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THE TORCH:DECEMBER 2004

THE BOTTOM LINE

†††† Hugh M. Spoljaric, President

††††††††††††† Kingston Teachersí Federation

†††††††††††††††††††††††††† ďA Respectful Visití

†††† Last week, the two new NYSUT Vice Presidents, Richard Iannuzzi and Maria Niera, came to Kingston for the ED 13 meeting. Union heads from Wappingers to Sullivan West to Cairo-Durham, including KTF Vice Presidents Lauri Naccarato and Kathy Werner, attended the meeting that followed my visit with them.

†††† Among the items that we discussed was the changing regulations of state ed. A new set of specifications and formats for the grades 3-8 tests in ELA and Math were developed. CTB McGraw-Hill worked with teachers in the development of the tests.

†††† The state is creating a grade-by-grade K-12 ELA core curriculum. Appropriate performance indicators have been developed in each of the four ELA standards in each grade level. Test samplers will be available in January 2005.

†††† The Math standards are still in draft form. NYSUT believes that any new math tests must be reviewed and revised before a core curriculum is developed and any new math tests are administered in grades 3-8.

†††† Both NYSUT VPís indicated that they are advocating for the elimination of regional scoring of state exams. They favor site based scoring within the school where the exams were administered.

†††† Additionally, they are extremely concerned over the impact of AIS services. In many districts, courses have been eliminated as the need for AIS grows.

†††† Lastly, they indicated that a merger of the AFT and the NEA is on the horizon. Details have been worked out and an announcement should be forthcoming by February.

†††† It was a special night, one of many that they will attend throughout the state as they assume their new roles at NYSUT. And, it was special of them to sit down and to talk with me. It tells me that the KTF is well respected.

†††† And, thatís the Bottom Line.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††† IMPASSE DECLARED!

†††† At the bargaining session between the Kingston City Schools and the Kingston Teachersí Federation teachers unit held on Tuesday, November 30, 2004, your KTF Negotiating Team declared an impasse in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. The team representing the Kingston Schools Board of Education joined in the impasse.

†††† The parties will seek agreement on the designation of a mediator. The first step of the impasse procedure under the New York State Public Relations Board (PERB) is to provide for the appointment of a mediator. The mediatorís role is to assist the parties in reaching agreement on unresolved issues. The mediator has no power other than his or her ability to assist the parties in reaching agreement on outstanding issues.

†††† Your bargaining team felt it necessary to declare impasse because of the Board of Educationís insistence on the reduction of health insurance benefits coupled with additional personal contributions from those covered by our health Trust.

†††† The district is also seeking further changes in job responsibilities and duties without offering fair increases in salaries.

†††† The bargaining team appreciates the continued support given our team by the membership. Your continued support is most important in achieving a fair settlement that meets the needs of our members.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† EDITORIAL

†††† The sudden announcement that the Federation had reached impasse with the district does not come as a complete shock. After all, it took two years in 1993 and 18 months in 1997 to get a new contract. In 2000, a new deal was driven, not by a concern for the units, but by the Boardís goal of having all units settled for the new incoming Superintendent. Usually, districts are in no hurry to settle. Bank the money and stretch out the time, for there is no penalty. The responsibility, regardless of the administration, rests with the nine people who are the Board of Education. Impasse begins when the path becomes foggy or is blocked. Itís also possible that the fogginess has caused the blockage.†††††††† ††††††

†††† There is a history to the negotiations between the district and the KTF that cannot be dismissed; not by any consultant, not by any advisor, not by any assistant. We know the community. We are the community. We are Kingston teachers and secretaries and assistants and monitors and substitutes and retirees. Over the many years, we have a history of being dedicated, loyal, reasonable and responsible members of the community, regardless of the make up of either the Board or the administration.

†† ††We encourage the Board to place some trust in the people who are the KTF, and thatís almost all of us. We hope that the impasse comes to pass, soon.

††††††††††††††††††††††† KTF HONORED BY AFT

†††† AFT President Ed McElroy has presented the KTF with their nationally recognized Partners in Political Action award. The AFT recognized KTF efforts in raising voluntary political funds through the VOTE/COPE program. KTF VP Lauri Naccarato and former VP Vince Voerg chair the KTF program. McElroy stated that ďYour leadership makes us stronger nationally, statewide, and locally. Your members have made a powerful difference in the voice for labor families.Ē

††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HEALTH UPDATES

†††† As of January 1, 2005, members are reminded that the Trust health insurance plan will rebate, after documentation of 12 months participation,$100 per member and $150 per member and spouse for a yearís membership in a health club or gym. Also, as of January 1, members who have prescriptions for maintenance drugs will need to use 93-day mail order. Prescriptions for those drugs will be unavailable on a monthly basis at a local pharmacy upon the fourth refill.

†††† With a declared impasse in contract negotiations and, therefore, no immediate possibility of a 125 Plan, there will be no increase in co-pays.

†††† And, dependent children who are non-students and meet the criteria are now covered to age 23.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SAVE YOUR LIFE

†††† Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, without help, the person with severe chest pain that radiates out into the arm and up into the jaw, whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen in to the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.

IS IT A STROKE? Sometimes, symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. All it may take are three simple questions: Ask the individual to SMILE; ask the person to RAISE BOTH ARMS; ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE.

†††† If (s)he has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke may prevent brain damage.

†††† Itís probably a good idea to actually practice these procedures so that if they have to be used, it wonít be your first time.

††††††††††††††††††††††††† ROUNDUP at the BREAK!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS

†††† Teacher unit members who prefer a particular substitute teacher should present the substitutes name to their Principal. The Principal will forward the name to Assistant superintendent for personnel, Joe Previll. He, in turn, will advance the request to the Sub Service. In some cases, the same sub may be the top request of several teachers and will have the choice of assignments. Teacher unit members should not advance any requests directly to the Sub Service.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† STUDENT TEACHERS

†††† Arrangements for student teachers must go through the Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, Joe Previll. The district has working arrangements with several colleges, including New Paltz, St. Rose, Marist, Mt. St. Maryís, and, soon, Bard and all assignments need to be approved. Additionally, in these times of heightened awareness, there exists a need to know who is in the buildings.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† STATE ED

†††† The State Education department will be doing a review of elementary level Special Education services in the Kingston Schools.

As a part of the review, they will be visiting classrooms to observe the implementation of Individual Education Plans. The visitations are child oriented and are to observe the programs for these students.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† LOCAL 1141

†††† NYSUTíS SUPPORT STAFF, THE 160 MEMBERS OF THE communication Workersí of America (CWA), Local 1141, the secretaries and receptionists for all NYSUT offices, are negotiating a new contract with NYSUT. The present contract expires on December 31, 2004.

††† Members are asking for support from NYSUT locals. Please email NYSUT President Tom Hobart and Executive Director Pauline Kinsella

(first letter and last name@nysutmail.org) and urge them to follow their union beliefs and to bargain a fair settlement with CWA Local 1141.

†††††††† †††††††††††††††TAX DEFERRED ANNUITIES†††††††††††††

†††† Teachers, especially new teachers, should become aware of TSAís(TDAís), 403B plans that allow you to save for retirement using pretax dollars. The maximum allowable contributions for 2005 are $14,000 plus an additional $4,000 if age 50 or older. If you havenít yet started and you have at least 15 years of service with the Kingston schools, you may also be eligible to contribute an additional $3,000 to your plan under the catch-up provision.

†††† There are 26 agencies that have contracts with the Kingston Schools. Talk to your colleagues about the providers. The NYSUT endorsed plan is from ING.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† BLOOD DRIVE

†††† The KTF Blood Drive on November 17 was a HUGE success! 80 pints of blood were donated at the J. W. Bailey School and represent the largest KTF donation day to date. All participants received 75 Key To Fun points toward the cruise in May.

†††† The drive was, once again, coordinated by KTF Grievance Chair Suzanne Jordan, whose husband Michael and graduating senior son, Ben, also donated.

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†††††††††††††††††††††† ALL BETTER

†††† KTF retiree leader Don Sweeney made a quick trip to St. Peterís Hospital in Albany last week to have emergency angioplasty performed on two heart arteries. All went well and he was back home within two days. No shoveling snow and no lifting, as in groceries, were the main doctorís orders.