To the Adirondack Journal:
Coming from a "teacher family" consisting of my wife (retired), my son, and both sister-in-laws, I appreciated your editorial about teachers.
While I agree with most of the content, I must take issue with your remark that "in the past few years, virtually every teacher union in the North Country has made concessions — pay cuts, pay freezes, increased health insurance costs, longer hours, additional workloads and more.”
From last years budgets, this is obviously true in most school districts. Johnsburg reduced their budget 10 percent with a lot of help from the teacher's union.
Alas, not so Lake George.
The teacher's union refused any meaningful concessions and, as a result, the budget was defeated twice and a contingency budget was adopted for what I believe was the first time in school history.
The main bone of contention was and continues to be, health care. Currently, the cost to the taxpayers of a family plan runs as high as $21,000 and the teachers contribute from 0 percent to 8 percent. Contrast this with the CSEA employees of New York State whose very good plan costs the taxpayers far less and the employee contribution is now at 31 percent.
Also, if you work for the Lake George School District for 10 years, upon reaching retirement age your health care is covered for the rest of your life with no contribution. These are simply not sustainable financially. I can only hope that the Lake George teacher's union will come to the table this year and accept a more reasonable accommodation to help the budget get passed and maintain programs.
After all, as the teacher's union is fond of saying:"It's for the kids!"