Hugh M. Spoljaric, President
As your President, the community sees me
It was over 20 years ago that KTF Officer
Vince Van Bramer became involved in saving UPAC and,
as a member of the UPAC Board, initially involved the KTF. Over that period of time, the KTF has donated $1000 every year to
support the production of theater and the restoration of a National Historic
Landmark in our community. In 1996, I was asked to become a trustee of UPAC and
I became the President of the Board. We were in the midst of a 6-year program to completely refurbish the theater. Through an aggressive
campaign to balance programming costs and restoration projects, UPAC is now
nearly complete. Programming has expanded. A building was
purchased across the street as a part of a concept called
This programming year has
been dramatically affected by 9/11. Through no fault of our own, three
national touring company shows were cancelled. The
latest was the Red Army Chorus and Dance who had their passports confiscated by
the U.S. Embassy as they waited for departure from
I am appealing to every KTF member, and their families, to purchase a chair during the month of October for UPAC. The KTF knows that a performing arts theater is an asset to a community. We have accomplished great things over the years and have come too far to allow tragic events to destroy our mission and our spirit.
In this issue of The Torch is an application form and seating chart for the Broadway Theater. Most of the seats remaining for purchase are $250 or less. It is a wonderful opportunity to remember or to honor someone.
especially proud of my service and commitment to UPAC during my tenure. I
represent all of you for I am EVERY
Again, this is my personal appeal to you. It’s a one-time donation and an opportunity to leave your mark for posterity.
And that’s The Bottom Line.
October is VOTE/COPE month. VOTE/COPE is the political
action arm of the New York State United Teachers. The voluntary fund reached $4
million in donations last year. KTF VOTE/COPE Chair Vince Voerg states, “the money has allowed our NYSUT representatives to lobby
This year, the KTF is asking that each member voluntarily donate an amount equal to the first two digits of their salary, rounded off to the nearest ‘10’. There will be one payroll deduction of the donation and it will come from the November 22 check.
We now have COLA for retirees, a permanent 4% enhancement on pensions, and a movement toward the elimination of Tier levels, while successfully challenging vouchers and tenure elimination issues.
PLEASE GIVE YOUR FAIR SHARE TODAY!
Patty Jacob, 2nd grade teacher at
Dale Spencer (Myer) has been named to fill the unexpired term of Terry LeRoy as an At-Large member of the KTF Board. The KTF Board of Directors accepted, with regret, the resignation of long time rep Terry LeRoy. Terry wanted to provide a transition time for newer members to become KTF Reps and would broaden the depth of active participants. She stated that she has the greatest respect for the KTF and can be called on for any support needed.
KTF Rep Nick Avossa has presented a resolution to Board of Education President B. A. Feeney that asks the Kingston Schools to assure that all clothing purchases by the district are ‘Sweatshop Free’. NYSUT and the KTF believe that clothing that is produced by child labor or is from countries that support child labor, should not be purchased for the Kingston Schools. The same resolution was presented by the KTF to the Board in February 1999 and the Board failed to take action on the resolution.
KTF Vice President Vince Voerg reports that the Kingston Schools Safety Committee has reorganized. The Committee consists of 13 members including the Superintendent and Assistants Jerry Gretzinger and Frank Ruggiero, Principals Anna Brett and Marie Anderson, Safety Coordinator Ira Bell, KHS Security Coordinator Barry Dunn, Prevention Coordinator Maggie Anderson, KTF members Vince Voerg, Onnie Dougherty, and Mary Bailey, Parent Debbie Null, and student Bridget Kelly. Reps for custodians and ESP are anticipated. It was decided that the KTF Safety rep in each building would meet with their Principal once a month to discuss safety issues related to the mechanical, environmental, psycho-social, and law enforcement issues and needs of the building.
The Homeland Security Bill passed by the House allows the President to eliminate over 20 collective bargaining contracts covering 170,000 federal employees. Although he could always do this under a national emergency, this bill allows him to do it even without declaring a national emergency. The Senate is debating the removal of this clause. Both New York Senators support the removal to allow our brothers and sisters working for the government to continue the right to bargain except in a national emergency.
Kennedy and Harkin have offered an amendment to increase education appropriations
by over $4 billion. House Bill HR 5523 reimburses
Kingston Schools have received a grant of $60,000 from
A General Membership meeting of the KTF will be held on Thursday, October 23, at , in the KHS Café. The primary business will be to elect delegates and alternates to NYSUT and AFT.
The KTF Board of Directors has endorsed as delegates Suzanne Jordan, RoseMarie Maresca, Lauri Naccarato, Mae Stark, Hugh Spoljaric, Vincent Voerg, Kathy Werner, and Joan White, and, as alternates, Sandy Breitenberger, Nancy Chando, Joanne Donnaruma, Dianne Fried, Glenn Gallagher, and Mary McLaughlin. Voting will end at .
NYSUT’s political action committee, in which all President’s of locals have a voice, has issued their list of statewide endorsements. Locally, incumbents Assemblyman Kevin Cahiil and Tom Kirwin and Senators Bill Larkin and John Bonacic are endorsed. Alan Hevesi is endorsed for Comptroller over John Faso. Faso has a record of supporting vouchers and privatization. The Comptroller controls, among many items, the money for public employee pension funds.
The committee made no recommendation of endorsement for Governor. A provision to allow locals with compelling reasons to endorse a gubernatorial candidate was allowed, then, only after discussions with NYSUT Executive VP Alan Lubin.
The NYC UFT did offer compelling reasons and was allowed to endorse Governor Pataki. The UFT contract is up this year and the belief is that Mayor Bloomberg will be even tougher to work with than was former Mayor Guliani. Therefore, the UFT needs state support.
The Mid-Hudson regional office of NYSUT is conducting a briefing session on the revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), now known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA). The Bush administration has made major revisions in the federal law and those changes could have a profound effect on school district’s and on KTF teachers, teaching assistants, and teacher aides.
The briefing session will be held at the Hillside Manor on Tuesday, October 29, from . There will be snacks and beverages from . Please send your name and school name to Stu Spoljaric at KHS by Wednesday, October 23, to reserve a place. It is important that at least one person from each building attend.
NEW TEACHER CONTEST!
New teachers may register to win a Palm Pilot
by visiting www.nysut.org. Scroll down to
NEW MEMBERS and hit ‘New Member Tips’. Register by
ESP and Teachers will begin on or about
While at nysut.org, go to the left hand side menu, click on ‘Locals On Line’, and go to Kingston Teachers’ Federation. There are copies of The Torch and links to important sites, including NYS Retirement, the Trust health plan, the Ulster Federal Credit Union, and UPAC.
Thanks! …to KTF member Fred Bahr (KHS) for his servicing of the KTF computer. Fred built it for KTF 5 years ago and has serviced it for free whenever the need arose. His expert ability and skills are most appreciated.
RETIREES: KRTF and ESP
The Kingston Retired Teachers’ Federation
sponsored an educational trip to NYC on October 9. The event happened to
coincide with the birthday of KTF retiree and Apple Gala award winner Don
Sweeney and everyone had a great time. The next retiree luncheon is Friday,
October 18, at
The KRTF will be attending the NYSUT Phone Banks on October 25. If any retiree wishes to help out, call Don Sweeney at (845) 679-8697.
Additionally, it is noted that the NYSUT The Retiree Advisory Council has addressed the
ever-increasing population and needs of retirees by creating four new
Directors. There will be an At-Large Director and one each for ED’s 1-13, 14-23 (plus higher ed. and
The Kingston Educational Support Professionals (KESP) will be holding an ESP Retiree Brunch on October 24 with the intent to form a group to consider the formation of an ESP Retiree Chapter. Additional information is available from Joan White at (845)338-9030 or in the school from Laura Sexton at JFK.
Responding to concerns about an ESP concern about a pervasive odor and irritation in an office at KHS, KTF Healthy Schools Rep Nick Avossa (KHS) investigated and concluded that a problem existed with the carpeting. He recommended that the carpeting be removed and replaced with new carpeting or tile. Principal Marie Anderson was advised and had new tile placed in the office within two weeks. Congratulations to Nick and to all involved.
Three years has passed quickly and the terms of Trustees Greg Gerard (JFK) and Claire Van Valkenburgh (Edson) have ended and their positions on the Trust have been filled by Bill Tubby (KHS) and Kim Garmire (GW). Greg served as the Trust’s Treasurer and Claire as Secretary. Their work is most appreciated. They are a big part of the reason that the Trust has worked so well in providing for member needs. Please offer them a big ‘Thank You’! Bill and Kim will continue the tradition of support.
ARE YOU USING PRESCRIPTION MAIL ORDER? If you are using any maintenance drugs for which you always need a 90 day supply, then you should be using the Trust’s Merck-Medco Prescription services. The cost is $8 for generic and $16 for name brand drugs for a 90-day supply. Refills can be accomplished by phone. With the dramatic rise in prescription costs, the Trust can save money if member’s order directly from Merck-Medco. If members continue to disregard mail order for maintenance drugs, it may have an impact on future costs. The Trustees ask that you do your part and USE MAIL ORDER FOR ALL 90-DAY SCRIPTS. Contact Miriam White at the KTF office, (845) 338-5422 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.