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From the President’s Podium April/May

Thoughtful: A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart. 

Humorous: There are three good reasons to be a teacher – June, July, and August! ~ Authors Unknown 

Where has the time gone? It was on July 1st of 2015 that I began my term as President of the GBRTA and as I look back at my first newsletter, I see that I could almost copy it for my last newsletter! We are still talking about tax relief, insurance coverage, the Gov-ernment Pension Offset, and the Windfall Elimination Provision! 

At least I can report that in these four years some progress has been made with a 10% reduction on our state income tax payments for 2016 and a 25% reduction for 2017 BUT we are now in a holding pattern. It was sup-posed to have been 50% for 2018, but due to the poor condition of Connecticut’s finances, the 25% reduction was continued for one more year. Gov. Lamont is now proposing that it remain at 25% so it is imperative that you contact your State legislators on this matter. 

The prospect of better funding for our retirement and health insurance accounts also seems to be improving but again, you must stay alert to the news emanating from Hartford. The GPO and WEP legislation is again working its way through Congress but does not yet have the full support of Connecticut’s delegation – let them know your thoughts. See the story below. 

Another hot button topic generated by the new administration in Harford has been the idea of regionalization. This thought caused a furor around the state and the position being taken now is to support mutuality of services between towns such as Superintendents, special education services, purchasing, transportation, and the like which could result in cost savings but not force the merger of districts. 

The GBRTA continues to support the profession by sponsor-ing 16 scholarships to area public high school seniors who plan to become teachers and we continue to support the needs of the community with food drives, clothing drives, Samaritan’s Purse and continued involvement on an as needed basis in the local school systems. 

I urge all of our members to be actively involved not only in our organization but to join others in speaking out on im-portant issues related to our health and welfare. Let your elected representatives in Hartford and Washington know your feelings about such issues. Join one of the many committees of the GBRTA. 

And finally, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to express my thanks to the Board of Directors for their support and encouragement during these four years. Without their participation as well as the support of the general membership, there would be no GBRTA. I look forward to the same support being given to the new slate of officers who will assume their duties on July 1st

Bob Pitzschler