Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brodsky Bombs Out

I usually admire Assemblyman Brodsky, but he has a bill (A10035-a) up for approval that just stinks. I'll paraphrase from the NYSSBA "Call to Action."
A year ago the legislature imposed a new mandate on schools, providing leave time for all employees, to be used for breast and prostate cancer screening. Despite the fact that most school employees work 180 out of 365 days per year and contractually negotiate additional sick and personal time, the legislature chose to provide this additional benefit. They ignored the fact that unlike other jobs, most school employees must be replaced when they take time off, costing the public an additional amount for those substitutes.

Now the legislature wants your communities to pay the cost of paying employees for this time off!

The legislation to change this from “unpaid leave” to “paid leave” and specifically extend the mandate to BOCES is currently on the calendar awaiting passage in both houses of the legislature. Since communities have already authorized a set budget amount for your district, this new mandate would directly cut into funds for existing programs and services!
Based on what O tells me, I no longer consider time spent with a substitute "instructional time." We have such trouble finding subs that you now do not even need a college degree to sub in a classroom. If you can stand upright, breathe without a machine, and take the abuse, you're in (after fingerprinting, of course). We require an army of subs every time there are state tests to grade (another unfunded mandate). The cost in dollars and wasted time is ridiculous.

Do you get paid leave to get screened for cancer? I know I don't. I picture our legislators scrambling to outdo each other in "good ideas" like this one, without ever stopping to consider the consequences. I would like to call for a moratorium on new laws; let's just review the old ones for a few years and discard the ones whose cost is greater than their worth.

LATER: Speaking of cancer screenings, I called my ob/gyn for my annual test. My last one was June of '07, and they kindly sent out a postcard reminding me that it's June again. However, they couldn't find an open appointment before late August. Once, I left their office after waiting two hours; in responding to my withering letter, they admitted they'd forgotten I was there. I'd go to a different practice, but the womb-to-tomb one Paul and I frequent locally is just as bad or worse when it comes to wait times. The only doctors I know that get us in and out in a reasonable amount of time are O's doctors at Buttermilk Pediatrics off Warren Road. I know that people b*tch and moan about the so-called "socialized medicine" the Dems support, but how could it be much worse than this?


Anonymous said...

First -- it's not socialized medicine -- it's the first step in a long process of beginning to fix a desperately broken machine where the medical profession is now run by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
Second -- while I do agree with you about the fact that teachers should not get paid leave for cancer screening, somehow I have trouble complaining about any perks accorded to some of our more important, and some of our most underpaid, professionals in the country. Frankly, if they were legally awarded "free fruit Fridays" at the supermarket, I'd just shrug and figure they deserved it.

KAZ said...

On your first point: I know. That's why I put "socialized medicine" in quotes. It's called "sarcasm" and is usually born of "anger."

On your second point: And that's why my school taxes are over $10K/year; our "professionals" (see above) won't chair a committee, attend a workshop, supervise an extracurricular activity, or chaperone a dance without extra pay; and at test-grading time my child doesn't see a real teacher from one week to the next--because people like you have drunk the Koolaid.