Dear Fellow Retirees,

I hope you are all well and gearing up for a great holiday season, in whatever form you practice. My celebrations will be small again this year with close family and a few friends. I am really surprised at how much I have accumulated over the years to celebrate the holidays. What used to be important to display now sits as family history in a safe (and cluttered) space in my attic. Maybe this year will be the year I clean it out. There needs to be an app for us to put unwanted but still “good” holiday decorations out for adoption. Someone somewhere must need a Santa that sings a song and HOHO’s, a small artificial tree, two massive flamboyant cookie jars, an elf on a tricycle, huge stuffed bears, 36 Christmas blankets, and countless TEACHER ornaments. 

Speaking of the teacher ornaments, I am grateful for those demonstrations of affection my students held for me. When I was an inservice teacher they were placed all over my office and classroom, with who gave them to me and the year they were given. It was always a special walk down memory lane to get them out. Now my tree is filled with Best Mimi, grandkids’ handprints and homemade ornaments. While remembered fondly, my past life and mementos remain tucked away. My new roles have taken over all of the space in my home and heart.

I would like to thank our readers for the many comments we have received. Your feedback and notes of appreciation were greatly appreciated. Please continue to let us know what you like about the newsletter, a fun book you have enjoyed, a special memory from your inservice days or a great vacation you have had.

NYSUT’s Retiree Activist Handbook has been updated, please check it out online at (You’ll be prompted to login at NYSUT’s website to view the handbook at this link) You will find a lot of interesting information in the handbook. 

As I always mention, thank you to those of you who have already mailed your voluntary contributions and if you have yet to do so, please consider sending your 2021 – 2022  voluntary contributions. As you now know, we do rely solely on your donations to support our efforts in keeping you informed and advocating on your behalf. No one representing the RC receives any monetary compensation for his/her work.

Stay safe and healthy!!

In solidarity,  Vicki Darrow

President, NYSUT RC #45

Dear Fellow Retirees,

I would first like to welcome our new retirees to NYSUT’s RC #45. We serve 53 NYSUT Locals and our representation on your behalf depends on you communicating your needs and wants as NYSUT Retirees to our elected officers and board. Tom Gath works as our newsletter and website editor and maintains a list of members and email addresses through our website. This allows us to increase communication to you, for your benefit. The emails you receive would be about one per month and relevant to you. To encourage more members to create accounts on our website (, we have decided to hold a monthly drawing of new subscribers for a gift card awarded each month to the lucky winner selected at random. The first drawing will be in September for all members who have signed up to date.

Last spring I received a letter from a member of RC#45 who asked a question regarding the manner in which our COLA is computed. According to the New York State Teachers Retirement System website,, this year eligible retirees received an extra $21 monthly beginning with the September 30 pension payment under New York’s legislated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The 1.4% COLA for 2021-22 is applied to the first $18,000 of the maximum retirement benefit. It is based on the first $18,000 of our yearly pension and by law, the COLA can be no less than 1% and no more than 3% annually and is applied only to the first $18,000 of the retirement benefit. This latest COLA brings the cumulative maximum monthly increase since COLA legislation was enacted in 2001 to $399. It has been suggested that a new value be used to compute the COLA that is more in line with current pensions. This is a topic that we will be researching and speaking with other RC’s about. Our intention is to sponsor a resolution at the 2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly requesting that NYSUT encourage legislators revisit the value used to compute COLA.

I spent my summer enjoying family in New York as well as South Carolina. I also welcomed a new grandson from my daughter and her husband. His name is Munroe Curtis DuBois. He is already training us and we can’t wait to get to know (and spoil) him. One of my major undertakings this summer was to use up ALL of my postcards. You know the ones you buy intending to send while on vacation but never do? Well, I did it!! I wrote short notes to many friends both near and far, retired and still teaching, and relatives too. The feedback was rewarding and I found out they were greatly appreciated. Who knew people would get so much joy out of a silly handwritten note?
As I always mention, thank you to those of you who have already mailed your voluntary contributions and if you have yet to do so, please consider sending your 2021 – 2022 voluntary contributions. As you now know, we do rely solely on your donations to support our efforts in keeping you informed and advocating on your behalf. No one representing the RC receives any monetary compensation for his/her work.
We have a rigorous schedule of meetings this year with five newsletters coming your way. We hope to have your input with the newsletters, please consider contacting us with your thoughts, stories of adventure, good books you have read, favorite recipes or just a HELLO!!
Stay safe and healthy!!
In solidarity, Vicki Darrow
President, NYSUT RC #45

🌿 We have done it! Spring is around the corner, I see our snow banks decreasing every day right now! Daylight savings is always welcome, giving us the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. With spring this year we also have the hint of the decline of the effects of the pandemic on our lives. Our plans to travel again may resume shortly.  Visiting with good friends and a meal shared at a restaurant aren’t so far fetched anymore. Governor Cuomo announced that beginning April 1, domestic travelers no longer need to quarantine after entering NY from another US state. While we are still required to complete the NYS traveler form this is a huge announcement in my mind. 

RC #45 continues to work behind the scenes with remote modifications in place for our safety. Our last meeting together had 100% attendance with Zoom. No one had to drive anywhere and we were able to meet to accomplish our agenda, have some friendly banter and then resume our regularly scheduled day. I actually see this as an option moving forward, even without COVID-19 protocol in place. We have the Representative Assembly fast approaching where we will “attend” the conference remotely this year. Breakout sessions at my last two conferences were well done and easily maneuvered..... and I never moved out of my living room chair.

We have a virtual ED #51 meeting on March 23 where we will be reviewing and discussing union issues in an open forum. Loretta Donlon, our very own Director of ED #51 will be facilitating. It will be great to see our union friends and resume a feeling of normalcy.

If you haven’t registered on our RC #45 website please click here to do that. It is the most efficient means we have to communicate with you. Thank you to those of you who have created a profile and also to those who have mailed in their voluntary contributions. 

Please stay safe and healthy. Let us know what you need from us to continue living your best lives. We are a phone call, letter or email away.

Vicki Darrow - President, NYSUT RC #45

I am sitting at my campsite writing you a quick note to close out the 2020-2021 year. We are camping at Chicahominy Riverfront Park for a week. The campground is located along the Virginia Capital Trail so we have been able to bike between 10 and 18 miles each day, along with walking along the trail other times. There are geocaches located along the trail for over 17 miles, every 0.1 miles apart so we have had plenty to do this week. We also participated in the annual Cap2Cap Ride which fell on Mother’s Day, which was also my birthday! Nothing like a party to celebrate, right? The ride was different this year than in the past but improved from last year when it was cancelled. Our next trip will be to Block Island in Rhode Island to stay at a B&B for a few days, again bicycling each day to explore the nine square miles of the island. 

While this past school year has been challenging in some regards it has also been a blessing. My schedule isn’t as booked as it typically is and I really quite like that. I do not believe that my husband and I will return to substitute teaching and I have been decreasing my involvement in some organizations. NYSUT’s RC #45 is still doing well and flourishing in spite of the pandemic so I am quite proud of that. We are looking to establish some Zoom membership meetings for 2021-2022 and ideally an actual in person meeting as well! 

As officers and board members, we are always thinking of ways to encourage more retirees to remain active within our organization. It was, as always, a topic of discussion at our meetings, our contiguous meetings and our statewide Zoom meetings.  I would like to encourage you to sign up on our website ( ) or on Facebook because NYSUT is continually offering online opportunities for personal growth and topics of interest. One such Zoom meeting will involve Richard Wolff, a professor of economics at New School University. He will be talking about the historic role of unions and the future role in creating healthy and safe work environments. Wolff has devoted his career in both academics and public speaking to understanding the economic system as it involves the workforce and the impact of unions on the workplace and this should be an interesting discussion.  All retired members were invited to to join the conference but we were only able to invite the members who have created a log in on our website or the retirees who have joined our Facebook group.

Take care, stay safe and enjoy your summer!

Vicki President, NYSUT RC #45

Hello Fellow Retirees,

Happy New Year!! I just returned from a wonderful walk in 40 degree temperatures, in CORTLAND, NY.  It is a new year and RC #45 has a renewed sense of purpose.

New leadership is taking charge in our country. Vaccinations are out there for our retirees and frontline workers. We are back to being able to hold meetings, virtually, but still meet! The last board meeting we held this month had 100% attendance for us because weather was not an issue!!  Our officers and board members did not have to spend more time getting here in their cars than we actually took to conduct our meeting. A new way of doing business that is more cost effective and more user friendly.  We would also like to encourage our members to create a profile on our website so that we may have a quick way to communicate with you regarding time sensitive information. Further along in this article our Webmaster (and Board Member) Tom Gath will outline the process for you.  We do not share your email addresses, we intend to use them solely to communicate with you.

I am grateful that after the last newsletter was mailed out we received several voluntary contributions, thank you to all of you who sent yours in!!  We also had a new retiree step forward and volunteer to act as our secretary. We are proud to announce that on January 6, we  appointed Paul Davis as our NYSUT RC #45 secretary. Paul rounds out our board quite nicely and you will read a brief note from him later in this newsletter. How gratifying to have my pleas for retiree involvement not fall on deaf ears. We do need to continue to hear from you, your questions and with what do you need assistance? We still have over 40 districts that are not directly represented in our retiree council.  We are your voice and your connection to NYSUT – let us speak for you.

Retiree Services is planning the launch of a series of webinars for February.  Topics include: Covid and Vaccinations (2/3), Valentine’s Day Cooking Class (2/10), Chair Yoga (2/17), and a Cabin Fever Music Festival (2/24).  The dates for all sessions are tentative at this time, and each one will run for no more than 60 minutes.  More information is forthcoming on the NYSUT website:

Stay warm!!

In solidarity,  Vicki Darrow

President, NYSUT RC #45