Sunday, September 09, 2012

RH Jones: A brief report on the SummitCRTA meeting of 09/04/2012

From RH Jones, September 8, 2012
To all retired teachers:
As you may know, Jim McGreevy, one of the 2 retired teacher representatives on the STRS board, was the guest speaker at the SummitCRTA/ORTA 09/04/2012 General Meeting. Due to the length of his speech and the tardiness of the restaurant staff in delivering the $12 usual Swiss steak, green beans, bread, and mashed potatoes (we did have ice cream for desert) the Association President, Mary Lou Swartz, was only able to allow the membership a brief time to ask questions of Jim at the end of his speech.
Unfortunately, I was the only one attending that asked a question. My question to Jim was this: Since actives were smoothed in their STRS contribution to the health of the STRS, why were not retired teachers smoothed in our COLA cut? His answer was too long for me to reiterate here but I think his answer was in a “company man” mode, which seemed to me to be in total harmony with our STRS management position. He stated, in my simplified terms, that they negotiated as best they could against overwhelming odds.
I have no idea of how many current retired teachers, and no way to find out how many of our fellow ORTA members, lobbied the ORTA officials or the STRS management asking for the protection of our 3% simple COLA, and the reinstatement of our HC/Rx which was promised to us and our spouses. If only a few of us offered any opposition to the hurtful reduction of our benefits, is it no wonder that we lost this battle and perhaps the war? And, now, without the CORE, our retired teacher lobby is diminished even further.
The SummitCRTA Legislative Chair, Kay Fluke, was able to remind everyone that the CORE is having its last meeting at the STRS building September 20th. Hopefully, all CORE members will come to see the transfer of the CORE treasury to help the STRS HC/Rx funding.
By the way, the Akron City Public School System hired only sixteen new teachers for this new school year. Among the sixteen, only one was a male teacher. Unless our citizens wake up to the value of traditional public education, our civilization, as we have know it will be diminished.
Respectfully submitted,
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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