PCT PLEDGE

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

CONGRESS OF TEACHERS

Volume XXXVII, No 8 May 1, 2000

 

JUSTICE DELAYED -BOARD TO APPEAL

KUNOFF CASE

By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

 

We were heartened to learn that Arbitrator Robert Simmelkjaer found that the district discriminated against Shari Kunoff because of her participation in our union. Neither the officers of the PCT nor the SRC Reps in the Kindergarten Center when Shari worked there ever doubted that she was the victim of the building and central administration who were outraged at the temerity of a staff that would not kowtow to the outrageous demands of their bosses. Could we prove it by a preponderance of the evidence to a neutral arbitrator? That was our burden.

With the work of PCT Grievance Chair Judi Alexanderson, PCT Attorney Ike Perlman and courageous member witnesses, the PCT proved its case. I doubt than any member of the Board of Education seriously doubts Mr. Simmelkjaer’s finding of the facts. Yet, our Board of Education has chosen to attempt to appeal the arbitrator’s decision in court.

The question is why? Why does the district want to go to court to try to overturn a decision in a binding arbitration process? They certainly can’t say that they have confidence in the administrators who participated in Shari’s termination. Our Board of education has effectively terminated all of them. Could any of them say that they are without doubts about the unfair treatment of Shari Kunoff? Is it the two years of back pay the arbitrator awarded Shari? Would our Board of Education put a price tag on justice? Or are they saying that right or wrong, they will support the decisions of their administrators, even if those decisions are shown to reek of bad faith and falsehood?

I am confident the Board will not succeed in their legal action to deny Shari justice and that they will simply waste more of the taxpayer’s money in what will be a fruitless endeavor. But as deeply disturbing as it is to see the Board thumb its nose at the arbitrator’s finding of the facts and delay Shari’s receiving the justice she so rightly deserves, it is even more disturbing to contemplate what their decision means for our agreement to settle contractual disputes through binding arbitration. Are we to expect that whenever we prevail in an arbitration, a process weighted heavily in favor of management that the district will go to court? What then will binding arbitration mean?

 

SCHULTZ STEPS DOWN

Board of Education member Eric Schultz has chosen not to run for re-election. Schultz’s decision leaves an uncontested election for the two open seats on the POB Board of Education. Evy Rothman and Jonathan Mosenson will take their seats when the Board is reconstituted at their first meeting in July.

Currently, the Board member with the longest continuous service, Mr. Schultz first came to the attention of the PCT when he responded to the PCT’s call to create a before and after school childcare program in our district. He became a champion of this program which came into being shortly after his election.

Throughout his years of service, Mr. Schultz has been a passionate advocate for the students of the district. He has actively supported every major expansion of our academic program during his tenure. Commenting on his retirement from the Board, PCT President Morty Rosenfeld said, "For me Eric’s finest hour came when he worked to bring the Eric Brooks case to a satisfactory conclusion. The school community owes him a profound debt of gratitude for his effort."

SCHOOL BUDGET ADOPTED

The Board of Education has adopted a budget for the 2000-01 school year which calls for a tax increase of approximately $5.16 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation. This will be one of the largest increases in recent times.

About two dollars of this increase is to cover the cost of the opening of the Pasadena School in September. With the grand-parenting of the current third grade, the opening of this school will have no appreciable impact on our too large elementary class sizes. Grand-parenting at the middle school level will similarly make it impossible to lower class size until next year.

Although calling for a huge increase, next year’s budget will be a tight one for staff in the schools with supplies, field trips, substitute teachers and equipment sections of the budget severely trimmed.

POB PUBLIC

LIBRARY ELECTION

Two candidates will compete for the one seat to be contested on the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library Board of Trustees. Incumbent Eugene Goidell will be challenged by Marlene Horowitz a medical librarian at the Long Island Jewish/North Shore University Hospitals in Plainview and Syosset.

The officers of the Public Library Unit of the PCT have asked the PCT Political Action Committee and Executive Board to endorse the candidacy of Ms. Horowitz to help them breathe some life into a library board that is responsible for some of the most paternalistic and inconsiderate working conditions imaginable.

SRC ELECTIONS

PCT members are reminded that the Constitution of the PCT requires that elections for SRC Representatives must take place in each building during the months of May or June. Members wishing to run for SRC should consult their current SRC for the nomination procedures in their building.

SRC Representatives are our union officials in the school buildings. They represent the staff with the building administration. They are also members of the PCT Executive Board which meets once each month on a Tuesday. In running for office, members accept the responsibility to attend both building and PCT meetings.

 

PAYROLL PROBLEM?

This year the PCT has been called upon more than ever before to intercede with the district to get members paid monies they are owed for extra jobs that they perform. We have had particular difficulty getting people paid the appropriate rate for MSTE work and the elementary before school academic intervention. The problem does not appear to be a reluctance of the district to pay. At repeated monthly meetings between the PCT and the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cavanna has agreed that the monies are owed and has assured us that the monies would be paid. However, for reasons difficult to understand, the money doesn’t get paid.

With the end of the year approaching, Grievance Chair Judi Alexanderson is asking members who are owed monies for more than four (4) paychecks to please let her know the exact nature of the work that was performed and the dates on which it was done. This way, she will be able to file the necessary grievances on behalf of affected members.

 

RETIREMENT

Members intending to retire this year are reminded again of the contractual May 15th deadline for notification to the district if they wish to be sure that they will receive one for three for accumulated sick leave by the first payroll in July. The district takes the position that if they are notified of retirement after the deadline, they do not have to pay the sick leave money until the next July.

On another note, this is the time of year when rumors of state retirement incentives abound. Here are the facts as of this writing. There is a bill introduced in the Assembly identical to the bill passed in each of the last three years calling for one month of service credit for each year of service to a maximum of three years. Like its predecessors, this bill establishes certain savings requirements on districts electing to take the incentive. It is this savings clause that has prevented Plainview from taking this incentive in the past. This bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate.

The PCT will continue to monitor the activities of the Legislature in this area and will inform members immediately if circumstances change.

 

TRACT TEACHER CENTER

On Wednesday, May 10, 2000, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM Nassau Tract Teacher Center in conjunction with Adelphi University and Nassau BOCES SETRC is sponsoring a second Parent University Conference to be held at the University Center of Adelphi. The parent university event is designed to foster good parent/teacher relationships so as to enhance the education and socialization of children.

Following a light dinner, participants will hear a keynote address by Dr. Shari Camhi, Executive Director of the Long Island Center for Assessment and Technology in Education. Dr. Camhi’s address will focus on the safe and effective use of the Internet by children. Participants will then attend two of thirteen workshops on topics ranging from Learning Standards to A look at 4th Grade Assessments.

Teachers and parents wishing to attend are asked to call Nassau TRACT at 248-7760. There is no fee for attendance or dinner.

COURSE REJECTIONS

A number of members have informed the PCT office recently of rejections of applications to take graduate courses for advancement on the salary schedule. At the last monthly meeting of the PCT officers and the Superintendent of Schools, administration agreed that these rejections were in error.

If your request for a graduate level course has been rejected, please re-submit your application to Dr. LoPresti’s office. We are assured that they will be approved.

 

DISABILITY INSURANCE BOOKS TO BE DISTRIBUTED

Recently the Welfare Fund changed its carrier of our long-term disability policy. Our new carrier will be the Kemper Insurance Company. The benefits of this policy are unchanged.

Welfare Fund long-term disability insurance provides Teacher and Clerical Unit members with a benefit of 50% of monthly salary to a maximum of $1875 per month after 90 days or the exhaustion of sick leave entitlement, whichever comes last.

The Welfare Fund will be distributing new benefit booklets shortly.

SUMMER JOBS FOR

H.S. STUDENTS

Two (2) high school students needed to work in Private/Parochial Textbook Office of POBCSD at the POB Middle School from June 26 thru August 28, 2000. Flexible days and hours. Minimum wage ($5.65) per hour. Telephone 516-349-4785.

 

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