Let’s Save Physics Teachers Some Money

If you were at our last meeting, you heard that we were going to change our dues structure.  Due to a generous annual donation from the Foothill College Physics Show, we will be able to reduce membership costs to in-the-trenches physics teachers.  We will no longer charge fees for our meetings, but will instead revert to a membership model.  When you attend a meeting, you will be required to pay a year’s worth of dues.  These will be set at $25, although if you register via the web we will discount to $20.  Membership covers two meetings (plus associated meals).

Here’s a quick FAQ:

Q: Can you explain the two-meeting model?

A: When you pay your dues at the Fall Meeting, you are a member for the year, so the Spring Meeting is already covered.  If for some reason you can’t make the Fall Meeting, and pay dues at the Spring Meeting, then your membership will “wrap around” to the following Fall Meeting.  In other words, if you pay for a meeting, the next one is covered.

Q: Things just got much cheaper, are you going to be cutting corners at the meetings?

A: No, meetings will be the same.  We’ll have share-and-tell, speakers, panels, opportunities for members to contribute via posters or talks, and of course, lunch with your friends and colleagues in physics education.

Q: Wait, doesn’t the constitution say that dues are voted upon by the general membership at the Spring Meeting?  Can the officers really decide this on their own?

A: That’s a valid point.  By our constitution any change in dues needs to be approved by the membership at the Spring Meting.  If an increase was proposed, then certainly we would wait until the spring, defend our case, and then obey the will of the membership.  However, seeing as this is a reduction, we feel comfortable setting this in place and then asking for a vote in the Fall Meeting.  Other options here would be to charge our normal rates for another year, or to retroactively refund collected money after a vote.  Neither of those are appealing.  Sometimes practicality should trump the letter of the law.

Q: Doesn’t the constitution also state that emeritus members (in other words, retired physics teachers) are exempt from dues?  Are they going to be charged now?

A: Yes, the constitution does waive dues for retired teachers, and we’ve historically made that part of the pricing structure.  However, retired teachers have been required to pay for meeting fees, which are now disappearing.  In order to be fair to all that attend meetings everyone will be asked to pay for dues.  Retired members who choose not to attend meetings but still wish to be members of NCNAAPT may write the treasurer for a waiver.

Q: Is there anything else you need to change in the constitution?

A: Yes, the constitution states that the membership year starts in July, we’ll have to craft wording that supports the wrap-around dues structure.

Q: Is this sustainable?

A: Our numbers support this price-point, but if in the long run this puts us in troubled waters financially, then we would probably ask for a small ($5) bump.  This would need to be formally approved by the membership at a future Spring Meeting.

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