PCT PLEDGE

THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF

THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS 

VOL. XXXXIII, NO. 4  NOVEMBER 21, 2005

 

A LOOK AT INFLATION

PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

    One of the things that I watch very carefully in my role as the chief negotiator for the PCT is the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  This is the number computed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that is the official measurement of inflation in the United States .  For the year ended October 2005, the inflation rate in the New York metropolitan area as measured by the CPI was 4.5 percent. 

   For whatever reason, that news in my email inbox got me to thinking about the Newsday article last spring that reported the “outrageous” news that there were teachers on Long Island making $100,000 a year.  There were even a few in Plainview .  What would those salaries look like if one took account of inflation?, I wondered.

   Here’s the almost astonishing answer.  A 2005 dollar buys what 16 cents could buy in 1967, approximately the time I began to teach.  In the fall of 1968, a teacher at MA plus 60 credits and a minimum of 15 years experience earned $13,950.  That person today is earning $100,544.  If however, we measure the current salary in 1967 dollars, today’s teacher is earning $16,087 or $2137 constant dollars more that she made in 1967.

   Let me anticipate the criticism of my calculations.  The CPI does assume that the imaginary consumer whose cost of living is being measured is purchasing housing each year and other things that our teacher is not. Nevertheless, it does offer us some perspective on what otherwise appear to be inflammatory numbers.  While teachers have done better than many in the workforce, many having lost ground,  they have not as Newsday would have the public understand won increases very much beyond the rate of inflation in this area.  A more honest newspaper would recognize this.  For what it’s worth, I’ve stopped buying it.

NEGOTIATIONS

   At their bi-monthly meeting with the Board of Education, the officers of the PCT presented their view that it would be in the interest of both the membership of the PCT and the Board and community if we could quickly roll over the existing contract before we get into the thick of the budget process and talk of a bond referendum to finance the districts many worthy capital projects.

   The officers expressed their concern about the simmering anger in POB and Long Island over  rapidly escalating property taxes, reminding everyone that forty-seven Long Island budgets were defeated last year.   Engaging in conventional and protracted negotiations in the current environment doesn’t seem to be the wise thing to do.

  The Board of Education took the officers’ position under advisement, promising to consider their position carefully.  In the meantime, however, preparations are beginning for a regular round of negotiations should that prove necessary.  At the November 15 meeting of the PCT Executive Board, PCT President Morty Rosenfeld called for volunteers to join our union Negotiating Committee.  Any PCT member is eligible to serve on the committee.  However, participation obliges a member to be available when service on the committee is required.  Negotiating Committee members cannot attend only convenient negotiating sessions for them.

 Members interested in serving on the Negotiating Committee should contact Morty Rosenfeld at the PCT Office or by email to  

 The PCT Executive Board will receive the President’s recommendation for a negotiating committee at their December meeting.

 

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEMPERATURES RISING                 

  The implementation of team teaching at POB’s middle schools has been flawed from its inception.  Because of the unwillingness and/or inability of the administration to schedule all teachers on teams, “non-team” teachers have increasingly come to see themselves as  sort of underclass members of the staff. 

   Recently this unhealthy situation was made worse by a decision at both schools to load non-team teachers with hall and cafeteria duties in probable violation of our contract and certainly beyond the need of either building.  It’s as though the principals have declared an emergency or crisis  at these buildings requiring teachers to perform these duties.  It is curious how while major sections of  the Memorandum of Understanding on Teaming are flouted by the administration, their focus of attention is only on duties.  The middle school  is left to wonder if the staff’s attempts to draw attention to how teaming is not being implemented according to our memorandum of understanding is causing an embarrassed administration to get even with us by assigning unnecessary duties.

The PCT will be meeting with the Superintendent to discuss this situation.  The PCT Executive Board is awaiting the results of these meetings before it considers taking any action.  Grievance Chair Judi Alexanderson is exploring the possibilities of filing one or more grievances to remedy this situation. 

   Stay tuned for developments.

 

CURRICULUM MAPPING

   PCT members participating in the curriculum mapping activities were shocked to find that contrary to what they had been led to understand, their individual maps could be accessed by anyone with the ability to log into the Atlas program. 

   PCT President Morty Rosenfeld reported to the Executive Board that the district has not reneged on its commitment to maintain the privacy of individuals imputing information into the system.  They simply were unaware that the program was set up to permit this unwanted access.

   The PCT and the district are having discussions with the goal of finding a resolution to this technology problem.  The agreed upon goal was and continues to be to produce a K-12 curriculum for the district.

   Watch the Pledge for further developments.

 

EXECUTIVE BOARD RATIFIES NURSES MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

   Members will remember that our Registered Nurse members asked the PCT to move them from the Clerical Unit into the Teacher Unit of our union.  While the district quickly agreed to do this, moving the unit required careful discussions with them as to which sections of the two contracts would apply to the nurses in that the movement was not intended to change their benefits or working conditions.

   That process has now been completed and is summarized in a memorandum of understanding between the district and the PCT.  The PCT Executive Board ratified the Memorandum of Understanding at its last meeting.  The memo will be bound into the new contract booklet that is being prepared and which should be available to the membership shortly.

 

TEST GRADING

   The district has approached the PCT to open negotiations on the grading of the new assessments in grades 3 to 8.  Previously, the 4th and 8th grade assessments were graded by teachers who were relieved of their teaching duties by substitute teachers.  With the addition of these new tests, the number of teachers required to do the grading increases immensely as does the number of substitutes required.

  The district has proposed seeking an agreement by which teachers would be paid to volunteer to grade these exams after school and on Saturdays.  The discussion continues.  Watch the Pledge for developments.

 

NEA/ NEW YORK SCHOLARSHIP

   Each year our state union, NEA/ New York , awards two $2000 scholarships to the children or grandchildren of members who are graduating high school seniors.  PCT members who have eligible family members and are interested in applying for the scholarship are asked to request further information and an application from the PCT Office.  The application deadline is February 17, 2006 .

 

          OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

   Members have received open enrollment forms to change their coverages for dental and excess major medical insurance.  Completing a form is only necessary if a member wishes to change from individual to family or family to individual coverage.  Those wishing to make a change should return the form to the PCT Office by December 15, 2005 .  The changes will take effect on January 1, 2006 .

 

PCT OFFICE BACK TO 9-5

   This September, the PCT Office went on a 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM schedule to better serve our membership, many of whom are in the district by 8:00 AM most days.  Regrettably, the office has had to return to its 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM schedule with the departure of the employee hired to accommodate the early opening.

   On November 28, Ms. Jane Volpe will assume her duties at the PCT Office.  The Office expects that when her training is completed we will be able to resume the 8:00 AM experiment in the fall.

 

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