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From the President’s Podium winter 2018-2019

Thoughtful: A truly special teacher is very wise and sees tomorrow in every child’s eyes. Author Unknown

Humorous: When all else fails, pray for a fire drill! Author Unknown

Another year has arrived with a new Governor and many new legislators, but the story remains the same: underfunded accounts that affect the retired teachers of Connecticut! However, in all fairness, the Governor and those serving on both sides of the aisle are publicly recognizing that the retirement and health savings accounts have been underfunded for many years and the time has come to make amends. There are several proposals that are being floated to address the issues ranging from dedicating lottery proceeds to changing the retirement plans for new teachers. I would urge you to stay informed as these proposals work their way through the appropriate committees and to contact your legislators to either support or oppose these bills as necessary. One way to do this is to plan to attend Lobby Day on April 30th – you will get to meet face-to-face with your legislators and be able to discuss your ideas regarding teacher retirement issues. (Included is a free lunch! And we will provide a bus!) Consult our website, the ARTC website, and our emails to stay informed on these and other issues.

While it does not affect retired teachers, another hot button idea that is being floated is regionalization. Connecticut has many school districts with less than 2,000 students, with several that are even below 500! The thinking is that by regionalizing there can be a cost savings particularly at the administrative level – savings that can then be passed on to student needs. Many other states require this of their smaller districts, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in Connecticut – the battle lines are already being drawn!

Our General Membership Lunch meetings are an excellent way to see old friends and colleagues, discover the latest information on health and retirement issues, be entertained, and have an excellent lunch. The lunch committee has met with our caterer and little tweaks have been made to the menus which should address some of the issues that have come up in the past. We will stay at Testo’s as it is the most convenient central location, has plenty of parking and offers us the best price. Come, enjoy the day and bring a retired teacher friend.

At our April meeting, a slate of officer nominees for the upcoming open terms will be presented, the budget for next year will be proposed, and an updated version of the GBRTA By-laws will be considered. All these items will then be voted upon at the May meeting. In addition, please make every effort to attend the May meeting as that is also our annual memorial program when we recognize our colleagues who have passed away in the last year.

Bob Pitzschler