PCT PLEDGE

THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF

THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS 

Volume XXXXI, No.6 March 1, 2004

PCT CANDIDATE SLATE SET        

       PCT Secretary Judi Alexanderson reports that Officer Candidate Petitions have been filed by the following PCT members in good standing:

                             PCT

            President - Morty Rosenfeld

            High School VP - Cindy Feldman

            Middle School VP - Vicki Ahlsen

            Elementary VP - Robin Glick

            Secretary - Judi Alexanderson

            Treasurer - Andrew Pascal

                            CUPCT

            President - Lillian Feigenbaum

            VP - Lucy Pedone

            Secretary - Ronni Pearce

            Treasurer - Nellie Hirschman

                             SUPCT

            Chairperson - Eileen Vein

            Secretary/Treasurer-RoseWeiner                      

            Alternate - Ronnie Osofsky

       In accordance with the PCT Constitution, in view of the fact that there will be not be a contested election for any union office, PCT Secretary Judi Alexanderson will cast one ballot for each office at the March meeting of the PCT Executive Board.  The term of each elected officer will run from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2006 .

                             PCT/PAC DRIVE NEARS COMPLETION

     SRC Reps are nearing their completion of this year’s PCT/PAC fund-raising drive.  It is from this independent  fund that the PCT finances its political activities on behalf of candidates for the Board of Education, support for the school budget and candidates for state office.

      So far, Stratford Road and Old Bethpage Schools are leading the race to get each PCT member to make the suggested contribution of $10 ($5 for members of the Clerical Unit).  To date, Old Bethpage has collected 90% of their suggested contributions, while Stratford Road has reached 87% of their goal.

     PCT members are reminded that there is still time to make a contribution.

 SAVE MAY 16, 17,18

    This figures to be a very difficult budget year in our school district.  The Superintendent has submitted his budget to the Board of Education which will begin the process of budget review on Monday, March 1, 2004 .  The times are such that just to keep the status quo, a 6% budget increase is necessary to accommodate salary increases and pension costs; this on top of over a million dollar increase in health insurance costs last year. That leaves between 2-3% for improvements in the current school program.

   Successive large increases in school budgets are somewhat nerve-racking.  They stimulate the worry that taxpayers will revolt and force the district on to an austerity budget which would cap our expenditure increase to about two percent.  Such a political disaster would certainly cause the district to layoff staff in that staffing is the only place in a school budget where that kind of money can be found.

   This year’s PCT phone bank operation in support of the POB budget may well be one of the most important political efforts we have made for years.  PCT President Morty Rosenfeld is calling on each member to save at least one of these dates in May to make phone calls.  Rosenfeld said, “The PCT operation to support the budget will undoubtedly save some jobs.  It might even save yours.”

            PERB SETS DATE FOR AIDES ELECTION

    The New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has set Wednesday, March 24, 2004 as the date that it will mail out secret ballots to the school aides of our district which they will use to determine whether they wish to be represented by the PCT, the Teamsters or prefer no representation.  All ballots must be received by  PERB no later than 9:00 AM on April 19, 2004 .

    Ballots in this election will be counted in PERB’s Brooklyn office on Thursday, April 22, 2004 .  Should the Aides vote to be represented by the PCT, the PCT Executive Board, pursuant to the PCT Constitution, will vote to affiliate the Aides Unit as a functional unit of the PCT.

    Currently, the PCT has four functional units, Teacher, Clerical, Substitute Teacher and Public Librarian Units, each with its own separate contract, each with its own unit president and other officers and each represented on the PCT Executive Board.

 UPDATING DISCOUNT CARD

    The PCT Discount Card is being updated.  For a number of years, the card has been good for discounts of up to 10% at many local merchants. 

    Thanks to the efforts of Stratford Road SRC Andrew Pascal, a new version of the card is soon to make its appearance.  Andrew is checking with those merchants currently listed on the card to insure their continued participation.  Additionally, he is soliciting the participation of other businesses in Plainview-Old Bethpage.

   If you routinely do business with establishments in town that do not belong to the PCT Discount Plan but which you think might wish to belong, send a note to Andrew Pascal c/o of the PCT or an e-mail to apaskal@juno.com. Andrew will then contact the merchant about including that business in the PCT program.                                       

RETIREMENT INCENTIVE BILL PROPOSED

    Following the submission of his Executive Budget, Governor Pataki has submitted a bill to the New York State Legislature to provide a retirement incentive to employees of local governments, BOCES and school districts.  The Governor’s bill conspicuously omits state workers and higher education workers.

    The bill as it exists at the moment calls for one twelfth of a year of additional retirement credit for each year of pension service credit.  The most additional credit a person could receive is three years.  Public employers covered by the bill would have to elect to participate in the incentive.

    Thus begins the yearly retirement incentive dance.  The Government relations staff of NEA/ New York inform the PCT that there is a long way to go before this bill can become law.   NYSUT, the state’s largest teacher union  won’t support the bill because it doesn’t cover higher ed people and because it is clear to their largest local , the United Federation of Teachers, that the mayor will not support an incentive. 

   The PCT will be monitoring this bill and other retirement bills surely to come very carefully.  PCT President Morty Rosenfeld, Secretary Judi Alexanderson and Retiree Chapter President Joe Marcal will be in Albany next week discussing this and other education matters with our elected state representatives.         

COACHES’ MEETING HELD

   On Thursday, February 12, 2004 , PCT Coaching Chair Tom Syrett conducted a meeting of PCT athletic coaches.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss salaries, working conditions and other issues related to the District’s sports programs.  Ideas for correcting inequities that have arisen in the sports program were discussed toward the goal of crafting demands for the next time we enter into  full negotiations with the Board of Education.  Also present at the meeting were PCT President Morty Rosenfeld and Secretary Judi Alexanderson.  

KENNEDY STAFF REJECTS SELF-SELECTION 

     At the February 10 meeting of the PCT Executive Board, the Kennedy SRC presented a resolution passed by the high school staff of the practice of student self-selection of courses.  Essentially what this refers to is an administrative decision to permit students to take any courses they wish without having to meet any established entrance criteria and without the recommendation of their teachers.   The resolution read as follows:

   Whereas the self-selection process has degraded and devalued our AP and Honors classes;

  Whereas the absence of strong students who have been previously in Regents level classes has weakened the academic nature of the class;

  Whereas the filling out of placement forms has become a meaningless exercise in paperwork which ambitious students are encouraged to ignore;

  Whereas the weighting of AP and Honors courses motivates students to take classes for reasons that are not academically sound;

  The faculty of POBJFK condemns the self-selection process and demands strict adherence to established criteria for admission into Honors and AP classes.

   Because there was not sufficient time to discuss this complex issue, the Executive Board tabled the resolution to its March meeting.                                                         

PROGRESS ON INTERNET CENSORSHIP

   For some time, the PCT has been pressing Central Administration to end the current practice of censoring the Internet access of staff in the same way student access to some sites is curtailed. 

   There is now conceptual agreement that it is inappropriate to filter the sites that staff can access.  Both sides agree that the current practice lessens the ability of staff to use the Internet to enrich their classes.

   The finishing touches on a clear policy for staff use of the Internet should be coming out shortly.  This policy essentially recognized the law of New York in which it is clear that users of the district’s network have no presumption of privacy.  The policy recognized that management has a legal right to inspect what a staff member downloads onto the hard drive of any of the district’s computers as well as monitoring the sites a staff member visits if it chooses to do so.  Another way of putting this is, as the Pledge has repeatedly reminded our members, use the district’s network for school business only.

   To gain unfettered access to the Internet, staff will have to sign an acknowledgment that they have read the Internet policy and  will abide by its terms. 

                       

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