current projects include Amistad Elementary, Tri-Tech, and Kennewick High School.  Some future plans include expanding the other high schools for a capacity of 2,000 at each of the three high schools.  The mission of the District is to provide every student with a safe environment, and every student should reach the goal of graduating from high school prepared for a successful life.

Dr. Michelle Whitney, Superintendent of Pasco School District, shared the Five Outrageous Outcomes Plan.  Research has shown this plan results in the K-12 goal of graduating on the path to a career.
100% of third graders at language proficiency by end of year
100% of ninth graders pass Algebra by end of year
100% of ninth graders on track for graduation
100% of graduates have a career path
100% of students engaged in extracurricular activities

Dr. Rick Schulte, Superintendent of Richland School District, shared District goals including the Promise K Project.  This promotes that all Kindergartners meet age requirements for enrollment purposes.  All students are in involved in early learning activities.  The school counselors and psychologists have formed a special education task force to develop programs for the Richland School District.

We are so grateful for the Superintendents for sharing their time and their insights with the BFSRA.

Dottie Stevens

Friday, December 6, 2019

November 25, 2019: Toy Drive and entertainment with “Mary Lou and Stevie”

 We had a fast paced and entertaining meeting with “Mary Lou and Stevie” singing and playing holiday favorites and our favorites.  Also, it was the Salvation Army Toy Drive and the tables were loaded with games, books, and toys.  WSSRA Executive Director Dr. Alan Burke presented a brief overview on Washington State School Retirees’ and legislation progress.  Always concerned with COLA and ways to benefit all members in all three plans for teachers, classified staff, and administrators.  A new focus this year is on the Volunteer Fact Sheet.  This is useful when talking to legislators so that the contributions of time, service, and breadth of volunteering are made known.  Don’t forget to report your volunteer hours to President Elect, Liz Friedrich. 

These photos show two of several tables of donations from BFSRA Unit 29 for the Salvation Army annual Toy Drive.

Dr. Burke addresses the members of BFSRA.

Dottie Stevens

Friday, November 8, 2019

October 28, 2019: Fitness, Yoga with instructor from Yoga Community


On October 28, 2019, we experienced another way to exercise and become healthy.  The Yoga Community was represented by Margaret Callahan and associate who led us in chair yoga.  A great way to exercise after lunch and before our meeting.  Our own exercise guru, Sam De Rosa, took a back sit this month.  We were all set to welcome the trick-or-treaters in a few days, and enjoyed all the fun Halloween outfits from our members.  (Victoria)

Alex Eads kindly furnished several pictures.

Photos of our Guest speaker, Margaret Callahan, Yoga Community and Associate, Kate Girdelli as guest at the BFSRA October luncheon.  Participants and officers enjoyed hearing some history of Yoga in the United States and participation in various positions.  It was a delightful experience.

Victoria Russell
photos: Alex Eads

Friday, October 4, 2019

September 23, 2019 BFSRA Luncheon and Meeting - Legislative

 On September 23, 2019, we were so pleased to acknowledge visitors, Sharon Hoseley, E-8 District Representative and Angela Hernandez, MOP- (Mothers of Preschoolers) asking our aid as volunteers for their organization. Joining us also was our own Peter Diedrick, WSSRA Legislative Director, who shared with us the time for a better outlook for the COLA and many other issues to be determined in 2020.  He  introduced Senator Sharon Brown and Senator Mark Schoessler, who presented information of importance to retired school employees as well as active teachers.  We heard also about the disparity in funding which affected education on all levels and for retired school employees for now and the future. 

Victoria Russell