TORCH: June 2008
There is an old saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” If that’s the case, then I must be having the time of my life!
The concept of time passing quickly has taken on new meaning. This was the fastest school year on record. I have talked to several people, some younger and some older, who feel similarly. No one seems to understand why this phenomenon is occurring, but it seems that the 2007-08 school year just began and here we are looking at the closing. At the high school, graduate caps and gowns are being distributed, yearbooks are being passed around, and talk of exams is everywhere. In the middle and elementary schools, everyone is busy planning moving up and moving out. As the school year comes to a close, I hope you can take a few minutes to catch your breath and reflect on the year. For me, this year can be summed up with the idea of dealing with change while maintaining stability and sanity.
In my first year as President, I’ve learned that:
1. Things are constantly changing, but some things never change;
2. Rumors travel faster than truth and are remembered longer;
3. Even if you ask the questions, you may not get all the information;
4. Every story has at least three sides;
5. Expectations are important. If you expect the best, you will get it;
6. Change is difficult;
7. Stu made it look easy;
8. I still have a great deal to learn. (Fortunately for me, I love to learn.)
While the above list is not comprehensive, it gives you an idea.
On another less inspiring note, it is imperative that we work together to get the school budget passed. The newly revised budget has a 1.76% increase over the current school year. If the budget goes down again and we are forced to austerity, it will be disastrous. The students in our community are entitled to the best education possible and austerity is not it. Please contribute to the process and go vote. Bring a like-minded friend with you. We need everyone’s support.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to wish those who are beginning a permanent vacation, via retirement, a long, healthy, and happy adventure. Enjoy it; you have earned it! There are a few members of the KTF Board of Directors who will be retiring this year. A special thank you to Dianne Fried who has served as editor of The Torch for the last nine years, to Pat Neher who has served as a building rep for MCM and as the professional development chairperson; and to Jean McGarry who has been the lead building rep at KHS. Thank you all for your many years of service and dedication. We will definitely miss you.
Enjoy the summer. Rest, relax, and rejuvenate; September is right around the corner…
President, of the KTF
Agency Fee Payment Refund
This is to notify you that pursuant to Section 208 of the Public Employent Act, Article XIV of the Civil Service Law (Taylor Law), you are eligible for a partial refund of the fee paid for the upcoming 2008-09 year. Please submit your request and reasons for the refund, in writing, to me by June 30, 2008.
The Kingston Schools conferred tenure upon 26 probationary teachers in May. Tenure establishes due process rights for teachers. They cannot be arbitrarily dismissed from their positions for arbitrary and capricious reasons. The AAPR has become a means of evaluating teachers and providing a process for granting tenure and for providing grounds for dismissal.
Congratulations to the following new tenured teachers:
Dianne Berardi, Kristy Canavan, Karen Clegg, Shay Crowley, Lynn Donnaruma, Lucas Fox, James Franklin, Beverly Goldpaugh, Lisa Graziano, Jennifer Gribbin, Amy Harnden, Nicole Hildenbrand, Deborah Izzo, Matt Johnson, Corinna Kazolias, Edward Leach, Teresa Myers, Matthew Nerney, Yvonne Parker, Kathleen Reuben, Jessica Roeber, Daniel Shaut, Blake Swan, Rachel Swersey, Allyson Whittaker, and Deborah Winne.
NINETEEN TEACHERS RETIRE
The Board of Education has accepted the resignations and retirements of the following teachers:
Bruce Abrams, Johanna Byron, Rosemary Cyr, Dianne Fried, Ken Fried, Helen Goho, Jim Gregory, Barbara Isaacs, Kathleen Kachmor, Frances Kuzsman, Bonnie Lester, Pauline Mancuso, Jean McGarry, Karen MacKenzie, John Motiarty, Patricia Neher, Juanita Rockwell, Cynthis Rose, and Leslie Siegel.
on the completion of wonderful careers in
Several members with long terms of service to the district will be among the 2008 retirees from the ranks of the Employee Support Professionals and the Civil Service Employees Association. The ESP retirees are: Sharon Daw, Eldena Dolan, Margaret Espey, Eileen Gulisano, Josephine Kennedy, Margaret Miggins, and Genevieve Valk.
Retiring from CSEA: James Fabiano and Remson Richter.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy retirement.
KRTF—ON THE MOVE!
On June 14, the
High School: Danielle Tevlowitz and Keri Leigh Kelly
Continuing College: Matthew Narolewski and Reid Martin
On July 24, the KRTF will have its traditional trip to the Saratoga Race track, followed by a very rewarding stop at Red’s to spend our winnings (?). Call Karen Aspromonte at 331-9378, for information.
Thank you all!
On April 22, I
fell in the hallway of the
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
I would like to take my last opportunity as your editor to thank some of
the people who have made my 37 years in
I have had many champions over the eyars. Betty Madonna, Principal of the Meagher School, blew up a party balloon filled with support and creativity and gave it to me my tenure year and I have carried it around with me ever since. I have written in the past abou the learned Howard Bayewitz, the beloved Biutch Zullo, and the eloquent Vince Voerg. These men halped craft the foundation of the union we have TODAY. Stu Spoljaric, our past president, is everyone’s hero and we all owe him our gratitude for his power to envision the future and change the world. All of my brave women friends who have battled life threatening illnesses atill came to work whenthey were well enough…giveme pause and hope.Their indomitable spirit is an inspiration and a testament to their dedication to our profession. My husband, Ken, is a quiet, behind the scenes 4th grade teacher who reinvented himself to work with GED students and incarcerated youth at the end of his career. It would do us all good to reflect on our strengths and passions and chart new courses throughout our careers. Deb Fitzgerald is a teacher who provides children with special needs with the special gifts of a teacher who knows that no child is disposable and no child deserves than her best every day. She is true grit. Secretaries are the backbone of the district and the advocates of children and families and their work often goes unrecognized. Patricia Gleason was the heart of the gifted and talented program. She gave more of herself to this district than anyone I know and the students who were involved in her program have proppered beyond belief. Jim Newlands taught me to step out of my comfort zone and gave me a second career. Liz Constant knew that without humor, this job is impossible. NCLB and many other regulations have taken the fun out of teaching. But the person that I have gone to every year to find my compass and fill my cup has been Suzanne Jordan. She is a genuine treasure and few in the district know the full extent of her influence in their daily lives. She is thoughtful and fair. She is impatient with ignorance and apathy and will not tolerate meanness. She can be counted on to speak the truth when others only whisper behind closed doors. If in doubt, I think…what would Suzanne do? I am so grateful to her for being there for me, and all of us.
I cannot leave my career without acknowledging Helen P. Huntley, my 5th grade teacher, who took a girl who could barely read and put her in the hall with a boy who could not yet read and made a teacher out of me. As teachers, we never know where our words and actions will lead. Best wishes to you all. Dianne
HMO: Employee MONTHLY contribution amounts
for the 2008-2009 school year:
KTF Teachers Unit
CDPHP Single $29.59 Family $ 75.90
GHI Single $41.45 Family $105.70
MVP Single $36.45 Family $ 94.33
CDPHP Single $14.79 Family $ 37.95
GHI Single $20.72 Family $ 52.85
MVP Single $18.22 Family $ 47.16
Active employees contribution payment is via
payroll deduction determined by:
Monthly cost x12 = Total yearly contribution
Total contribution divided by 20 Paychecks
Totals Payroll deduction per Paycheck.
NOTE: Parents of college graduates covered by
CDPHP, GHI,or MVP must contact the
Trust Office to report the graduation. For HMO’s,
coverage ends in the month of graduation.
COBRA eligibility also occurs.
Members are responsible for TIMELY updating
the status of all dependents 19 and older TWICE
ANNUALLY. Full time student documentation and
dependent status verification is required to be filed
with the plan within 60 days of each school term.
Coverage for dependent 19 and older is terminated
automatically at the end of each school term,
The deadline to submit Fall 2008 semester
documentation is August 31, 2008. Documentation
submitted after that date will result in no coverage
as of September 1. If documentation is submitted
after the deadline, the effective date will be the first
of the following month. Failure to provide timely
updated status will result in non-payment or delayed
payment of prescription drug coverage and other
OUT OF AREA REGISTRATION
Any dependent child attending college outside a
75-mile radius of
list OOA status on NHAI Dependent Status
Questionnaire. Submit form to the Trust Office.
DIALING MISCUE: There is a company in
received many calls from Trust members.
The NHAI Phone Number is: 1-888-679-2400.
Please dial accurately and correctly.
DENTAL BENEFIT UPGRADES
Dental Services Covered as of January 1, 2008 – Amended as of July 1, 2008
Dental Benefits will be paid in accordance with the following schedule with no deductible up to the maximum benefit.
Class 1—Preventive Benefits
Class 2—Basic Restorative Benefit
Class 3—Major Restorative Benefit
Class 4—Dentures & Bridges
Orthodontia (children to age 19)
TMJ Treatment (see health plan)
NHAI Dental PPO Providers
Out of Network Providers
*50% (as of 7/1/2008)
Class 4 Major Services provided by PPO Providers shall include the following effective January 1, 2008 provided the Member has been covered under this Plan or another dental plan covering such major services for the previous 12 months prior to the date of service (HIPAA Certificate or proof of coverage is required):
1. New bridges
2. New dentures
3. *Implants or any prosthetic device attached to them or precision or semi-precision attachments shall be covered effective July 1, 2008 up to a maximum of $750 per tooth, subject to the annual benefit limit the same as any other dental procedure.
Periodontal maintenance is limited to twice in any Benefit Year period or in conjunction with regular cleanings with no more than 4 visits/cleanings per Benefit Year provided the member has had periodontal surgery or a history of periodontal disease.
Since January 1, 2008, new dental benefits have included:
GASB 45 is not a federal agency. It has no ability to enforce its requirements on public employers. It is an independent, private-sector organization that provides national, state, and local governments with a view of what GASB believes should be considered as acceptable accounting standards. As such, any audit or actuarial report should include GASB standards. Their web site, www.GASB.org, states that they are an objective, independent body that brings integrity to the “process of issuing neutral, unbiased accounting and financial reporting standards that are relevant in the government environment.” There is no evidence to verify whether the claim is valid.
GASB 45 sets guidelines, very subjectively and with much assumption, on how public employers should report the costs of retirement benefits, especially health insurance. In the past, employers funded retiree benefits on a ‘pay as you go’ basis and reported on year-to-year costs. GASB 45 provides for periodic actuarial reporting of liabilities from 10-30 years ahead. Suffice it to say, these actuarial projections are highly speculative and are based on the subjective assumptions of the actuarial. At first glance, on a worst-case scenario, any 30-year projection of costs would portray obligations of horrific proportions. Maybe this is the one ‘shock and awe’ where the Bush administration could play another fear card. It would be the impetus to promote defined contribution plans.
The publisher of
the CPA Journal and Vice-President of the Society of Certified Public
There are six accepted actuarial methods and assumptions are a major part of the report. Those assumptions are used to project 30 years into the future. In 1911, would they have assumed that health insurance would be a wartime benefit? In 1941, would they have assumed that health insurance would be an earned retirement benefit. And, in 1971, would they have assumed that in 2001, the cost of the benefit would be where it is today. Ironically, there has been a tendency to blame the consumer of health care and the result is to change patient behavior through higher sharing of costs. Yet, few government studies identify the supply side for escalating costs. The combination of the two results in less preventative care and the probability of greater care long term.
GASB 45, with its subjective and self-serving assumptions, is another disguised attempt to eliminate employee post-employment benefits. The public following, like sheep being led to slaughter, and silence has been deafening. It’s not a mandate, it has no enforcement authority, yet people are accepting of it, perhaps because there is no requirement to fund the liability. And, we all know how they will try to fund the liability. It will be on the backs of the workers, a new definition of privatization.
There is a void of information, discussion, and awareness on the subject for most, but it has been a Trust issue for two years. It’s a ‘red flag’ for all employees in protecting their retiree benefits, and, now, you are aware.