Volume XXXVIII, No. 5 January 2, 2001



By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

At the NEA Convention last year, a resolution initiated by the executive officers to end the NEA policy against merit pay in any form was resoundingly defeated. One might have thought that was the end of the issue for awhile. Those local unions that foolishly wanted to experiment with merit pay were left free to do so, although without the support and resources of the NEA. Those locals who were forced to deal with the issue of merit pay as a result of a management demand at the bargaining table could obtain the services of the national union to resist.

However, Bob Chase and his "new unionist" pals have a curious way of ignoring their political defeats. Several years ago, for example, the NEA Convention foiled their attempt to ram peer assistance and review down the throats of the membership. Did Chase pay any attention? Today, NEA propaganda is replete with praise for peer assistance and review.

So it is with deep suspicion that I report that the NEA Board of Directors at its December meeting was presented with an unsigned document entitled NEA Policies Regarding Teacher Compensation Systems. One doesn’t have to read more than a page to recognize the NEA legal department as the generators of the document and that the document’s purpose is to seek through legalistic hair splitting what was lost through the democratic process. Thus, a review of past resolutions of the Convention reveals little spaces here and there for the leadership to stake out some new position to support some forms of merit pay. Be assured that they will do just that. I have to give them credit for a boundless tenacity in the advancement of anti-union and stupid ideas. The battle within the organization over merit pay will probably have to be fought again.

If you are thinking that the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) is better on the merit pay issue, they aren’t. While they don’t publically advocate merit pay, they, like the NEA, are cozy with alternative compensation models. Keep your eye on the contract negotiations underway in New York City. The mayor is demanding that the union give on merit pay. If they do, it will have a very significant effect on the bargaining over this issue in the state. I’m betting they give. 


Each spring, our state organization, NEA/New York, holds a convention attended by delegates from all of the member local unions across the state. It is at this meeting that constitution and bylaw amendments, resolutions and new business items are debated and adopted. The state convention in large measure determines the policy of NEA/New York.

Historically, PCT delegations to the convention have been very active, often proposing much of the meeting’s business. The PCT Executive Board will be considering items for the state convention at their meeting of January 9, 2001. If you have ideas for changes in state law that you would like the organization to work for, or policy changes in the state ed department you think should be implemented, submit your ideas to your SRC Reps who will bring them to the Executive Board meeting. Better yet, come to the meeting yourself. It will be held on the 9th of January at 4:00 PM in the Choral Room of the POB Middle School. Members are always welcome at PCT Executive Board meetings.


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.


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.


Those PCT members who are up for tenure this year will be receiving one or more observations from the Superintendent and/or members of his Central Office team. You will be notified of the week during which an observation will take place, but not the exact day and time. Some of these observations have already taken place. Members report that they have been sensitively and thoughtfully done.

In undertaking these tenure observations, Dr. Brooks is reviving a practice common to most school districts wherein a superintendent or other central office administrator observes all candidates for tenure. For some years now, Plainview has done these observations inconsistently, if at all. When they did happen, they were often done to lend an aura of legitimacy to decisions that had already been made, sometimes for political reasons. The officers of the PCT have been heartened by some of the initial steps Dr. Brooks has taken to restore confidence in the district’s evaluation process.


It’s that time of year when the district starts to get real serious about the development of its budget for the coming academic year. This is also the time that PCT members should be working with their SRCs to develop their building’s budget priorities. If we simply leave a school’s budget to the building administration, our members cannot be sure that they will have the things they need to do their work.

Our current budget, constructed as it was amid the chaos of a crumbling central administration, has imposed many frustrations. PCT members will want to do all they can to shape the budget that will be put before the voters in May and which PCT members will be asked to support. It’s just much easier to work for a budget that meets the members’ needs. Talk with your SRCs today about what you believe belongs in next year’s budget.



It won’t be long now before the TRACT Satellite Teacher Center will open in the POB Middle School. The Board of Directors of the center has announced the appointment of Frank Saladino as the facilitator of the center. Frank is already at work making arrangements to purchase some equipment and furniture as well as organizing the borrowing of machines from the parent TRACT center in Mineola.

As a token of its commitment to the success of the new satellite center, the PCT Executive Board unanimously supported a recommendation from the officers of our union to make a contribution of five hundred dollars ($500) toward the purchase of furniture.

Watch for an announcement of the grand opening of our center as well as a schedule of its availability to the membership.



The PCT received the following letter on December 14, 2000 from Gary Burke, our endorsed candidate for the 14th Assembly District.

Last Saturday, I received the final results of the race for New York State Assembly. I am sorry to announce that the final count did not change what was apparent two hours after the polls closed. I still lost the election.

However, victory and defeat, while being the only results that political campaigns measure, still do not tell the entire tale. The fact is that this election, like any other story that evolves over time, had numerous subplots. One of the most important was the effort put forth by the more than one hundred and fifty members of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Congress of Teachers who volunteered their time to help my candidacy.

Please let me say that I’m sorry your efforts were not rewarded with victory, but even in defeat there can be great accomplishments. The fact is that your effort did matter. Your hard work helped me receive more votes for this seat than any Democrat who had previously run for this spot. More so, thanks to your hard work, I actually won more than twice as many election districts than any one of the last three Democratic candidates to run for this seat.

The fact is that I am indebted to each of you. You gave your time and energy and asked for nothing in return. I realize that I will probably never have the chance to thank each of you individually, but I want you to know that I am grateful for your support.

In this the season of miracles, I wish for each of you health, happiness and peace of mind.


Gary Burke 


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