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            THE TORCH:  May 2003 ON-LINE


     Hugh M. Spoljaric, President

              Kingston Teachers’ Federation

                 “IT SAYS IT ALL!”

     . In the past two editions of The Bottom Line, I’ve tried to convey the point that I believe that public education is on the cutting block of the Bush administration and of ever one of their political allies. Do you get it? No more public education as we know it! No more jobs! No more benefits! Don’t take a nap because this agenda is quietly pushing forward and onward. Maybe, I need to say it differently. Well, this past week, following the Marchforpubliceducation at the Empire State Plaza on May 3, I received the following letter. It says it all!

Dear Stu,

     Not knowing where to begin will not preclude our praise for the 5/3/03 rally in Albany. You (along with many individuals unknown to us) are to be commended for the organizational efforts that went into producing a very successful rally. We have, over the years, been to other mass gatherings. None have exhibited such concern for detail. While we came prepared for extremes in weather, we also brought water, snacks, etc. Our positive impressions started with your coolers of beverages, the bag lunches, continued with the Union staff at the Thruway rest area(s), and the slips with the bus parking ID.

     Upon arrival at the Capitol Plaza, we first observed a combination of union staff and various police agencies that, while adequate for the crowd, were not of a level evoking an impression that confrontations were expected. Next were the portable sanitary stations, the poster stations, as well as the lunch facilities. Throughout the rally, uniformed staff was well dispersed to offer any assistance. The sound and video systems were adequate for the assemblage, but did not convey the message that the Union was wasteful of funds.

     The variety of excellent speakers was terrific, and even more astounding was the speaking order. Whether by design or coincidence, between any two forceful speakers was a speaker who projected a calming effect. This served well to prevent the rally from turning into a mob scene (which the media in attendance would have gladly exploited).

     The crowning glory, for which the entire membership is to be commended, was the minimal (almost non-existent) level of debris upon the Plaza grounds and surrounding areas where trash left by ralliers in their haste to depart is usually found.

     Yet the message was clearly received; Governor, SIGN THE BILL; State Senate and Assembly, OVERRIDE; and all voters, REMEMBER ELECTION DAY!

     We must, however, close on a negative note. Rhetorically, why did only a handful of the Kingston membership choose to give up their day for this important function? Please do not chastise yourself. As a union member, and a spouse who was once a job steward, we (all three) already know the answer. ‘Let someone else carry the banner, and we’ll jump on the caboose’. The poor turnout was, never the less, disheartening for some of us who attended. God Bless you for leading the cause.


                                                 Nancy Schuerzinger,  Karl Schuerzinger

     Thanks, folks, I couldn’t have said it any better.

And, that’s the Bottom Line.


                    BUDGET VOTE RESCHEDULED

     The state legislators, hoping that a more definitive budget is in place, overrode the Governors agenda and moved the voting for public schools budgets from May 20 to June3. In doing so, they also reinstated $2.1 billion in education aid. The Governor now has ten (10) days to veto that legislation. He could decide to do it line by line which would put the budget process well in to the summer.

     If the Governors anticipated veto is overridden by the legislature, Kingston will receive $3 million in additional aid. The district has not decided how it will be applied.

     It is vitally important that you let our assemblyman and senators know that “we have their back” and will support them ion their challenge to the Governor. If they think that you are not there, there will be no support. Go to the NYSUT web site, click on ‘contact your legislator’, and send a fax (ready made letter) or an email to them. Locally, our Assemblyman is Kevin Cahill (101st) and Bill Larkin (39th) and John Bonacic (40th) represent the Senate. Larkin and Bonacic are Republicans and need to know that you back the challenge to governor Pataki. Even for the computer illiterate, this is a simple task.

KTF PHONE BANKS: Have you done your ‘jury duty’ for your Federation this year? The opportunity exists at the Phone Banks. The KTF has rescheduled the banks for May 27 (4-8pm) and May 28 (4-6pm) at the NYSUT office. It’s all automated dialing and an opportunity to support your careers. Contact Sandy Breitenberger at KHS to get involved.



AGENCY FEE PAYMENT REFUND:  Pursuant to Section 208 of the Public Employment Act, Article XIV of the Civil Service Law m(Taylor Law), you are eligible for a partial refund of the fee paid for the upcoming 2003-04 fiscal year. Please submit your request and reasons for the refund  in writing to RoseMarie Maresca, KHS, by June 30, 2003.


                               RETIREES LUNCHEON

     The luncheon for the Kingston Retired Teachers’ Federation will be held on May 22 at Wiltwyck. Additionally, there is a bus trip to NYC on May 28 and an excursion to Saratoga Race Track on July 31. Contact Anne Tucker or Don Sweeney for more information.



     National Health Administrators has given a $1000 scholarship to a graduating senior from a KTF family every year for the past six years. In fact, on three different occasions, the selection committee was deadlocked on the winner, and National Health gave two scholarships. The scholarship is based on a student’s complete accomplishments of mind, body, and spirit.

     Applications are available from KTF Secretary Lauri Naccarato at KHS and are due on July 2, 2003.


                             KTF ELECTIONS

      The biennial election for KTF Officers and Representatives will be held on Thursday, May 29, 2:30- 4 pm in the KHS Café.

      The election for the ESP Chairperson to the KTF is on the ballot. It is a contested position with incumbent Joan White running against challenger James Habernig.


                             MADAM PRESIDENT

    On May 4, Gail Kelly, JWB, after serving as President-elect for two years, took office as President of the New York State Council of Educational Associates for 2003-05. The NYSCEA represents 40 affiliates of NYS Professional Associations.

     The Council is currently helping the State Education Department to wordsmith the Middle Level Policy and Regulations. The last policy was written in 1984.





     Do you have at least five (5) years experience in your current position? OR, Are you a recent (post 1998) retiree? Are you interested in mentoring a new teacher? Then, you could be a candidate for a Mentoring position. Contact Pat Neher at M. Clifford Miller Middle School, Fording Place Road, Lake Katrine, NY 12449 by May 31.

     Send Name, Address, Grade/Subject area, Years experience, School, and, if retired, date of retirement, and phone number.


                     ULSTER FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

     UFCU is offering its members a great deal on both NEW and USED AUTO loans, as well as refinances from other institutions, through May 31. The promotion loan rates range from 2.45 to 4.8% on all auto loans. Whether you are looking for a dependable automobile or a sporty new car, we have rates that will fit your budget.

     Also, don’t forget about our FREE checking accounts. No fees, No service charges, NO hassles! You pay for your checks and your account will never be charged unless you bounce a check. UFCU offers overdraft on checking accounts, so you will always be covered if you come up a bit short.

     If you would like further information on Auto Loan Specials or free Checking Accounts, please contact Stacey at (845)339-5544, ext. 132.


                               OPEN ENROLLMENT

     The annual Open House is scheduled for June 12, 3-5 pm at the Cioni Building. Any member, whether enrolled in a health plan or in the buyout, is invited to attend. Representatives from NHA, BCBS, MVP, CDPHP, and GHI will be present to review the plans effective July 1, 2003.

     The Open House may be beneficial to any member who wants to compare their current plan under a spouse’s plan and/or contemplate making a change in their current plan. Current plan designs and HMO costs will be available.

NHA OUT-OF-AREA STATUS: OOA status is available to retired employees and covered dependents attending school who are permanent residents outside of New York State or outside of the 50-mile radius of Kingston, NY. Registration is required with the Kingston Trust Fund before services are rendered. Current retirees and/or students that meet these criteria are registered as OOA with NHA. Approved status provides the waiver of the $250 deductible with covered expenses reimbursed at the in-network percentage instead of 80%. Effective July 1, 2003, the OOA percentage will be 90%. Temporary OOA status is not available.


To: Priscilla Lowe(MCM), on the passing of her significant other; Barbara Tartarzewski (JWB), on the passing of her father; Larraine Dart(KHS), on the passing of her significant other; Michele Lowe(KHS), on the passing of her brother-in-law; Vicki Fabiano (KHS) on the passing of her mother-in-law; Betty Eaton(KHS) on the passing of her mother-in-law; Linda Clausi (Graves) on the passing of her mother-in-law; and A.J. Gruner(A.D.) on the passing of his mother.


                               THANK YOU!

To: All members of the Kingston City Schools

     As many of you know, my son, Greg Waltman, was diagnosed with leukemia on March 2001. Greg needed to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Greg received that transplant one year ago and that transplant cured Greg of his leukemia. Several weeks ago, we were able to celebrate Greg’s 18th birthday.

     All during his medical treatments, Greg spoke of his determination to return to ‘his’ high school and to graduate with ‘his’ class on time. I, being his Mother, watched in awe as Greg battled to kep his promise. With the help of so many, Greg’s promise will be a reality this June!

     We would like to thank all of you, with all our hearts, for all your help. Many of you donated ‘sick days’ so I could remain with Greg during his lengthy hospital stays. Those days were true gifts of life. We thank you for your prayers, well wishes, generous donations, and, of course, all your acts of kindness. All of you have helped us remain strong and focused.

     All your efforts helped to save Greg’s life. He and I know how truly fortunate we are to be members of the community called Kingston City Schools!

    With All Our Thanks!                      Teresa and Greg Waltman


                                   HOUSES FOR RENT

2 bedroom house, 1 ½ baths on 10 acres in Town of Ulster. $925/mo.+ utilities. Available June 1. Contact Beverly Daley at 339-3172.


Quaint Cape Cod cottage in South Yarmouth, Mass., centrally located in quiet residential area near shopping, 10 minutes from the bay and sound. The home includes 2 bdrms., 1 bath, LR, kit., sm. Sunrm., outdr. Shower, washer/dryer. Beautifully decorated. No children or pets please. Perfect for two couples. Available June thru Sept.$800.wk. Call Barbara Darbin Tolfson at 339-4547 after 4 pm.