THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF
THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
VOL. XXXXIII, NO. 10 JUNE 20, 2006
IS HE, OR ISNíT HE?
By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
Is he going, or isnít he going? Thatís the question everyone in Plainview-Old Bethpage wants answered, from custodian to board member, as our superintendent dances the entire school community around with what appears to be almost Hamlet-like indecision. Or is it not indecision but an action almost tantamount to a management strike, an action that says, "Either give me more money and benefits, or Iím going to another community that will appreciate me more. I know I have a contract, but you donít want me here if Iím not happy, do you?"
This pattern is so common in districts like ours that one suspects it must be a central focus of one of those administration courses that people seem to think prepare one to be a school district leader, perhaps "Closing the Compensation Gap 101" or "Dollars and the Institutional Loyalty of School Leaders." In the world of superintendents, districts like Plainview are today stopovers on the career route to the superintendency of the Jerichos, Roslyns and Great Necks where one negotiates oneís final deal to boost oneís final average salary and cultivates those who will be in a position to offer one consulting work or interim administrative positions that ensure that "retirement" will be more remunerative and less demanding than oneís regular work-life.
Today, public school superintendents come and go almost as fast as professional athletes who play out their options and move on to the highest bidder. The effect of this movement on the districts they leave can be profound, although not as easily detected as when a baseball team loses most of its good players to free agency. It is too often, however, unexamined. What, for example, is the effect on students of having the operative educational philosophy of their district changed several times during their thirteen years of schooling? How many reading or math programs should students be expected to adjust to? What is the impact on a teaching staff who every few years are asked to believe that what they have learned about how to teach students is inferior to the ideas of the new visionary leader who comes with the latest educationist snake oil? Does anyone in authority even think about such questions?
Over the course of my association with POB, the superintendent has changed about every six years. As districts go these days, that is not a record for turnover. The first superintendent I worked for was here for over twenty years. Plainview-Old Bethpage was a place that others came to visit often to learn about the exciting things we were doing. The citizens were proud of our accomplishments and felt that our schools were as good or better than any on the Island. Then, we began to get danced around.
MEMBERSHIP SAYS ĎNOí TO BOARDíS PROPOSAL
All three units of the PCT rejected the negotiating proposals of the Board of Education at their meeting on June 13 at the Kennedy High School, one of the best attended general membership meetings in memory. Member after member objected to the series of giveback items contained in the Boardís proposals, proposals clearly emanating with the Superintendent, the same person who is imminently to depart for Roslyn. There appeared to be a clear sentiment in all units that while they understood that this was a difficut time for the Board of Education owing to the mismanagement of our district, they are unwilling to accept raises that will probably cause them to lose ground to others in Nassau while making no progress in non-monetary areas and being asked for substantial givebacks.
The members also expressed their deep resentment of the fact that the Clerical Unit was not even given a specific proposal to which to respond.
Upon the rejection of the Boardís proposals, the membership unanimously voted a reaffirmation of their No Contract No Work Rule.
Members are asked to monitor the PCT webpage for developments in negotiations overthe summer. If there needs to be communication of a more private nature, it will be done with email or regular mail.
If you have not been receiving email notices from the PCT, that means we donít have a working email address for you. Please drop us an email to with your current email address.
STATE ISSUES WELFARE FUND CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH
The Welfare Fund is overseen by the New York State Department of Insurance which every five years conducts an extensive audit of the five fiscal years preceding their visit. The state appointed auditor checks on the financial position of the fund as well as its management of its benefits.
The Welfare Fund recently received the report of the audit done earlier in the year. It was presented to the trustees of the Fund at their June meeting. The report is what is termed "clean" by accountants in that there were no deficiencies found.
PCT EXECUTIVE BOARD ADOPTS BUDGET
At its June meeting, the PCT Executive Board adopted the proposed 2006-07 budget for the union. The budget maintains all existing union programs and provides increases in salaries and stipends tied to the results of our negotiations with the district.
The budget keeps in place the progressive dues structure which is increased by one tenth of one percent to deal with the substantial increase in payments to our state organization that will be necessary when we become a merged organization in September.
LEGISLATURE CONSIDERS AGE 55/25RETIREMENT PROGRAM
In the final days of this legislative session, the New York State Legislature is considering legislation that would authorize Tier II, III and IV members in all public retirement systems to retire without penalty if they are age 55 or older and have 25 or more years of service. Currently, Tier II, III and IV members incur a substantial penalty on their retirement benefits if they opt to retire prior to age 62 with fewer than 30 years of service.
This legislation confers no additional benefits; it merely eliminates the onerous penalties imposed upon members who reach their minimum age and service requirements for retirement.
Also pending in the legislature is another bill of interest to some PCT members. This legislation corrects an unintended inequity in the Benefit Enhancements Law of 2000. Specifically, this legislation provides compensation to those senior Tier III and IV members who made their mandatory 3% contributions in excess of 10 years. In order to correct this inequity, affected members would receive one month of additional service credit for each year over 10 that such members made their mandatory 3% contributions.
There are senior Tier III and IV members who have contributed to the retirement systems longer than their younger Tier IV colleagues. These additional contributions equate to thousands of dollars for affected members.
INTERESTED IN BEING A MENTOR?
While we lost teaching staff this year, there is yet some hiring to be done that may require assigning mentors to the new teachers.
Teachers interested in mentoring a new teacher next year are asked to send their name to the PCT Office before the end of school.
PCT SUMMER HOURS
During July and August, the PCT and Welfare Fund Offices are open Monday through Thursday between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM.