Increased Tax Deduction for AR Educators

May 3, 2021

Q: I am about to file my taxes, isn’t there a state law to help educators pay for materials?

A: Yes! As of July 1, 2017 most public school educators in Arkansas are now eligible for a state income tax deduction called the Teacher’s Classroom Investment Deduction. This year, the state legislature doubled the amount beginning in the 2021 tax year.
An educator is eligible for a deduction of up to $500 or $1000 for two educators filing jointly. Note that this is in addition to the existing federal tax deduction.

Q: What can I count toward this deduction?

A: Qualified classroom investment expenses – This means materials used in the classroom, including books, school supplies, computer equipment and software, athletic equipment, food for the teacher’s students and clothing for the teacher’s students.

Q: Who is eligible for this tax deduction?

A: In the law, “Teacher” means a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide for students in any grade from prekindergarten through grade 12 who is employed for at least 900 hours in a tax year at a school certified by the state to provide public preschool, elementary, or secondary education.


AEA Celebrates Read Across America with Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Mar 2, 2021

Join AEA, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and a special guest to celebrate Read Across America this week. Visit nea.org/readacross for resources to help you join the celebration!


2021 AEA Primary Election

Feb 8, 2021

AEA members can vote during the AEA Primary Election beginning at 8:00 a.m. on February 8, 2021 and ending on February 22, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

Active members can vote online at www.aeaonline.org. Members can access the voting site seven days a week, 24 hours a day during the voting period. You must enter your voter ID that is printed on your AEA membership card. Contact rpipkins@aeanea.org the AEA Office if you need any assistance with your voter ID. Retired members receive a ballot by regular mail to vote for NEA Retired Delegates.

Learn about the candidates in the latest issue of the Arkansas Educator HERE.

Should there be a 2021 Final Election, it will be held March 22, 2021 beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending April 12, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.


Don’t Miss Your Shot to Stop COVID-19

Jan 29, 2021

Educators and health experts partnered to share information about Arkansas’s public school vaccination effort and answer questions in a virtual event this Thursday.

Watch the “Don't miss your shot to stop COVID-19!” event below. The event is organized in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, and the Arkansas School Boards Association.


AEA on Vaccine Distribution Timeline

Jan 12, 2021

On Tuesday, 1/12/21, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced COVID-19 vaccination would be available beginning January 18 for school employees and others in the 1b category.  

The updated timeline for school employee vaccinations is welcome news for the educators serving on the frontlines of this public health crisis. 

Providing quality learning opportunities for Arkansas’s students while also creating as safe an environment as possible, has placed our educators in an extremely demanding situationThe return to in-person education has resulted in the deaths of more than two dozen educators and, unfortunately, continues to put children and families at risk. Vaccinations will begin to help educators feel more comfortable as they continue working to provide the face-to-face connection for which there is no replacement. 

This updated timeline brings an opportunity to return to an in-person education where every student can thrive – but only if vaccination campaigns are done safely and equitablyWe urge state agencies to use consistent and transparent communications on the benefits and safety of vaccines. 

Until the vaccine effort begins to curb the spread of this virus, it is vital that we all continue to practice social distancing, masking, and hand washing. We urge districts to extend emergency leave for educators due to COVID-19 infection or for those forced into quarantine after potential exposure. Districts should act quickly to ensure educators are not forced to use their sick leave to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.


AEA on COVID Emergency Leave

Jan 5, 2021

Educators Call on School Districts to Extend COVID Emergency Leave Coverage 

Educators are rightly concerned as they return to school buildings while the pandemic continues to surge across our state 

Arkansas’s educators work tirelessly every single day to advocate for and create healthy learning spaces for students. Some have lost their lives to this terrible virus. While we know there is no replacement for the in-person connection between students and their educators, in many parts of our state these interactions are putting our families and communities at risk. 

As the state’s vaccination effort increases, we have a new opportunity to return to an in-person education where every student can thrive – but only if vaccination campaigns are done safely and equitably. We urge state agencies to use consistent and transparent communications on the benefits and safety of vaccines. The state expects to begin vaccinating educators on February 1, and we encourage the state to continue prioritizing those working on the frontlines of this health crisis, which includes school employees 

Until the vaccine effort begins to curb the spread of this virus, it is vital that we all continue to practice social distancing, masking and hand washing. However, in many districts, the uncontrolled spread of the virus may require stronger efforts, including a shift to virtual learning. The state has made clear these decisions must originate at the local level, and AEA’s Return to Learn Committee and staff will continue working with our members to address issues in their school buildings.  

We also call on districts to extend emergency leave for educators due to COVID-19 infection or for those forced into quarantine after potential exposure. The $20 million in CARES Act funding dedicated to this effort in the 2020 fall semester has been exhausted, but more federal funding is on the way. Districts should act quickly to ensure educators aren’t forced to use their sick leave to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus 

We urge all educators to engage with their local associations and AEA Uniserv staff to join the effort to advocate for health and safety with local administrators and school boards. When educators speak up about health and safety issues, we do so to protect our students, colleagues, and community. We must take these concerns seriously and district officials must address them to slow COVID’s spread.


Vote Strong Public Schools 2020

Oct 19, 2020

Early voting is now underway, running Monday, October 19 through Monday, November 2. You can cast your ballot early between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm, Monday through Friday; and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday. It’s important to note, on the Monday before the election, early voting ends at 5 pm.

Be prepared! Make a plan before you head to the polls:

Election Day is November 3.  Polls are open 7:30 am. to 7:30 pm.


2020 Rozzell Lecture

Oct 15, 2020

Registration is now open for the AEA’s 2020 Rozzell Lecture featuring former Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning. Mandy will talk about the great power that comes along with great responsibility for educators.

2020 has demonstrated the importance of community and the power of the individual. Our strength is in our collective. As educators, we must recognize our power, own it and use it, while also empowering our students and colleagues for the betterment of our schools, our communities and our society.

This virtual lecture, held in partnership with the Clinton Presidential Center, will provide educators an opportunity to receive professional development hours as well.

Register NOW!


Speak UP: One Month In Educator Survey

Sep 30, 2020

Educators are now on the frontlines of the coronavirus public health crisis, and AEA wants to know how reopening is going in your district. Following a set of statewide waivers approved by the board of education, we are receiving troubling reports of how these changes are being applied. We want to know what’s happening in your building. Please share the challenges, successes, or any other information we need to lift to our public officials. Your responses will be anonymous, but together with educators from across the state we hope to identify problems that need to be fixed and positive examples that can be expanded upon.

Create your own user feedback survey


Vote: Strong Public Schools 2020

Sep 16, 2020

With the COVID-19 related upheaval this year, there has been some confusion around voting this year.   

In Arkansas, we have local, state and national races on our ballot as well as some proposed changes to our state Constitution.  With so much on the line, we want to make sure you know the scoop on voting in Arkansas this year.  

Register to vote by October 5th

The first thing you should do is check your voter registration information.   

If you need to register to vote please print, complete and mail in this application by October 5thYou may also pick up a voter registration form at your county clerk’s office or your local public library. 

Absentee voting information

Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of State John Thurston have both declared that the COVID-19 emergency means that any voter can apply for an absentee ballot by giving the reason for the request as “illness.”  

  1. Review the absentee ballot application and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for voting absentee.  
  2. Fill out the application completely. 
  3. Submit the request to your local county clerk. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 27, 2020. 
  4. When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.  After you complete your absentee ballot, you’ll need to sign it as well as submit a photocopy of your photo id.   

Critical deadlines 

  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. 
  • The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Monday, October 5, 2020. 
  • The deadline to register in person to vote is Monday, October 5, 2020. 
  • The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 27, 2020. 
  • The early voting period runs from Monday, October 19, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. 

 If you have any questions about voting, please contact Susana O’Daniel, AEA Director of Public Affairs: sodaniel@aeanea.org