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KUDOS to Margaret Menge, editor of the Cornwall Local for her March 9, 2007 article titled “Who's in charge here?”. In this article, Ms Menge correctly points out that our school board see themselves as part of a team to campaign and pass a school budget, rather than as elected representatives of the people. Our teachers were recently granted very generous salary increases, (see Cornwall Local of February 2 nd 2007) and this was done allegedly, because the teachers agreed to pay 6.5% of the premium for their health insurance. Mr. Rehm, the School Board, and the teachers union are attempting to dupe the Cornwall Citizens into believing that the increased contribution paid by the teachers towards their health premiums is a magnanimous act and thereby justify the huge salary increases. How does 6.5% OF THE PREMIUM that our teachers now pay, compare to what our senior citizens pay for their Medicare part B, which is automatically deducted from their social security checks?

One of our members was in the middle of preparing tax documents for a 71 year old retired relative when he read the February 2, 2007 article, detailing the huge salary increases for our teachers. It was then that he noticed that the relative whose documents he was preparing had received a year-end statement from the Social Security administration, and on it was her $19,100 total income, minus the $1,062 premium for Medicare part B. This $1,062 of premium for Medicare part B represented 5.5% of this persons' entire income. A similar proportional contribution by the teachers towards their family health plans would mean that the teachers would wind up paying for most of the healthcare costs themselves. Why shouldn't our teachers have to contribute a similar percentage of their incomes towards their health premiums as our Seniors?

The teachers are paying 6.5% OF THE PREMIUM for a family plan. The annual premium for a family health plan when purchased as part of a group, is approximately $6000, which means that the teachers are paying less than $400.00 towards their health premiums for their family plan. Whereas our retired neighbors, with incomes that are about one fifth of what our teachers earn, are paying more than twice what the teachers are paying. And 5.5% of this seniors entire income was for an individual plan, whereas, the teachers are paying 6.5% of their premium for a family plan. Somehow, I'm having difficulty seeing the magnanimity of a 6.5% OF THE PREMIUM that is contributed by the teachers towards their family health plans.

In addition to their huge Medicare Part B premiums, our seniors are also being forced to pay an oppressive property tax bill and a huge portion of this tax bill goes right into the teachers and administrators pockets. Our seniors have to choose between paying the property tax bill, heating bill, buying medicines and paying for food, and all on less than $20,000 worth of annual income.

Someone once said “We get the government we deserve”. If you don't go out and vote “NO” on the 10-11 budget on May 17, 2011, than we will indeed get the government we deserve. The key ingredient that is missing from Mr. Rehm, our school board and the teachers union is PERSPECTIVE. In the past some of our more blunt neighbors have understandably referred to the school board as “the lap dog committee”. In reading Ms Menges article, we can't help but feel that those blunt neighbors are right. The Budget vote is scheduled for May 17, 2011.