Wednesday, June 7, 2023
by Levittown Retired Teachers Co-President, Laura Koenig
Above: LRT Members Rosemary Kaste and Dr. James Ripka at the May 10 LRT meeting
The Levittown Retired Teachers (LRT) held its annual spring meeting on May 10 at Domenico’s Restaurant in Levittown. The turnout for the meeting was fantastic and several of our members won raffle prizes including wine, candy, water bottles and gift cards. The money raised from the raffles helped the Levittown Food Pantry. In addition, there were a slew of door prizes given out and a 50/50 drawing was held with the proceeds donated to the New York State United Teachers’ (NYSUT) VOTE-COPE political action fund.
At the meeting, LRT Co-President, Ronnie Avnet Stoll, spoke about important government programs and advised our members to be wary of telephone scams involving Medicare and Social Security. Ronnie explained that Medicare and Social Security, “will never try to contact you by your house or cell phone, or your email. They are required to write you a letter.” Ronnie told all members that if they if receive a solicitation by phone or email from someone claiming to be representing Medicare or Social Security that they should not respond.
Some wonderful guest speakers joined us at our meeting. Levittown Public Schools Superintendent, Todd Winch, acknowledged the attendance of his predecessor, former Levittown Schools Superintendent, Dr. Toni McDonald, who retired at the end of last school year and is now a proud member of the LRT. Mr. Winch acknowledged the hard work this school year of the new Assistant Superintendent for Business, Mr. Michael Fabiano, and the new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Beth Zirogiannis. Mr. Winch said everyone in Levittown School District is enjoying a year without having to deal with the issues caused by the COVID pandemic. After his speech, Mr. Winch was presented with plaque from the LRT in acknowledgment of all his efforts to improve education in Levittown.
Levittown United Teachers (LUT) President, John Caulfield, also spoke at our meeting. John informed us that the LUT’s contract expires on June 30, 2024. Although there are no formal negotiations taking place at this time, John said that the LUT leadership is already beginning to think about what they would like to see in the next contract. John also shared the news that LUT Treasurer, Nancy LiVolsi, will retire in June and thanked her for her years of service.
Mr. Caulfield also explained that “Tier Equity” in our state pension system is a priority topic for NYSUT advocacy. Right now, new teachers are part of Tier 6 of the pension system. Being in Tier 6 - or Tier 5, if you were hired from January 1, 2010, through March 31, 2012 - requires teachers to pay into the pension system a percentage of their gross annual salary for each year of their employment. Getting Tier equity would allow Tier 5 and 6 teachers to do what teachers in Tiers 3 and 4 are allowed to do which is to stop making contributions to the pension system after a period of ten years. Finally, John informed us that NYSUT has a new President, Melinda Person, and a new Executive Vice President, Jaime Ciffone. Following John’s speech, the LRT presented him with a gift for all his hard work and dedication to causes important to both LUT and LRT members.
LUT President, John Caulfield, with members of the LRT at their May 10 meeting
We were also fortunate to have with us at our meeting representatives from a Mutual Inc., a company that has worked with several LUT and LRT members over the years. Richard Justino, Alex Dudley, and Adam Janowsky spoke about many important topics. They explained that Mutual Inc. not only offers financial planning and complimentary consultations, they can also help with tax preparation.
The next LRT luncheon is September 20 back at Domenico’s. Invitations will be sent out in August to both old and new members. If you have any questions about the LRT, please reach out to the LRT officers or contact the LUT office.
To view a slide show of photos taken at the meeting, click on the link below: