THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXVIII, No. 2 September 29, 2000
By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
Im looking forward to October 12th. I hope you are too.
Im looking forward to PCT members gathering together to say goodbye to the twenty-three members who retired at the end of last year. We want to remind them that we will always remember the years we worked together, their professional and union accomplishments and the friendship that we shared.
Im looking forward to welcoming the newest members of the PCT and having them meet all of their colleagues and those now retired who labored to create the conditions they now enjoy - those who demonstrated, struck and worked politically to make the PCT second to none.
Im looking forward to pausing to reflect on the forty years our union has existed, its many accomplishments and the things that each generation of members needs to do again to keep the PCT the strong organization it has always been.
Im looking forward to the PCT Party on October 12th. Im looking forward to seeing you there.
This being an election year, the PCT Executive Board devoted a significant portion of its agenda to the endorsement of candidates for public offices that impact directly on education. The officers of the PCT recommended and the Board unanimously approved the following recommendations:
President of the United States - Al Gore
United States Senate - Hillary Clinton
13thAssembly District - David Sidikman
14th Assembly District - Gary Burke
Assembly candidate Gary Burke addressed the PCT Executive Board. Gary is a longtime resident of Plainview-Old Bethpage, a graduate of Plainview-Old Bethpage High School and from a family long associated with progressive politics in POB. His brother, Richard Burke, was a successful PCT supported candidate for the Board of Education. He was recruited by our union in 1982 to run against the then Board President who had presided over the nastiest strike in the districts history. His tenure on the Board facilitated a return to normalcy in POB.
Gary is also the spouse of PCT member Judy Burke, a science teacher at the Mattlin Middle School. When Gary is elected, the PCT will have another friend in Albany who is a staunch opponent of tuition vouchers, an advocate for better state funding of education and a firm believer that there are better ways to raise the standards for our students than the high stakes tests currently in vogue with the New York State Education Department.
With Gary Burke part of the PCT family, the officers are hoping for a strong turn out when the announcement is made of the start of the PCT phone bank. Members are asked to start thinking about devoting some time during the second half of October through Election Day.
CLASS SIZE CAMPAIGN
From the time the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District began to talk of the need to expand the physical capacity of our district, the PCT indicated its willingness to support such efforts provided that steps were taken to lower the class sizes in our schools. In fact, as members of the task force that studied the districts physical needs and recommended the plan that eventually became the bond referendum, we strongly advocated that the expansion be undertaken both to accommodate new entrants to our district and lower class size. We played a significant role on the task force in building consensus around the need to lower class size.
We were pleased last year when the PTA presented a study it undertook pointing to the efficacy of class size reduction on the achievement of elementary school children. Our hopes for movement on this long standing problem were further increased when at a recent meeting of the Board of Education, PTA Council President Wendy Richter publically reminded the Board that the PTA was still intent on lowering the class sizes of the district.
This month the PCT launches its latest effort to make lower class sizes a reality in our district. By next year, most of the additional space we need to reduce class size will be built. This month, PCT President Morty Rosenfelds TeacherTalk web page column addresses class size and suggests how it could be reduced at low cost if the district would reduce the over-staffed ranks of administration. Rosenfeld calls upon the school community to think of how the financial resources of the community are best spent - smaller classes and higher achievement for the students of our district or level upon level of supervision. Stay tuned. There will be much more to follow.
BUFFALO STRIKE SETTLED
On Friday, September 22, 2000 teachers of the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF) overwhelmingly ratified a new contract, thus ending an intermittent strike that began at the beginning of the school year. In the end, both the union and the board of education agreed to a settlement proposed by a Public Employee Relations Board mediator.
At a meeting of the Board of Directors of NEA-New York, the PCTs state organization, PCT President and Board Member Morty Rosenfeld praised the courage of the members of the BTF and their leadership who stood firm against a board of education determined to eviscerate their contract and destroy the solidarity of their organization. Rosenfeld called upon the leadership of NEA-New York to intercede with the NEA for assistance to the BTF to pay the fines that the courts will levy against them.
FINAL VICTORY IN
Two years ago in June, our district fired then Kindergarten Center teacher Shari Kunoff, terminating her probationary appointment without appropriate cause. With the end of the school year coming shortly after her termination thereby making a political solution difficult, the PCT filed a grievance on her behalf. Almost two years later, an arbitrator agreed with us that she was wrongfully terminated. He ordered her reinstatement with back pay.
The POB School District went to court alleging that the arbitrator exceeded his authority in rendering his decision and had fashioned a remedy that was counter to what is termed public policy, roughly what is in the interest of the people of the state.
In a decision dated September 7, 2000, Judge Bruce D. Alpert of the New York State Supreme Court threw out the districts petition to vacate the arbitrators award. The PCT has since learned that the district does not plan to appeal.
Shari Kunoff is reinstated, she will receive back pay for the period she was not in the district. Justice has been done.
AIS AND MSTE
When a year ago the district began to provide before-school academic interventions to elementary students who scored poorly on standardized tests, it was agreed between the PCT and the then Superintendent of Schools, Anthony Cavanna, that instructors would be compensated at the rate of one seventh of their daily rate per forty-five minutes of instruction. While the intervention sessions were one hour long, the district began to pay the teachers for only forty-five minutes.
Although Dr. Cavanna repeatedly said that they would be paid, the correct sum was never forthcoming. The PCT filed a grievance to recover the monies owed by the district.
We are pleased to announce that with the cooperation of new Superintendent, Martin Brooks, this grievance has been settled and the teachers will be receiving the monies owed them in the October 13th payroll.
Also settled was a grievance filed on behalf of teachers who attended a MSTE workshop a year ago May for which they should have, but were not, paid the contractual rate. They, too, will be receiving their money.
DATA CORRECTION SHEETS
To ensure that members Welfare Fund claims are processed correctly and expeditiously, each year the Welfare Fund sends members a printout of all of the data on file for them. The office asks that members check the accuracy of the data, correcting anything that is incorrect in red ink and returning the corrected sheet to the PCT Office.
Data correction sheets that are correct do not need to be returned.
PCT SAFE DRIVING COURSE
There are still some places left for the fall sessions of the PCT Defensive Driving Course, a state sanctioned course that provides those who complete it with a ten percent reduction on the liability portion of their automobile insurance and can be used to remove points for moving violations.
The course will be held on October 24 and 26 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM in the Choral Room of the POB Middle School.
Members interested in attending should send a check made payable to the PCT for $30.00 to the PCT Office.
COVERAGE OF CHILDREN
Members are reminded of the Welfare Fund rules governing the coverage of children through Welfare Fund benefits. Dependent children over 19 years of age qualify under family coverages if and only if they are full-time students. Coverage for full-time students ends at twenty-three years of age.
return to pobct homepage