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Group of retired teachers celebrates association’s 45th anniversary

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 20 September 2019 at 8:26 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Those in attendance at the Sept. 12 meeting of Orleans County Retired Teachers Association are pictured during a break in the meeting. Seated, from left, are president Frank Berger, co-presidents of Central Zone Retired Teachers Association Robyn Ballard and Mary Ellen Morgan, Eileen Wuethrick of Kent and Joan McClure of Geneva, with the New York State Health Insurance Initiative. Standing are Gene Czajkowski of Barker, Georgia Thomas of Medina, Nancy Walker of Kent, Gail Johnson of Albion, Ann Czajkowski of Barker, Ruth Smith of Appleton, Penny Nice of Albion, Charlene Smith of Medina and Barb Dunham of Medina.

KNOWLESVILLE – Orleans County Retired Teachers Association met Sept. 12 at Knowlesville Fellowship Hall, with 16 in attendance. The meeting also celebrated the organization’s 45th anniversary.

Frank Berger of Medina presides over the September meeting of Orleans County Retired Teachers Association.

Guests included Robyn Ballard and Mary Ellen Morgan, co-presidents of the Central Western Zone Retired Teachers Association, and Joan McClure of Geneva with New York State Health Insurance Initiative.

President Frank Berger opened the meeting and asked those in attendance to share what they had taught, how long they taught and how long they have been retired.

Berger, who taught shop at Medina High School for 30 years, first served as president of OCRTA 26 years ago.

Berger was among those who adamantly opposed the group’s decision to disband two years ago. When they discovered disbanding was not specifically spelled out in their bylaws and they must follow Robert’s Rules of Order Revised, they dropped the idea and decided to continue meeting.

They have 100 names on the roster, but average attendance at meetings is 15 to 18. Membership is open to all educators, including teachers, teachers’ assistants, principals, superintendents, counselors, therapists and their spouses who retired from or live in Orleans County.

Officers were elected for 2019/2020. They are Frank Berger, president; Georgia Thomas, vice president; Nancy Walker, recording secretary; Gail Johnson, corresponding secretary; Ann Czajkowski, treasurer; legislation, Frank Berger; membership, Gary and Grace Kent; friendly service, Eileen Wuethrich; community service, Barb Filipiak; audit and budget, Jeff Annable; health care, Ruth Smith; and bylaws and parliament, Kay VanNostrand.

Robyn Ballard, co-president of Central Western Zone Retired Teachers Association, said the new president of NYSRTA, has started an initiative to officially change the name to Retired Educators of New York State.

Gene and Ann Czajkowski of Barker, Gary and Grace Kent of Albion, Ruth Smith of Appleton and Barb Dunham of Medina look over information handed out at the meeting of Orleans County Retired Teachers Association.

Joan McClure with the New York State Health Insurance Initiative stated that health insurance for retired teachers is being cut back, piece by piece in the Ontario County school district where her husband worked. She said New York State United Teachers Union, which they are all members of, was not willing to help go after her husband’s school district for the 100 percent paid health insurance premiums promised in writing at the time of his retirement. She is surveying the 10 Central Western Zone counties to find out if others have run into the same problem.

“We’ve been paying into it and it is doing nothing for retirees,” she said.

Czajkowski said each school district negotiates its own teacher contract, and Orleans County retirees had very little health insurance after retirement.

“We were able to convert unused accumulated sick time to cover premiums for a few years, and the could opt to get the COBRA, paying lower group rate premiums,” Czajkowski said. “We never had vision or dental coverage.”

After a break for lunch, served by the ladies of the Knowlesville Abundant Harvest Methodist Church, guest speaker Don Snyder talked about Recovery Hope Begins Here.

The next meeting will be in April.

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