PCT PLEDGE

THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF

THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS 

Volume XXXXI, No.9 May 27, 2004

 

PCT POLITICAL ACTION ALIVE AND WELL

By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

Our political action sure helped us to dodge a bullet. Imagine, over one third of the budgets of Long Island school districts failed on May 18, and some of the most upscale districts too.

If we ever needed to be reminded of the importance of political action, this has been the year. Just this morning I was speaking to a member of the board of education in one of the Nassau County districts with a failed budget. So far they have already excessed ten teachers and cut a number of support staff positions. Like many in their position, they canít afford to try resubmitting their recently failed budget. Should it fail again, they would be on austerity and have to make even deeper cuts to comply with the law.

While our schools will have some budgetary constraints next year, our academic program will go forward unscathed with full staffing. In all, even though only two of the three candidates we supported for seats on the Board of Education were elected, we did extremely well, thanks in no small measure to the efforts of members who made almost four thousand phone calls. The votes of our members who live in POB together with those in their households almost equals the margin of victory for the budget. It was glorious to see so many of our newer members doing their part in our political action work. If other local unions on the Island had duplicated our efforts, many more budgets would have passed. Many fewer teachers would have been excessed.

Here for your interest are the actual election results:

School Budget - YES - 1911 - NO 1329

Library Budget - YES - 1968 - NO 1196

For four (4) Seats on the Board of Education

Cheryl Dender 1965

Wendy Richter 1916

Cathy Shapp 1904

Debbie Bernstein 1765

David Kralstein 1656

For one (1) Seat on the Library Board

Elaine Gross 1828

THE CLASS OF 2004

The PCT Class of 2004 has nine graduates, individuals who have faithfully served the children of Plainview-Old Bethpage for collectively hundreds of years. We have been honored to work with them and trust that they will remain a vital part of our union. They are:

Al Cimaglia - Kennedy

Mary Kempf - District Library

Steve Leimsider - Kennedy

Janet Melnitsky - Athletics Dept.

Maria Navas - Parkway

Mike Pavlovich - Kennedy

Renee Pina - Old Bethpage

Geoff Salzman - Kennedy

Shelly Weissberg - Stratford Rd.

 

On October 27, the PCT will hold its annual party at which our 2004 retirees will be honored. Please plan on attending.

RAISING ACADEMIC STANDARDS

Last monthís Pledge reported on the meeting of the Kennedy High School staff with Dr. Brooks on the issue of the need to raise the academic standards of the district. Since that column, PCT President Morty Rosenfeld met with the Superintendent to discuss ways in which the issue of the districtís academic standards could be explored jointly by labor and management. What the PCT and the District are searching for is a committee structure that will permit and facilitate open and honest discussion and lead to a recommendation to the Board of Education for action. As of this date, no structure is in place. Both Dr. Brooks and Morty Rosenfeld have expressed their desire to have a committee in place before the close of the school year. Watch the Pledge for further development.

KERRY BACKTRACKS ON PERFORMANCE PAY

Many teachers were shocked to hear staffers for the John Kerry campaign describing his education plan to include performance pay for teachers along with differentiated pay for teachers of math and science. The NEA, for example has a long-standing policy against merit pay, particularly pay tied to student results on standardized tests.

Recently, Reg Weaver, President of the NEA, and some of his staff met with Kerry to seek clarification of his plan for the nationís schools. Questioned squarely about his campaignís use of the term "performance pay," Kerry indicated that he had not used that term in the speech he gave on education and the staff was never instructed to do so either. He assured the NEA that he wanted to work with them on the nationís education needs. He further indicated that if he is successful in rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the rich, much of that money would be used to fund the No Child Left Behind Act and other educational needs.

In a letter to local leaders, President Weaver said,"I believe that Senator Kerry is a man of his word who will fight for and advance the interests of NEA members and the students they educate."

TITLE IX COMMITTEE

After a series of intense discussions between the PCT and the District, we have mutually agreed on the direction our Title IX Committee will take into the future. The Committee, for those newer to the District, was established in 1972 to work with the Title IX Compliance Officer to ensure that gender equity became a reality in POB.

Over these 30 years there have been many changes, actually a near complete overhaul of our course and sport offerings to bring them in line with the requirements of the law.

For next year, the PCT has worked with the District to make a plan of expanded scope for this committee. It is clear that gender equity will continue to be one of the subjects the committee should oversee. In addition, the committee will be charged with overseeing the issues of gender identification, sexual orientation and sexual harassment.

Committee members will have the task of sensitizing staff members and parents as well as students to the subjects of gender equity, sexual harassment, gender identification/sexual orientation. They will also act as liaisons to student committees in the buildings that deal with these subjects as well as liaisons to sports teams, coaches and Boosters.

The Committee members will be leaders in the buildings in fighting inequities, harassment, and discrimination. They will be responsible for generating ideas at committee meetings and bringing these ideas to the buildings on a regular basis.

It is expected that for 2004-05 the Committee will meet five times during the year. Meetings in the past have taken place between 1:30 and 3:00 on Wednesday and each building was entitled to two representatives.

If you are a PCT member who feels passionately about these issues and wants some new and exciting work to do representing the teachers and students in your building, call the PCT to volunteer for next yearís committee.

STAFF DEVELOPMENT

On June 1, course offerings for next yearís staff requirement will be on-line at www.mylearningplan.com. PCT members are encouraged to sign up for their eighteen (18) hours of courses as early as possible. It is suggested that you sign up for one session more than the requirement in case you have to miss a session.

RETIREE INFORMATION

PCT members retiring from the District at the end of this year should be aware of a number of items requiring their attention.

By the time new retirees receive this edition of the Pledge, they should have received a packet of information from our unionís Welfare Fund explaining the insurance coverages available to them in retirement and the cost of those coverages. Members should return the benefit selection form to the PCT Office as soon as possible to put these coverages in place.

Members should also receive from the Business Office a form to permit payment of health insurance premiums through a deduction from retirement system benefit checks. This is not mandatory, but it is an error-free way to make sure oneís health insurance premiums are paid in a timely way.

Members wishing to shelter part of their payment for accumulated sick leave should request the necessary form from Jane Wilson in the Business Office (937-6319). This too should be done as soon as possible.

Finally, members who have accrued more than 300 days should write a letter to Dr. Greenberg indicating their desire to donate up to 5 days to the PCT Sick Leave Bank.

 

    

 

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