PCT PLEDGE

THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE

CONGRESS OF TEACHERS

Volume XXXVI, No. 6 January 7, 1999

 

 

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS

By Morty Rosenfeld

Later this month ( a calendar appears below), our union will hold very important meetings with each of its bargaining units - our General Membership Meetings. At each of these meetings, proposed demands will be presented for the upcoming round of negotiations between the PCT and the Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education.

These meetings are your opportunity as a PCT member to influence the shape of your new contract and thereby the conditions under which you work. They are the first steps in a process that often takes many months and which puts to the test the solidarity we try so hard to build. It is essential to the success of the negotiations that our membership be informed and feel a part of the process. That’s why I want to take this opportunity to encourage your participation in these very important meetings and invite your continuing attention to the negotiations process as it unfolds during the remainder of this year.

Negotiations is not simply an activity for the Negotiating Committee and the officers of the PCT. Our success has and always will be determined by our collective will to work together for our common good. I have every confidence that with your active participation and support we will have a very successful negotiating year.

 

General Membership Meetings

Teachers - Tuesday, Jan. 19, 1999

3:45 PM - POBMS Auditorium

Clericals - Wednesday, Jan. 20, 1999

4:15 PM - Kennedy High School

Choral Room

 

CHARTER SCHOOLS APPROVED

In the early morning hours of December 18, 1998, Governor Pataki, along with Senate Majority Leader Bruno and Assembly Speaker Silver, emerged from secret, closed door negotiations to announce that a deal had been struck to pave the way for New York State to become the thirty-third state in the nation to allow publicly funded, private charter schools.

Long a pet project of the Governor because of the popularity of charter schools with his conservative political base, the charter school legislation received a real chance at life because of the Governor’s insistence on tying his support for a substantial pay increase for the legislators to his charter school proposal. Although the final agreement with the legislature was not as horrible as Pataki’s original proposal, the charter school legislation poses a serious threat to the public schools of New York State.

The charter school legislation provides for the creation of 100 new charter schools, 50 to be chartered by the Board of Regents and 50 by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York. Charter schools converted from existing public schools are not limited in number but must be approved by the local board of education.

The collective bargaining rights of school employees in New York’s charter schools are a mixed bag. Employees of charter schools converted from existing schools within a district are covered by the local collective bargaining agreement, although a majority of the teachers in such a school can, by a majority vote, modify their contract. In most of the new schools created under the charter school law, teachers will automatically have collective bargaining rights if the student enrollment exceeds 250 students, but they will be placed in a separate bargaining unit from the one covering the district in which the charter school is located. In schools with less than 250 students, organizing drives will have to take place for the staff to be represented. Finally, the SUNY Board of Trustees is authorized to issue 10 charters for schools to operate with no union involvement whatsoever.

In the areas of teacher certification and meeting state requirements, New York’s charter schools will be better than many in that no school may have more than 5 uncertified teachers. The charter schools will also have to meet or exceed the state’s standards and assessments for the public schools.

While the story of the coming of charter schools to New York could have been worse, it nevertheless is a significant blow to supporters of public education as per pupil expenditure dollars flow with students to these new schools. That our legislators resisted this legislation until it meant no pay increase for them can only breed more cynicism for our political process. We should point out, however, that our local Assemblyman, David Sidikman, had the foresight and courage to put principal before personal gain. He, along with too few others, voted against the charter school bill.

 

TIER REINSTATEMENT LAW PASSED

As a sop to the teacher unions who resisted the charter school legislation to varying degrees, the legislature enacted the Tier Reinstatement Bill, a law to provide elementary justice to teachers who began their careers with membership in Tiers 1 or 2 of the New York State Teachers Retirement System but who interrupted their careers to return later to tiers 3 or 4. Needless to say, most of these people left teaching to raise their families.

Under the new legislation, such people will be able to return to their original retirement system tier. However, they will not be eligible for a refund of the contributions they made while in Tiers 3 or 4.

The PCT does not yet know exactly what eligible individuals will have to do, if anything, to be officially restored to their original tier. Eligible members are asked to notify the PCT Office so that we may contact you with additional information.

Please note that clericals are not part of this law.

4th GRADE ASSESSMENT

In what has got to be one of the most stupid exercises ever undertaken by the New York State Department of Education, all 4th graders in the state will be taking a new "assessment" on January 11th to determine the extent to which they measure up to the so-called new standards promulgated by the Regents. Most, if not all, of the 4th grade teachers in the state will gather for at least one day at various centers to mark this examination. Clearly, assessing is becoming more important than teaching.

The PCT has discussed with the district the contractual obligations of our staff who will be marking these examinations. We are agreed that teachers owe seven (7) hours of time including their normal lunch period. That means that while BOCES is asking people to come a half hour earlier for a registration period, we do not owe them this time. Members should report a few minutes before their starting time and leave seven (7) hours later, whether the marking of the exams is completed or not.

 

SICK LEAVE BANK DEDUCTIONS

 

The following article appeared in the last edition of the Pledge missing an important part of the piece. We reprint it here in its complete form and apologize for the error.

Both the teacher and clerical units of the PCT have contractual sick leave banks from which members can draw additional sick days after they have exhausted their own accrued sick days and extended leave. These days come from contractual donations made according to a formula set out in our contract with the district.

Since its inception in the late 70's, there has not been a need to replenish the number of days. Now, however, there is a contractual need to replenish the teacher bank. In our last negotiations, the PCT and the district agreed that at the time replenishment of the Sick Leave Bank was necessary, tenured teachers who had never made a contribution of a sick day to the bank before would make a contribution before others were asked to give a second time. Therefore, those tenured teachers who have never contributed a day to the Sick Leave Bank will shortly have a day deducted from their accumulated leave.

TRACT NEWS

The Nassau TRACT Teacher Center second annual T.H.E. (Technology Helps Educate) Technology Conference was held on December 7, 1998 at the Huntington Hilton.

Over 200 teachers from member districts (BOCES, Locust Valley, Mineola, Oyster Bay, Sewanhaka, West Hempstead, East Rockaway, Carle Place, Garden City, Hewlett-Woodmere).

Workshops were held on many aspects of computer and Internet use in the classroom. This conference was so successful that TRACT has already reserved the Hilton for the 3rd annual meeting next October.

The Nassau TRACT Teacher Center is located in Mineola High School, 10 Armstrong Rd. in Garden City Park. They can be reached by phone at 248-7760. The center is open Monday through Thursday between the hours of 12:30 PM and 4:30 PM.

TRACT information is available in the district from TRACT Policy Board Members Judi Alexanderson (Mattlin) and Vicki Ahlsen (POBMS) or from Building Ambassadors: M. Pavlovich (Kennedy), D. Zaretsky (Mattlin),S. Ferrara (POBMS), A. Isaacson (KC), J. Levy (Strat), S. Bennardo (Pkwy) and J. Candal (OB).

 403B DEADLINE

Members who are thinking of starting a 403B account (tax sheltered annuity) or changing the amount of their contributions are reminded that all necessary paper work must be filed with the Business Office by January 15th.

 

LANE CHANGES

Teacher members who have taken course work for salary credit this semester and who are eligible to change lanes are reminded that they must notify the Personnel Office by February that they will qualify to change lanes. The district will not make the change until it receives an official transcript, but when it is made it will take place retroactively.

 

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