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TEACHERS AREN'T TO BLAME FOR THE AREA'S LOST JOBS

The Nov. 15 letter blaming teacher salaries for the "great" rise in Maryvale school taxes contained a great deal of half-truths and misinformation. The writer claims that his Maryvale school taxes now equal his Erie County taxes. This is false. I live in West Seneca, where my school taxes are much higher than his, and I pay $500 more in county taxes than school taxes.

He also claims that the Maryvale School Board fully pays for the teacher's health insurance. In reality, it pays 90 percent. Teachers pay the rest. And they have a prescription co-pay plan that is similar to that of other workers in the area. In fact, auto workers enjoy free eyeglass prescriptions, while Maryvale teachers have no such benefit.

He then claims that teachers get 50 percent retirement pay based on their last three years of salary. Almost true. Regardless, the School Board does not pay for retiree's pensions. No school taxes are used for that. It is none of his buiness what a retired Maryvale teacher earns. Nor are Maryvale teachers concerned with his retirement pay.

The writer then claims that the erosion of good-paying, blue-collar jobs is due to these massive tax increases. This is a gross oversimplification of the facts. Were all the jobs lost when Bethlehem Steel, Republic Steel, Westinghouse and others closed due to massive tax increases? Has he ever heard of foreign competition and cheaper labor in other countries? Why did Trico transfer their jobs to Mexico?

Finally, he challenges the teachers' union to contact him and explain why teachers' salaries are so high. Should police unions do the same? Postal workers? GM workers? The writer should do a little research before he offers his opinions.

Philip Fanone
West Seneca

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