Hugh M. Spoljaric, President
in the 1860’s that Dorothea Dix addressed the plight of the handicapped in our
society. To address the concern, state hospitals and institutions were
established. In the early 1970’s, Geraldo Rivera exposed the despicable conditions at
In 1991, federal
law reauthorized the original 1974 law once again. Two additional groups of
classifications, Learning Disabled and Emotionally Disturbed, emerged. Terms
like ‘least restrictive environment’ were used to determine classifications.
The number of 504 (learning adaptation) cases increased. Inclusion produced a
Consultant Teacher model that was created in an effort to have the special
education teacher and the classroom teacher work more closely together. Annual
reviews, three-year reviews, and annual reevaluation of Individual Learning
Plans were mandated. The number of classified students in
The private school is accountable to no one except, perhaps, the parents. They do not have to report back to the district that has provided the funding. It’s an open account that costs many public school districts into the six figures for the private placement in an institutional school for the handicapped. And, what has really been done? The child that society has promoted for 30 years to be integrated into the classroom has been restricted to a segregated institutional setting. The common evil that was prevalent 30 years ago has come full circle. It’s an unintended consequence of government decisions that empower self-interest.
are enforced through the equal protection clause of the 14th
amendment of the
And, that’s the Bottom Line.
TOM HOBART TO RETIRE
The only President that the
Hobart stated that with the move of Toni
Cortese to the Vice Presidency of the AFT, he was the last remaining member of
the group that originally formed NYSUT from the merger of the NYS Teachers and
the United Teachers of New York in 1973. The merger did not happen overnight,
During the time of interim governance,
KTF Hugh Spoljaric remembered
Hobart said in his letter, “Every morning when I awake, I am excited to go to the NYSUT headquarters, to travel to a local, or to represent NYSUT at a meeting, a conference, or a convention.”
The NYSUT RA will not only honor Tom Hobart, but it will elect the next President of a union that has grown from 100,000 members to 500,000 members under his leadership.
HEALTH TRUST NOTICE
Effective January 1, 2005 I
The following changes have been adopted
and agreed to by the Trustees of the
#1 VISION--Increase coverage from 50% to 80% after $25 co-pay to a maximum benefit of $150 annually. Additionally, glasses, contacts, frames will be covered at 50% to a maximum of $150 annually.
#2: HEALTH CLUB DUES REIMBURSEMENT--The plan will reimburse members up to $100 annually for single membership and $150 annually for both the member and their spouse. Reimbursement will be made at the end of the membership year (beginning January 1, 2005) upon submission of proof of payment and membership in a health club for 12 months. WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE MEMBERS TO EXERCISE REGULARLY, EAT RIGHT, AND TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT AND LIFESTYLE. INDIVIDUALS HAVE CONTROL OVER AT LEAST 35% OF THEIR OWN HEALTH.
#3: DEPENDENT CHILDREN--Increase the age of dependent children who are non-students from age 19 to age 23. Coverage ends on the last day of the month in which the dependent attains age 23. Dependent gross income must be less than the IRS allowable($3,100 for 2004), unmarried, living at home, and claimed as a dependent on the parent's tax return. Coverage ends when dependent status ceases; when the dependent is responsible for more than 50% of his/her support, when dependent begins working with an expected income that will exceed the IRS limit; when dependent becomes covered under any other insurance plan. The failure to timely notify the plan within 60 days of any change may adversely affect the availability of COBRA for the dependent or may create a financial liability for benefits paid by the plan when the member was ineligible to be covered. Once a dependent no longer qualifies as such, they are eligible for COBRA coverage for 36months.
#4: PRESCRIPTIONS-- Prescription costs continue to rise at over 20% per year over the past 5 years (40% in the last two years). The Trustees have appealed to members to use the 93-day supply with mail order, especially for maintenance drugs. Yet, only 6-8% of members have complied. Mail order saves the member money and saves the Trust money. Therefore, as adopted on July 1 and effective January 1, 2005, any medication refilling more than three (3) consecutive times (i.e. maintenance drug) must be filled through the 93-day mail order. Any member who attempts to refill a drug that they have used for three (3) months or more will be refused the 31-day supply at the local pharmacy on the fourth attempt. (Please do not use mail order for any newly prescribed drug until you are sure that it works for you.
Call the Trust Office for mail order application. Please use it!
Refills at the pharmacy level will not be permitted for more than 31 days. DO NOT send restricted prescriptions that only will allow for a 30-day refill at any one time (certain narcotic types of medications, etc.) to mail order. These prescriptions need to be filled locally.
Additionally, the local pharmacy 31-day co-pay will increase on January 1, 2005, to $10 generic and $20 name brand.
CO-PAYS--Overall utilization of the plan has increased. Additionally,
doctors and care facilities, both PPO and NPPO, are demanding increases for
their services. On the plus side, 86% of all members use in-network (PPO)
services. For out of pocket expenses, the KTF is negotiating an IRS 125 Plan
with the district. This enables active members to set aside a designated amount
of salary PRIOR to taxes, to be used to pay for out of pocket expenses. A 125
Plan saves the district and the member money.
PPO: The PPO deductible remains at zero, but the out of pocket percentage co-pay will rise from $300 to $500 (Individual) and from $750 to $1000 (Family) only when an IRS125 Plan has been ratified with the district.
NPPO: The NPPO deductible will increase from $250 to $500 (Individual) and from $500 to $1000 (Family) and the NPPO co-pay will rise from $750 to $1200 (Individual) and from $1250 to $2000 (Family) only when an IRS 125 Plan has been ratified with the district.
Since an IRS 125 Plan uses pre-tax dollars, the actual cost increases for active members will be approximately 40% less than if they had to use after tax dollars. Unfortunately, 125 Plan are only available to active employees.
#6 EMERGENCY ROOMS: Members continue to use Emergency Rooms for non-emergency events. Emergency Rooms are open 24/7 and, as such, costs are high. There are alternatives the ER's (walk-in care facilities, i.e. Emergency One) that are less expensive to both the Trust and the member (Emergency One=$10). The Emergency Room fee will rise from $50 to $75.
#7 COBRA RULES: If a Trust member fails to notify the plan of a COBRA event (legal separation, divorce, child no longer qualifies as a dependent, child no longer qualifies as a student, etc.), the right to COBRA coverage will be forfeited. The member will be responsible for reimbursing the plan for the greater of the premiums paid on behalf of the ineligible dependent (or spouse) or the actual claims paid on behalf of such ineligible dependent (or spouse) during the period the dependent received coverage and was not eligible to be covered as a dependent under the plan rules.
LET’S GO BOWLING!
The Kingston Schools Bowling League meets at Mid-City Lanes at 4 pm (practice at 3:50 pm) beginning on Wednesday, November 17 and continuing every Wednesday that school is in session until March 16, 2005. The cost is $9 per week and games are finished by 5;30 pm. Any past or present school employee(and/or friend) is welcome to join.
Sign up as a team or as individuals with Mary McLaughlin at Miller.
KRTF—ON THE MOVE!
The last retiree luncheon drew 80 retirees to Williams Lake Hotel. The KRTF will hold their December luncheon at Wiltwyck. Retiree Viola Opdahl will be doing a book signing of her book on the Shakers at the event on December 12. Contact Don Sweeney for reservations and additional info.
SPECIAL EDUCATION GUIDELINES
Procedures regarding the number of classified elementary school students who are enrolled in regular classes were developed in 1974 and placed in the contract. When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was reauthorized in 1991, the contract language remained the same, but, with the Commissioner’s Part 200 regulations on inclusion, the interpretation was extended. The contract language states that no more than three (3) Resource Room students were allowed in a regular education class. The interpretation was that these were the least restricted students (along with the new area of Consultant Teacher) and that any other classifications were more restrictive. Any time that the number of classified students was greater than three in number in a regular class, a remedy was needed.
The inclusionary regulations of 1991 also produced a grievance regarding the number of classified students in regular classes at the secondary level. A KTF agreement with the district, signed on September 29, 1993 by then Superintendent Bill LeDoux, initiated the following procedures:
1. Individual class lists will now reflect an asterisk to identify students who are classified handicapped students under Part 200 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education;
2. In those cases in which more than Five classified students are enrolled a review process will be conducted upon the request of the academic teacher to their department head. The review team will be based on the needs of the individual student(s) involved but may include all or part of the following staff: academic department heads, the special education coordinator, the appropriate guidance counselor, the special education teacher(s), a building administrator, the teacher requesting the review, and other support staff as determined appropriate by the department head and/or initiating teacher;
3. The intent of the review process is to discuss, explore, and recommend possible changes including, but not limited to:
(a) alternative scheduling; (b) alternative regular education or special education support services.
Additionally, teachers who are involved in IEP’s should be aware that some designated services create work place obligations for teachers the following year. Although well intentioned, they may compromise a teacher’s academic freedom and contractual agreement.
Several years ago, the state education department allowed for 6:1:1 classes to be expanded to 8:1:1 and 12:1:1 classes to be expanded to 15:1:1 without a variance. Any numbers in excess of these is a violation of education law and must be reported to the principal. Also, please send a copy of the report to the KTF.
Lastly, there are a number of students who become declassified, but still need services. Also, there are an increasing number of 504 cases that need to be supervised. If existing special education teachers are assigned the duty, it amounts to increased work and should be grieved. Teachers should inform their Principal and their building rep, in writing, if these situations occur.
KTF Grievance Chair Suzanne
Jordan has, once again, organized the
Sign up sheets for scheduling a time are available from building reps. 56 pints were donated last year. The KTF is encouraging the huge number of new teachers (last three years) to sign up and to give. For those who can’t give, your volunteer efforts at the drive are needed. Every pint and every full shift is worth 50 Key To Fun points.