THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXVII, No.1 September 7, 1999
SCHOOL SETTLEMENT REACHED
Late on the evening of September 3rd, the PCT and the POB Board of Education came to a tentative agreement on new contracts for the Teacher, Clerical and Substitute Units of the PCT. With rumors flying all summer that there was a settlement, the fact was that there were a number of significant issues to be resolved.
The PCT Executive Board will meet on Tuesday, September 7, 1999 at 4:00 PM in the PCT Office to consider a recommendation from the Negotiating Committee to accept the tentative settlement. Details of the settlement will be released after this meeting.
The entire membership of all units will convene on Thursday. September 9th at 4:00 PM in the auditorium of Kennedy High School to vote on the recommendation of the Negotiating Committee. No union meeting is more important than a contract ratification meeting. Every member is obligated to attend.
PUBLIC LIBRARY DEAL REACHED
In the waning days of June, the negotiating committees of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library Association, PCT (POBLA) and the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library Board of Trustees reached agreement on a new three year agreement. This was the first time in memory that a contract was arrived at so quicky.
POBLAs goal in this round of negotiations was to continue a process begun last round of significantly improving the wages of its members, wages which have lagged far behind those of comparable public libraries. The new contract calls for a $3000 increase for each member in year one ,which is between 5.2 and 10 percent depending on the salary of the member. Years two and three are at four percent. With this contract, POBLA members have taken a good step in the direction of being paid wages comparable to similar public libraries.
TAX SHELTERED ANNUITY/403B CAN YOU AFFORD
NOT TO START ONE?
Would you object to the state and federal governments helping you save for retirement? Few people would answer, "Yes." Yet, if you do not avail yourself of the opportunity to have a tax sheltered annuity (403b plan), you are thumbing your nose at the governments attempt to help you retire comfortably. Thats not a wise thing to do. Heres why.
The contract between the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District and the PCT entitles members of both our Teacher and Clerical Units to open a 403b account with a bank, insurance company, brokerage company or mutual fund company into which pretax dollars deducted from your paycheck are deposited on a monthly basis. For example, lets say you are a married person at MA, Step 1 of the teacher salary schedule and you claim one dependent on your federal tax return. Your bi-weekly gross salary (salary before taxes and other deductions are taken) is $1617.62. Your federal tax is $188. If were to put $200 per month into a 403b plan, your bi-weekly salary for tax purposes is reduced to $1517.62 on which the federal tax is $158. That means that every month $200 is deposited into your 403b account to save for retirement, but $60 of it has been provided by the federal government. You have saved $200, but only $140 has come out of your pocket. Actually, you are even better off when you factor in your saving in state taxes too. You wont pay the tax on this money until you retire and begin to draw it out, when you will most probably be in a lower tax bracket.
Now think about what even a small investment of $200 per month means over the course of a 35 year career through the magic of compound interest. Invested very conservatively in a savings account at 5% interest, over 35 years you would accumulate $228,165. Your deposits are only $84,000 of which approximately one third ($26,000) was provided by Uncle Sam. Thats not a bad deal.
Here are some other ideas to consider. Suppose over the same projected 35 year career you increase your contribution each year(The maximum contribution is $10,000 per year.), say by a percentage of your yearly raise. Imagine what you can have at retirement. Suppose also that since you are investing for the long term you are less concerned with stock market fluctuations and you know that quality mutual funds have far out performed fixed interest investments. Suppose you invest some or all of your contributions in growth mutual funds that have returned on average over 15% over the last 10 years. Think of what this could mean to you and your family.
Youve read this article and are convinced that 403b plans are great, but you just cant spare the $140 per month that it will cost you to save $200 per month. Then start smaller, but start!
Spend some time researching where you wish to put your money. Talk to colleagues, go to the library, use the Internet. Anyone can easily learn what is necessary to take advantage of 403b plans. Call the Business Office and have them send you the necessary forms. There are two enrollment periods each year, September 15th and January 15th. If you wont be able to meet the upcoming deadline, use the time between now and January to learn what you need to know. You cant afford not to.
SICK DAY DEDUCTION
Effective September 1, 1999 all tenured teachers who never contributed to the PCT Sick Leave Bank will have one (1) sick day deducted from their accumulated leave allowance. The PCT Sick Leave Bank was created by contract in 1978 to protect the income of tenured members of the staff who fall ill and exhaust their accumulated leave allowance and extended leave. Tenured members may be granted up to 50 days per long term illness. The Clerical Unit of the PCT has its own Sick Leave Bank and is not affected by the current deduction.
DENTAL BENEFIT INCREASED
Effective September 1, 1999, the yearly maximum benefit of the Welfare Fund Dental Plan is increased from $1500 to $1700. The increase covers both the paid provider and fee for service options of the plan.
If you have completed approved course work since last February and are thereby entitled to a salary schedule lane change, you must notify the Personnel Office by September 10th, even if your transcript is not yet available. Notification to the district insures that once your transcript is received, you will be paid retroactively to September 1st.
The next deadline for lane changes is February 1, 2000.
LEAVE POLICY REVIEW
The PCT often receives calls from members concerning the leave policy of the District. From time to time, we publish this summary of the most frequently referenced sections. Members may wish to cut it out and save it for future reference.
There are many reasons for being absent from work, but before you are absent, it is important to be aware of the district's absence and leave policies.
Each teacher accrues 14 days per year according to a schedule agreed to in our contact. If you are absent due to illness for more than 5 consecutive days, you will be asked for a doctors note. Days not used each year accumulate to a maximum of 400. If you have used all your accumulated days and are still ill, you may borrow up to 28 days from the district. These days are paid back at the end of each subsequent year except that no one should begin a year with less than 3 days accumulated. Furthermore, tenured teachers who are still ill may be granted days from the PCT Sick-Leave Bank. These days are not paid back.
You are entitled to use your accumulated days for other reasons beside illness such as for moving, house closing, religious holiday, graduation of spouse or child, or court appearance.
You are entitled to use your accumulated days for illness in your immediate family. (Spouse, children, parents, siblings) or relations (grandparents, in-laws.) You will need a doctors note for these absences.
You are entitled to use 2 days per year for personal reasons not covered elsewhere in the leave policy. If these days are Monday or Friday or before or after vacation, you must give a reason and be approved by the Superintendent of Schools.
There are provisions for being absent due to death in your family. You may be absent 5 consecutive days WITHOUT CHARGE for death of a spouse, child, parent or sibling. THESE DAYS MUST BE USED CONTIGUOUS TO THE DEATH. You may also be absent for 3 UNCHARGED days for death of grandparents or in-laws, also contiguous.
For many of the above absences, it is necessary to notify your immediate supervisor in writing prior to absence. If you have any questions, call the PCT before a problem arises.
NEW MEMBERSHIP & BENEFIT CARDS
Arriving at your building today are your new NEA/New York calendars and PCT Membership Cards. The newly designed membership card provides useful information in addition to serving to identify you as a member of the PCT. Now you can have holidays, payroll dates and important work related phone numbers at your fingertips.
In a few days, you will also be receiving, your new PCT Discount Card which you can use to save significantly at local participating merchants. Local Benefits Chair Ellen Felber has put together an even larger list of participating merchants.
TO ALL MEMBERS
If you have moved, had a change in marital status, had or adopted a child, please let the PCT Office know of these changes.
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