Volume XXXXI, No.7 March 23, 2004


By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

    Friday, March 19 was the end of a very long week at the PCT.  Board of Education workshop that didn't end until almost 11 PM, Tuesday a PCT Executive Board meeting, Wednesday a speech at Mattlin and a meeting of the Rubin Scholarship Committee, Thursday a two hour meeting the district's teacher aides followed by some evening work for the Long Island Regional Council of NEA/New York.  All the preparation for these tasks plus the routine parts of our days at the PCT, answering members questions, engaging the administration on behalf of the concerns of our membeship.

    At about 4 PM as we were preparing to turn the lights out on our week, Sue Polansky and I mused on the events of the week and the energy they had consumed.  ABut,@ she said, AIt=s very exciting to be doing something new,@ specifically referring to the work we have been doing to organize the teacher aides into the PCT.

   Sue=s offhanded remark at the end of a busy workweek contains a fundamental truth about organizations like the PCT.  Vital organizations are always trying to grow.  They are always looking for opportunities to extend their influence, to tackle new problems to challenge the status quo.  They are always questioning their policies and beliefs.  Doing so energizes them.  It makes them think more imaginatively.  In trying to figure out the complex questions raised by bringing 161 teacher aides into our welfare fund, we came up with ideas that will improve our service and benefits to our existing membership.  Those thoughts probably would never have occurred without the stimulus of the challenge of organizing the teacher aides.

    Facing the challenge of developing new leadership for the PCT, the officers of the PCT, the Executive Board and I have been thinking hard about the future of the PCT, doing our best to ensure that the next 45 years are even more glorious than the first.  Next year, we=re planning on doing some things differently, a full-time president, Head SRC Reps in each building and a program of leadership development for officers and SRC reps that will have a significant commitment of time and money behind it.

   I know there are some in our ranks who are uncertain about some of these changes.  It=s good for the organization to have them challenge our plans.  They force us to think more clearly, to explain ourselves more fully.  But, in the end, the fact remains that if we are to continue to progress, we must move forward and embrace our future, knowing that each new challenge we accept leads to others, but knowing too that we grow stronger and healthier with each step, knowing that the only choice we don=t have is to stand still.

 P.S. I have received an anonymous letter claiming to be from members raising questions about teaching schedules and requesting that I answer it in the Pledge.  I never answer anonymous letters.  If members wrote the letter, I would ask them to call me so that we can discuss the issues they raised. 

                SAVE THE DATE

   On May 16, 17 and 18 members of the PCT will be making phone calls in support of the District=s 2004-05 School Budget and members of the Board of Education, Library Board of Trustees and Library Budget.  The school budget which at this point in the review process calls for increases of about 7.7 percent above the current budget keeps all existing programs intact, while making some economies in non-essential areas, although probably not enough.

   The phone bank that the PCT mounts each year is a very labor intensive activity.  Officers and building reps can not carry the burden alone.  They need every member to help.

   The officers have asked each member to set aside some time on these dates to do this important political action work.  As PCT President Morty Rosenfeld is fond of saying, AThe job you save may be your own.


   On Thursday, March 18, the PCT made its last presentation to members of the Teacher Aides bargaining group prior to their casting their ballots between March 26 and April 19.  The meeting was very well attended, and for two hours members of the unit asked questions of the officers and staff.  When the meeting was over, it was the impression of our officers that the PCT had done very well.  Participants appeared to leave with a very favorable impression of our union.

   Votes in this organizing election will be tabulated at the offices of the New York State Public Employment Relations Board in Brooklyn on Monday, April 26.  Watch for the announcement of the results.


  The PCT is expecting to hear from the Board of Education soon about the structure of a committee to be formed that will permit us to participate in working on the Board=s goal to examine our middle school program and make recommendations for its improvement.

  While awaiting the formation of this committee, the officers of the PCT recently brought together those middle school teachers who participated in the Nancy Doda seminars, those who went to the middle school conference in Atlanta and the Middle School SRC Reps to begin thinking about the things we know need immediate improvement.

  Everyone present expressed an interest in finding ways to schedule interdisciplinary teaming as it is supposed to be done in accordance with the memorandum of understanding between the PCT and the District.  Scheduling improvements could be done for next year, but if that is to happen work will have to begin very soon.


   The last edition of the Pledge reported on a motion passed by the staff of Kennedy High School calling for an end to the policy of self-selection, the policy which permits students to register for any class at any instructional level without meeting any firm entrance criteria.

   The Kennedy motion was taken up by the PCT Executive Board at their March meeting and was unanimously adopted, making opposition to self-selection the policy of the PCT.  The officers of the PCT will now be discussing this issue with the central administration and the Board of Education. 

   The PCT has additionally invited a member of PTA Council to a meeting at which the issue of self-selection is to be discussed.  The officers are very interested in seeing the extent to which the parents of this community support this policy.


   The 2003-04 PCT/PAC fund raising drive is coming to a close.  SRC Reps would like to be able to end their collections by the spring break.  To date, this year=s drive has produced the following results:

 School     $ to Date  # Teachers  # Clerks    Pot.     Dif.

KG Center    $235            33                  3       $345    $110

Stratford       $370           40                  4        $420    $  50

Old Beth       $360           36                  4        $380    $  20 

Parkway        $315           40                  4        $420    $105

Pasadena      $285           35                  4        $370    $  85

Mattlin          $350           73                  7        $765    $415

PMS              $105           82                10        $870     $765

JFKHS          $780          144                19       $1535   $755

 Total            $2800         483                55       $5105  $2305


  Members who have not as yet made their contribution ($10 teachers & $5 clerical and subs) should see their SRC Reps today.  Monies collected by PCT/PAC are used only for school district political issue and state campaigns, the places where workplace and educational issues are decided.


   PCT members recently received an announcement about a new auto/homeowners insurance plan available from AIG, one of the largest insurance companies, through our state organization, NEA/New York.  The promotional material states that savings of up to $300 can be obtained through this program.

   Prior to putting the material out to the membership, the PCT, ever suspicious of claims by insurance companies, had PCT Secretary Judi Alexanderson call and ask for a quote on the coverages she currently has with another company.  As the promotional materials state, she was offered the exact same auto coverage at a yearly savings of $306.  If you are interest in exploring this benefit, you need only call the following toll-free number - 1-800-319-4382.

             PCT DISCOUNT CARD

   PCT Treasurer Elect Andrew Paskal reports that work on the update of the PCT Discount Card is complete, and it has been sent to the printer.  Watch your mailbox for your new card.  The updated version has many of the old discounts but quite a few new ones as well.


   Coming very soon will be a completely new PCT benefit, discounted real estate services through Prudential Real Estate.  Watch your letter box for news about reduced fees for buying and selling a home as well as a host of different services related to moving and/or buying a vacation home.


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