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THE TORCH: On-Line May 2008

              BUDGET/BOARD VOTE: MAY 20

     The third Tuesday in May marks the annual statewide voting day for school budgets and election of Board of Education members. KTF Members who have voted in the general election are registered to vote and should exercise that right wherever they reside. In Kingston, voting takes place at the eleven (11) elementary schools, but be advised, your voting district may be different from the school that your children attend. A list of polling places is available in every school’s Main Office.

     The proposed budget is for $137,615,402, a tax levy increase of 3.14%. If the budget is defeated, a contingency budget would reduce spending by $1.87 million.

     There are three (3) Board of Education seats open for three year terms. Longtime Board Trustee Ian Horowitz is not seeking reelection, but Trustees Maureen Bowers and the Rev. A.L. Costen are running, along with eight (8) other candidates. Given the time constraints between filing deadlines and the KTF Directors meeting, no interviews were held by the KTF. Based on their voting records, the KTF supports the two incumbents.

     Members are urged to attend ‘Meet the Candidates’ events and, most importantly, determine who the candidates are who should NOT be supported among the remaining eight. Then either ‘bullet vote’ the two incumbents or add a third supportive candidate.

     Polling places are open from 7 am to 9 pm. As before, the KTF will check voting day registration lists with the full expectation that every KTF member will vote.                

                       COMMITTEE OF 100

     The NYSUT Committee of 100 is named for the first group of teacher union leaders who met with members of the State Senate and Assembly when political action became a necessity. Today, the group numbers closer to 1,000 leaders who go to Albany with established agendas to meet with legislative leaders twice a year. This week marks the second meeting of the year.

     The agenda is based on current bills being considered, the education budget, and resolutions adopted in NYSUT committee meetings at the annual Representative Assembly. For a complete list of past, present, and pending legislation, go to: www.nysut.org and click on the ‘Legislative Center.’ The hot button topic this spring is a tax cap on property taxes.

     The State Commission on Property Tax Relief is expected to release a proposal for a property tax cap on May 22, 2008.To demonstrate the impact of a property tax cap on school district revenues, the NYSUT Research and Educational Services Department has developed an online worksheet to estimate the cumulative impact in each school district if a tax cap had been implemented in 2005. The worksheet assumes the cap for each year would be the lesser of 120% of the Consumer Price Index or 4%; this is the current standard for developing a contingency budget. Here are the projected caps for the 4 years:

2005-06: 3.24% , 2006-07: 4.00% , 2007-08: 3.84% ,2008-09: 3.36%

Statewide, the estimated impact of a tax cap over the last four years would be a revenue loss to districts $1,544,745,279.

     High property taxes do need a resolution. Some argue that school aid should be based on income tax, as the states and the federal government both use this method of financing. Opponents argue that incomes vary and in a bad economic cycle, the school aid would dissipate.

     NYSUT favors a ‘circuit breaker’ solution that would target aid to the low and moderate income homeowners who need it most, especially seniors. Regardless, some change appears to be on the immediate horizon.

     Other lobbying topics include the 25/55 Year retirement Program, the establishment of a Permanent Health Insurance Moratorium, Benefit Enhancement/Service Credit for Tier III and IV members, Permanent COLA Improvements, A New Disability Retirement Formula for Tier II, III, and IV members, a moratorium on districts with charter school saturation, and a number of other workplace issues.

                              RETIRING?

      If you are retiring member of the teachers unit, you are reminded that to receive payment for unused sick days, your letter of retirement/resignation is due to the Superintendent by Thursday, May 15. 

      All retiree for 2008 will be recognized in the June Torch and at the Apple Gala XV.    

    

      MOORE SICK DAY BANK* GUIDELINES

                 *Available to KTF Teacher Unit members.

The Committee is chaired by: Glenn Gallagher (GW)

Committee members: Joe Previll (Cioni Admin.), Kathy Murphy(GW), and Jim Mooney(KHS).

     *Teacher Unit members may access the bank only when all of their available sick days have been exhausted.

ENROLLMENT: Members must submit a form donating at least a day to the bank. When a drive is held, another day must be donated. If your donated day is used, you do not have to donate another day at that time. Members returning from a semester’s leave must rejoin the bank.

USE: The application form, along with a medical doctor’s (MD) note, addressing the illness or disability, the medical necessity involved, duration, and expected date of return, and sent via U.S. Mail from the doctor’s office to the Chairman, Glenn Gallagher at the George Washington School, 67 Wall St., Kingston, NY 12401. Under some circumstances, the committee has the right to request an additional note from another medical doctor (MD). Sick Bank applications must be filed and approved PRIOR to any use of Sick Bank days.

     Members may use up to 50 days per school year, in any grouping, from the bank. Days can be awarded only for personal illness, not for family illness. The member should notify the District Personnel Office when they are accessing the Moore Sick Day Bank.

                             KINGSTON TRUST FUND

PO Box 4461, Kingston, NY 12402, 307 Wall Street, 3rd floor, 845-338-5422

  E-Mail:Kathy@kingstontrustfund.comPONY MAIL TO: Kathy @ Central

               Medical & Dental Coverage

 

                        WHAT IS YOUR BMI ?

     The BMI, (Body Mass Index), os one way to determine whether or not a person is overweight.  BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight ( in kilogram’s) by his or her height (in meters, squared).  BMI can also be calculated by multiplying weight (in pounds) by 705, then dividing by height (in inches) twice.

                     WHAT IS A HEALTHY BMI?   

    A person with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to be a healthy weight.  A person with a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered to be overweight.  A BMI over 30 is considered obese.  The higher your BMI, the greater your risk of disease by 50% to 150%.

HEALTH CLUBS: Many local Health clubs are offering great deals and incentive programs as they are in competition for your business.  Take advantage of these offers and remember to submit your paid receipt following your yearly membership.  NHAI will reimburse you $100.00 for a single membership, and $150.00 for a member and spouse membership.  

NHAI ID CARDS: Some NHAI members have not given their providers their new ID cards. It wasn’t a problem with the older claim system as it recognized both the old and the new, but the new digitized system will only recognize the new ID #.  

Please be sure to give providers, both Medical and Dental, your CURRENT NHAI ID card with your 9 digit ID#. Advise the provider that the member ID#, Plan Name (NHAI-Kingston Trust) and Plan #153 must be provided on all CMS 1500 claim forms. Otherwise, claim payments may be delayed.

    Please destroy old cards that have 10 digits or has a last digit preceded by more than three zeros.    

STUDENT GRADUATING?  All parents with a dependent child graduating from college must notify the Trust Office and obtain a Change of Status form indicating the following: 1.) Child’s Name; 2.) Graduation Date; and 3.)Child’s Dependent Status. This information will determine how long the child’s coverage will remain in effect in 2008. NHAI coverage and the HMO’s coverages are different.

     Medical, prescription, and dental coverage ends before 12/31/2008 if the child: A.)Joins the military (including ROTC assignment); B.)Becomes employed with health and /or dental insurance benefits; or C.)marries.  

     It is the parent’s responsibility to inform the Trust Office of the child’s status at graduation as well as again by August 31 of the fall semester to continually establish a child’s continued eligibility for coverage.                       

SUMMER TRAVEL:With the summer travel season upon us, members are reminded that if they intend to travel outside the U.S., Mexico or Canada, travel insurance is highly recommended.  Benefits outside the U.S., Mexico and Canada are limited to emergency treatment, which will be paid at 80% after a $250 co-pay.  Any non-emergency treatment would be subject to prior approval and pre-certification as well as the NPPO deductible as a co-pay for each incident, as all such treatment is out of network.

If members or their dependents plan to travel to war zones, you should also be aware that benefits may be denied due to injuries incurred as a result of an act of war, such as a suicide bomber in such countries as Israel, Iraq or other high risk countries. 

Foreign Travel (Outside the U.S., Mexico or Canada)

N/A

Paid at 80% after $250 copay (waived if admitted within 24 hours)

Only emergency treatment is covered while traveling, up to a maximum of six (6) weeks outside the U.S. in any one country.  Vacation travel insurance is recommended for extended coverage.  No benefit will be provided after six (6) weeks in any one country or three (3) months of consecutive travel.  Foreign treatment is also subject to NPPO deductible.

If you’re traveling this summer and will be away when a prescription is due, an Rx override waiver can be obtained. Contact NHAI Compliance at:1-800-645-1195. Information can be faxed to:1-770-874-1097.                            

                           OPEN ENROLLMENT

The annual Open Enrollment Open House is scheduled for June 2nd from 3:00-4:30 at Central Administration, 61 Crown Street.  Members who want to change medical plans or enroll in a Medical or Dental plan are required to complete eligibility forms. All forms must be received in the Kingston Trust Office before June 30, 2008. No action is required if a member wants to remain in their current medical or NHAI dental plan. Representatives from the HMO plans and National Health Administrators, Inc. will be present.        

           

ON THE WEB: www.NHAI.net. All of your health and dental plan information, including newly registered Dental PPO providers. NHAI also provides a daily topical list of news articles and the latest updates on health and medicine on the bottom center of the screen.

www.Rx.NYHealth.gov-A list of local pharmacies and the cost of drugs at their pharmacy.