Quick takes – July 4, 2012

by Grace

In Westchester County, school union workers agree to modest raises and increased contributions to health insurance premiums. 

A group of 265 custodians, teacher’s aides and office workers employed by the Bedford school district has agreed to a 5-year deal that will pay raises of between 1 and 1.5 percent while requiring members to pay more of their health insurance costs.

Members of the support staff represented by the Civil Service Employees Association will earn raises of 1 percent this year and in 2013, and raises of 1.5 percent in 2014 and 2015. In the last year of the contract, which calls for a pay raise of 1 percent, the school district agreed to reopen the negotiations to account for changes in the economy.

“In the fifth year we have that option because we are hoping for a booming economy that will allow us to get a bigger raise,” says Mary Lou Cavaliere, the president of CSEA Local 860. “None of us have a crystal ball, but we hope the economy will improve.”

Teachers and administrators are covered under separate contracts and are not part of the deal.

The austere times that started with the recession in 2008 has forced Bedford and districts across the metropolitan region to struggle to balance budgets. Earlier this year, Bedford laid off three dozen bus drivers and outsourced their routes in a cost-cutting move.

Those bus drivers used to be represented by the CSEA.

The new five-year contract, which was approved by the Board of Education on Wednesday, also calls for CSEA employees to increase their contribution to health care costs over the next five years to 12 percent.

Some top high school graduates in Westchester County are staying close to home for college.

Tuckahoe High School valedictorian will attend Fordham (probably with a merit scholarship), salutatorian will be at Iona College with Dean’s Scholarship, and another top scholar will attend  Stonybrookʼs Honors College.  Related to this story:  Families in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley adjust to rising college costs

Americans not convinced college is as valuable as it was 20 years ago

A new poll of 1,000 adults — released by Widmeyer Communications — has mixed results for those in higher education. About 60 percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed said they believed college was a good investment, with only 12 percent disagreeing, and the rest saying they didn’t know. But the poll found Americans split on whether college is as valuable today as it was 20 years ago, with 46 percent agreeing, and 41 percent disagreeing — despite countless statements from educators that college is more necessary today than at previous points in American history.

I gave at the office
Finally, I wonder if colleges get much money when they solicit donations from parents who are currently paying $50,000+ per year for their kids to attend those same colleges.

5 Comments to “Quick takes – July 4, 2012”

  1. Fordham tends to draw heavily from the local Italian-American community, especially middle class families without a lot of elite college aspirations and who want their kids to stay close to home. That is precisely Tuckahoe’s demographic, and looking at her bio – very involved in Italian-American activities – I am guessing she would have gone there regardless of the economy. Fordham is actually very similar to my university.
    I hope the kid going to Iona is getting a free ride because it isn’t really worth its expense otherwise (unless you play bagpipes, lol, they field the best college band in the US). The kid doing SUNY StonyBrook Honors has made a wise choice.


  2. “Finally, I wonder if colleges get much money when they solicit donations from parents who are currently paying $50,000+ per year for their kids to attend those same colleges.”

    Yeah. You have to wonder about the effect of higher tuition on giving to colleges. I’ve heard that it really rankles to get a begging letter from a well-endowed college like Harvard when you’ve barely moved out of your dorm room and are struggling to get established in the real world. And then there’s the whole student loan thing…

    I have to confess that I’ve never felt the urge to send a check to my undergraduate school, even though I was rather generously funded there. Part of it is that they seem to be doing fine without my help, but I’ve also called a number of college communities home since then (either as a student or otherwise affiliated) and so I don’t have a passionate, monogamous relationship with USC. And that, I suppose, is why they invented college football and basketball–to keep those positive alumni juices flowing.


  3. BKM – I saw that the Iona scholarship pays all tuition costs, so if he’s living at home it might have been a very good choice. And I never knew about their bagpipes specialty! I wonder if they offer a scholarship for that.


  4. For some reason, not much college financial love emanating from my house either. Even before the tuition bills came. Other charitable causes just seem more worthy. But we do get the calls from colleges, mainly very young-sounding callers.


  5. “I was surprised by many things – the huge number of people who work in that office, the large amount of money that is given, and the fact that most of it is given by a small number of people, who have had success in their career but who still feel tightly tied to the school.”

    Yep. I know about a couple of multimillion dollar donations, and the funny thing is that these are very old people whose fond memories of college life are 50+ years old. The colleges are often totally different places than they were then, which can cause some difficulties with the details of the bequests.

    Knowing what I know, I would suggest that big donors 1) bear in mind that the university is going to try to steer their money toward something they were going to do anyway and 2) watch for follow-through.


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