Volume XXXVII, No. 6 February 28, 2000



In accordance with the Constitution of the PCT, nominating petitions for officers of our union were due to the PCT Office by the close of business on February 15, 2000. The Office has received petitions from the following candidates:


President - Morton Rosenfeld

Secretary - Judith Alexanderson

Treasurer - Claude Szajna

H.S. Vice-President - Cynthia Feldman

M.S. Vice-President - Vicki Ahlsen

Elementary Vice-President - Amy Isaacson



President - Lillian Feigenbaum

Vice-President - Ronni Pearce

Secretary - Catherine Regan

Treasurer - Lucy Pedone


Chairperson - Eileen Vein

Secretary/Treasurer - Rose Weiner

Alternate - Ronnie Osofsky



Thomas Syrett

Catherine Regan


The PCT Constitution provides that when there is only one candidate for a PCT Office, that "the PCT Secretary shall be directed to cast one (1) vote for each such office for which there is only one (1) candidate." Accordingly, PCT Secretary Judi Alexanderson will cast one ballot for each officer position at the April 4, 2000 meeting of the PCT Executive Board, and the candidates will be declared elected. The terms of the elected officers begin on July 1, 2000.


At its February 14th meeting, the POB Board of Education accepted the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Anthony P. Cavanna effective June 30, 2000. Board of Education President Evy Rothman thanked Dr. Cavanna for his service to the district including the many new programs he initiated. Dr. Cavanna made no public remarks.

Prior to the public announcement of Cavanna’s resignation, officers of the PCT and the building administrators of the district were asked to assemble in the faculty room of the Mattlin Middle School at 7:00PM. At the appointed hour, members of the Board of Education arrived and through their spokesperson, Board President Evy Rothman, informed the group that Dr. Cavanna would be leaving at the end of this school year.

News of Cavanna’s resignation was not surprising. It has been clear for some time that he and the Board of Education were having difficulties. It was commonly known that Cavanna was seeking employment elsewhere.

Unclear at this time are the plans of the Board of Education to replace Dr. Cavanna. Watch the Pledge for developments.



Kindergarten Principal Sylvia Rey has been chosen by the Board of Education to be the Principal of the Pasadena School, slated to be reopened in September. Rey, who ably helped to bring peace and stability to the Kindergarten Center, was apparently chosen for the Pasadena job in part to ease the fears of Pasadena parents who will be comforted to know that the building administrator will know of their children.

The Board’s task now will be to find an able administrator for the Kindergarten Center so that the once embattled school can continue its excellent work for the children of our community.


Now that a principal has been selected for the Pasadena School, staffing of the building can proceed. By agreement with the PCT, staffing decisions for the Pasadena School were put off until the naming of a principal. There is also an agreement that to the extent that it is possible, the building will be staffed by volunteers. However, it should be clear from the outset that some teachers will have to be transferred from their current assignment to the Pasadena School. The odds that just the right number of people in the right subject areas will apply for transfer are slight.

Those PCT members who transfer to the Pasadena School will have all of their belongings moved for them. They will additionally have two paid days to set up their new classrooms.

Most importantly, the opening of the Pasadena School should begin the process of lowering the class size of all our elementary classes. All teachers and students will benefit from a reduction in what have been historically high class sizes.



Can NEA/New York and NYSUT (New York State United Teachers) get together? They may be about to try.

Almost two years ago an attempt was made to merge the two national teacher unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The attempt failed miserably when the NEA Representative Assembly overwhelmingly defeated the merger agreement that had been negotiated.

The defeat of the national merger agreement left several state organizations who had put together state merger agreements in an awkward position. To deal with this problem, the NEA Representative Assembly authorized the NEA Board of Directors to come up with a plan where by six state organizations could be merged. This they did, thus permitting states like Florida to implement their merger agreements.

The Pledge has learned that NYSUT has approached the leadership of NEA/New York and proposed that the two organizations get together to talk about a merger in New York State. The invitation to talk has been taken up by the NEA/New York Cabinet which voted to begin talks. It is scheduled for discussion by the NEA/New York Board of Directors in March and later that month at the state convention.

It is difficult to know at this time what the chances are that the two organizations can be put together. While the PCT has long favored a merger, the fact remains that there are still many in NEA/New York who oppose joining with our colleagues in NYSUT. Much work will have to be done by the leaders of our state organization if the sentiment opposing a merger is to be overcome. Stay tuned to this story.


Apparently shaping up as a major issue at this year’s NEA convention in Chicago in July is the organization’s position on the subject of merit pay which it has historically opposed. It appears, however, as though the leadership of our national union is seeking to change this long held position.

Using the doublespeak of the education reformers, the NEA leadership convened the powerful Professional Standards and Practice Committee and gave them the charge of examining "alternative compensation" systems and making policy recommendations to the NEA Board of Directors. Thus, we are not talking about merit pay which we continue to be against; we are talking about alternative compensation or performance pay, compensation that is determined by some supposedly objectively measurable criteria. In other words, your students do well on the ELA or Regents, you get some additional money. If they don’t; you don’t.

The Professional Standards and Practice Committee has predictably recommended that the NEA look seriously at performance pay models as enhancements to conventional salary schedules. Thus, the stage is set to change the policy on merit pay.


One of the benefits of PCT membership is the right to buy PCT Long-Term Care Insurance. Long-term care insurance provides benefits for individuals who are rendered unable to take care of themselves. It provides coverage for home health care assistance and/or residence in a nursing home. With the ever increasing costs of this kind of care, many people choose to protect their financial assets by purchasing a long-term care insurance policy.

Members of the PCT can purchase such coverage at discounts of from ten to fifteen percent less than if they purchased the same coverage individually. If you think you might like to participate in the PCT Long-Term Care Insurance Program, a seminar will be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2000, at 4:00 PM in the Choral Room of Kennedy High School. At that time, Mr. Ken Bloom, the PCT’s insurance consultant on long-term care insurance, will take members through the options open to them in this area. After the seminar, should members wish to pursue purchasing long-term care insurance, they will have an individual consultation with Mr. Bloom.

Members wishing to attend this seminar should RSVP to the PCT Office by Friday, March 17, 2000.



Did you know that the PCT Web Page had 476 visitors in January? Were you one of them? If not, you owe it to yourself to read one of the best web pages of any education union.

The PCT Web Page can be found at:



Congratulations to April Song and Marisa Fang on winning a $2500 Nassau Tract Teacher Center Mini-Grant. The money from the grant will be used to introduce elementary school students to ancient Chinese culture through arts and crafts. Practicing artists will be invited to meet with students and teach them to make traditional Chinese artifacts.

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