I noticed yet another slam against teacher pay and benefits in last week’s sound off column and had to roll my eyes. Perhaps local taxpayers would rather pay teachers a competitive wage commensurate with the level of education and certifications they are required to have plus pay them overtime? That’s something school districts might have to consider if they really want to cut Health Care and Retirement benefits. Cutting these benefits would likely result in hundreds of teachers leaving the field and/or leaving the area. Recruiting new teachers without those benefits or offering a higher pay in general would be pretty hard in NYS. Our local teachers work hard every day, putting in hours long beyond their contract requirements every week in order to complete all of the requirements set by State and National Ed Departments for less money (cost of benefits factored in) than anyone with similar qualifications working in any other sector of the economy. It is easy to single out Teacher benefits because they are published for full disclosure. I think that another person “sounding off” last week was closer to the mark, complaining of the high prices and poor service of the Multi-National corporation National Grid. How much does their CEO make? What are his benefits worth? Who does he work to serve every day? Health care and retirement for teachers is not the reason that our local economy is in trouble and taking those benefits away will not solve our problems.