Ohio

Eye on Education

The Pros and Cons of Ohio’s Issue 2 for Educators and Taxpayers

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Senate Bill 5 would affect how Ohio schools and teachers operate.

Issue 2, the referendum on collective bargaining law Senate Bill 5, would bring sweeping changes to how local and state governments operate, and to the lives of public workers — especially educators. Whether Issue 2 passes or fails could also affect homeowner property tax bills.

To help our readers educate themselves about Issue 2, we’ve summarized the arguments for and against some of the biggest changes Senate Bill 5 would bring to Ohio’s public education system:

1. SB 5 requires many public sector employees to pay a greater part of their health benefits and some to pay higher pension costs.

  • On one hand: Requiring educators to pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their healthcare premiums and contribute 10 percent to their pensions would bring them more in line with private-sector workers and reduce school district costs.
  • On the other: These changes would effectively reduce educators’ pay and limit their ability to negotiate. These and other changes included in SB 5 could make teaching a less attractive career for some talented potential teachers.

2. SB 5 abolishes tenure for teachers who don’t already have it.

  • On one hand: Currently teachers can earn tenure, also called a continuing contract, after at least seven years of service and after meeting other requirements. To fire a teacher with tenure, a school district must follow a set legal process. Districts say this process can be expensive and thus it’s not common to try to dismiss a tenured teacher. Abolishing tenure for new teachers could reduce district costs.
  • On the other:  Because tenure makes it harder to fire teachers, it can protect good teachers from being dismissed without good reason.

3. SB 5 requires that most teachers be evaluated at least once a year and that school boards use the evaluation results to “inform” decisions about pay, nonrenewal of employment contracts and termination.

  • On one hand: Having more information about teachers’ performance and using it to guide these important decisions could help schools identify and retain great teachers; identify good teachers and help them improve; and identify and remove lower-performing teachers.
  • On the other: Each district can develop its own evaluation system as long as it follows certain state guidelines. A poorly designed or implemented evaluation system could ingrain favoritism and have negative effects for Ohio teachers and their students.

4. SB 5 would eliminate automatic pay raises based on seniority and substitute performance pay based on a plan that is still being developed.

  • On one hand: For most Ohio teachers, salaries are not now directly connected to their classroom performance. By tying compensation to classroom performance, school districts will be able to identify and reward great teachers and give lower-performing teachers less of a reason to stay in the classroom.
  • On the other: A poorly designed or implemented evaluation system could lead to unfair differences in teacher pay. And competition among teachers could lead to less collaboration among a school’s staff, which could hurt students.

5. SB 5 eliminates the requirement that schools collectively bargain over wages, hours and working conditions and prohibits collective bargaining over maximum class sizes. It also allows a school board to impose a contract on employees when all else fails, and prohibits public employee strikes.

  • On one hand: The changes give school boards much more power to control costs and gives them the upper hand in determining class sizes and other working conditions.
  • On the other: The changes remove a powerful way for teachers to shape their schools and influence their compensation and working conditions. They also remove a check on school boards’ power. The changes lessen the opportunity for rigorous examination of what is in students’ best interests.

Comments

  • http://americansocietytoday.blogspot.com/ American Society Today

    Most teachers in Ohio contribute the full 10% of their salaries to their retirements. The district contributes 14% of their salary as deferred compensation. Most teachers pay a portion of their health care costs with many paying much more than 15%. The argument against the teacher evaluation system mandated by the state is that it is based on standardized test scores and will lead teachers to compete for students instead of collaborate for the greater good. Here is a link to more information on Ohio Issue 2/Senate Bill 5: http://americansocietytoday.blogspot.com/2011/04/facts-on-ohio-senate-bill-5.html

  • Dougeastwood

    If anyone even reads this, it seems obvious the page is slanted for a vote against Issue 2. I’m for our teachers, police, and firefighters. i cannot understand how, with all their degrees and knowledge they cannot see if this is voted down, more of every discipline will be unemployed. How does that help? Is it that important for each individual to desperately grasp onto every little perk they’ve recieved in the last 30 years in exchange for the new young family being discarded because there simply isn’t enough money to sustain the current system? Think about this one thing, if your are one who would be affected with Issue 2 passing, has ANY of the information suppliers offered to you a way for the system to be funded? NO! You must acknowledge it is a different economy and drastic changes are needed. Please consider this before the sysyem is totally broke and evertone will losw everything. Issue 2 is NOT anti Ohioans. It is a reasonable way to take a step in the right direction to be sure you all have some retirement and quality income. Please think about it. VOTE YES on 2.

    • Bjones92

      Good call. Many of we the tax payers have see reductions in income or pay freezes due to the economy. With a the down sizing and pay reductions it is time for the private sector to share in the pain. There is no need for guaranteed raises (from tax payer), especially when many income taxes are less.

      Also, just about every other profession has performance based evaluations &I the bad ones are eventually weeded out…why should this be any different for teacher or any other public position. A YES VOTE for issue 2 is needed to start the ball rolling in the right direction to get our country back. There are still many other issues that need resolutions, this is just one small step in the right direction.

      • mola

        Know what some of your educators have put in their current contracts. We have freezes going on just like all of you. When our contract goes through its term, we will have had 4 years without an increase.

    • mola

      Put 40 kids in your child’s classroom. Currently SB 5 says classroom size it not a bargining item.

      • Megan

        If that is what the school board can afford, then so be it. Certainly not ideal, but perhaps that is when parents will need to step in and supplement their childrens’ educations.

        • Guest

          Parents already supplement the education…it’s called taxes.

    • Bettykrembrek

      sb5 or issue2 you will get more taxes. we pay their wages and then they take that money and make a huge retirement and they do not give back and put anything into ssi. , how is that fair also no child left behind gives them thee oppurtunity to do a very bad job and we know they are not doing a good job because the nation is in the 7% lowest it has ever been , when in the 50′s it was 100% smartest in the world how could we have dropped so low in 61 years in intelligence. you tell me is it because their good teachers or is it because their not pushed ,there is no insenative to do better because they know they cannot be fired,and they are allowed to do
      a bad job, everyone else is paying more on health care why can’ they?

    • A58corvette

      my daughter and son-n-law are teachers and they make some good points but I think overall SB5 is a good thing

  • Anonymous

    “Most teachers in Ohio contribute the full 10% of their salaries to their retirements.” – This is fine and dandy, although who pays their retirement in the first place/where does their pay come from in the first place? – “investments”/taxes are fine – although should they not be based on what can be afforded?
    No matter what happens if the money is not there, something will be cut – may be better to take a cut now, rather than lose your job later.

    • grepcat

      The retirement system is funded by contributions invested in a retirement fund. It is doing fine.

  • Dudgie64

    Any bill that denies the right to collectively bargin goes against what I think is good for this country. There are other pieces that I agree with, but the collective bargining piece is a deal breaker for me.

    • Square_peg

      I believe that one has to recognize that unions in the public and private sector need to be treated differently. The fact is that a union that gets too much in the private sector can force employers to go out of business….not so with the public sector. Given that taxpayers have “bottomless” pockets, there is nothing to restrain public sector unions from asking for (and often getting) “the world.”

  • Seanka

    The salaries of all state/public/government workers is well below those of private sector employees. Often it is about half of what you would see working outside education. My boss, for instance, makes about $65000 per year. His salary in the public sector would be at least $100000 per year with benefits equal to or greater than what he has now (conservative estimate). Those who work in the public sector are not doing it for the money.

    If you base teacher compensation on “classroom performance” all the kids will get A’s whether they earn them or not. The current standards are already low enough for many reasons, don’t add more fuel to this fire. Teachers, firefighters, and nurses–all impacted by SB 5 (Issue 2 yes vote)–did not and are not part of the problem, these people did not create any of our problems, but they end up being the governments’ whipping boy. Vote No on Issue 2, Please.

    • Square_peg

      With all due respect, I’ve argued the compensation issue with teachers many times. They love to point out that most of them have Masters degrees and that, in the private sector, they would be making upwards of $100K. I ask them “just how many $100K jobs do you think there are in the private sector” and the answer generally shows that they have no idea that the number is very small. The bottom line is that no job is easy and public workers get paid much more than their private sector counterparts….this is fact, look it up!

      • momof3

        I would like to know where you are getting your facts from because I work in the public sector and I make less than most of the people I know that work in the private sector. We definately do not “get paid much more than our private sector counterparts”. I have done my research because I’ve considered leaving the public sector for better pay. Take a look at your local city and a few surrounding. All government records are public so you should be able to see that the pay is comparable. Then ask those employees if their job title really reflects their job duties. My job is comparable to 5 jobs, so when you look at salary, I am underpaid by 49% compared to an individual in the private sector making minimum wage. Our health insurance has risen over the past 5 years, but that doesn’t get published in the papers or on the news. Our “step” increases ARE based on performance and if you don’t perform you don’t receive the increase. Most companies provide their employees with an annual cost of living increase, we have not received a cost of living increase for the past three years. Taxes aren’t going up because of anything that we have done. Prices rise and that causes a chain of events from the private sector not the public. We have had cut after cut to our salaries and benefits, so in fact, the budget has been balanced on the backs of the employees. The same employees who are expected to provide the same quality of service. The same employees who are dedicated to their jobs, show up everyday and work hard for the residents. You dont’ see services in the community being cut. I cannot speak on behalf of the benefits that teachers receive, but my insurance cost HAS indeed risen in the past 7 years and by 300%. Each year it raises more and more. I don’t receive any additional benefits that my peers aren’t. I contribute to my retirement by saving additional money. I also know for FACT that police officers retiring are paying $800/mo for health insurance. That would be 60% of my pay. Is that something that anyone can really afford? That’s why you have to plan for your retirement. Teachers are the future because our children are the future. They should have decent pay. Why aren’t the salaries of the senators, governors, mayors being looked at and changed. The employees “behind the scenes” are the backbone to why your city is functioning, not those in the spotlight. Good employees should be rewarded. Does anyone realize that once you reach the top of your “step” you no longer receive pay increases? I am set for life, will no longer receive increases and I still have 23 years until I retire. Will prices stay the same for that length of time? Obviously not. If changes need to be made to the unions, then they need to be separated and not all combined into one Issue.

        • Daughter of public employee

          Your awesome!!!! I like you lol. I totally agree. I work in the private sector, but my mom worked in the public sector for 22 years as a dispatcher for 911. I know what she and the fire dept make, why would I even consider hurting those that have raised me to be who I am today? No one in the public sector makes what the private does except those that you named. You put it straight. Thank You for that.

      • Acmaker2011

        i believe most private school teachers make bank….public school teachers do not…sb 5 is just another way to take more money from school teachers, and other public workers….this is probably why america is ranked 27th in the world when it comes to education.

        • shutterbug

          Actually private school teachers make less than public, at least in the Catholic school system. Many very good private school teacher are waiting for the public school openings that are far and few between.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12462584 Jeremy Harmon

        Why is it whenever someone says “with all due respect”, they really mean “kiss my ass”?

      • A58corvette

        Well said

    • A58corvette

      If people who work in the public sector are not doing it for the money, then why should they care about some of the concessions thy need to make. I beg to differ with you; – it’s all about money

  • Michele Marie77

    The issue is not ready for a “yes” vote YET. Changes must be made but the way it stands now, our public employees and unions are archaic in this day. However, there must not be too much power given to school boards without appropriate checks and balances. Sadly in my area teachers, police and firefighters are actually considered “working poor” if they are the sole provider for a family of 3( based on state poverty guidelines) so unions are not backing the workers in this case! Change is needed to the bill first… VOTE NO …for now!

  • mola

    I know there are districts out there that have more of their insurance paid for but this year we are paying our lowest percentage 20%. Last year, our families paid 42%.

  • Anonymous

    Our education system in America is already screwed up. Sorry to the teachers that actually love their jobs and try hard to educate their students, but having graduated from high school just 3 years ago I can say firsthand that I had a handful of teachers in high school that didn’t put ANY effort into their teaching. Ex- no homework, push-over tests/exams, did nothing in class but watch movies, etc. (FYI, the school I went to was a public school but was ranked in the top 1000 school in America and has received “excellent” ratings for years.) So personally I would rather see teachers get pay equivalent to the effort they put in. It would make the lazy teachers motivated to actually do their job and the ones that do would be compensated for it.

    • dago

      agree

  • Adrianacres

    I am for our teachers…but against the free ride meaning tenure….take a good look…who else gets tenure on the job and fuill retirement and health care..and if their spouse is also a teacher the one still living gets BOTH FULL RETIREMENT checks. My husband was an engineer for GM…he worked his way up but not tenure! There are scare tactics on this…saing a good teacher could be fired for no good reason….I dont think so….any school board wants to see its school and its students to succeed…we all want standards of schools to be the best! following comments I agree with….so I vote Yes on issue 2!
    judie

    • Troy

      Good points Judie!

  • Adrianacres

    I agree with other comments…its not fair that anyone has tenure, or does not pay into their retirement or thier health care……the rest of us do! If a teacher is married to another teacher and one spouse dies….the living teacher gets BOTH FULL RETIREMENT CHECKS! Thats not fair…when none of the rest of us do . No school board is going to dismiss a teacher for no reason….THATS SCARE TACTICS ON THIS ISSUE…..all schools want their school to be highly rated….students to be educated….thats the real goal!!! No job is easy….we all have to work at it……
    I am not as articulate as the other comments…..but please VOTE YESS ON ISSUE TWO…..

    MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND IT…..it is confusing as to what it is about.

  • Anonymous

    Look at the teachers pay… some make $80k a year. And they do NOT work in the summer. Take out Holiday breaks and days off, they work and average of 8 months. Do you see that- 8 months and $80k a year- that’s $10,000 a month they make- and they complain about THAT??? Amazing.

  • Anonymous

    Also look at the teachers pay… some make $80k a year. And they do NOT work in the summer. Take out Holiday breaks and days off, they work and average of 8 months. Do you see that- 8 months and $80k- that’s $10,000 a month they make- and they complain about THAT??? Amazing.

  • Dave

    I pay 100% of my retirement or there won’t be one.
    I pay 50% of my medical and dental insurance or there is none.
    I have no one to bargain for my wages and I do just fine.
    This is a union vote and I am against the unions.
    The unions drive up costs on all things and make them unattainable for the non-union workers of this nation. It’s time to disolve this antiquated philosophy.
    I VOT YES.

    • A58corvette

      I couldn’t have said it better

    • Truth

      Unions helped create a solid middle class. And believe or not unions have helped raise the standard of living for non-union workers. It would be nice if businesses would pay their employees based on their profits and not what they can get away with. Then just maybe unions wouldn’t be needed. If you want to go back to the days of servitude and serfs go ahead and get rid of unions and go back to that antiquated philosophy.

      If anything teachers are not paid enough money for the simple fact they are in charge of educating our children which is our future. Their wages should be one of the highest in our society to attract the brightest people in our society. I’d say our education system is in the shape it is today because the pay doesn’t attract the brightest. You get what you pay for.

  • Motorman

    Glad I don’t live in Ohio. Prop. Taxes are going to go through the roof to pay for the public unions!

  • A58corvette

    Well Issue 2 got crushed – I’m sure the union leaders are thumping their chests applauding their “victory” and sticking it to Gov Kasich. That’s what this issue was all about – the opponents wanted to stick to Kasich and the proponents (me included) wanted to stick it to the unions
    All the people who are/were against the bill are in for a surprise when the layoffs start.

  • Andi

    After reading through the Issue 2, I see a lot of good points. I work everyday and every year I get an evaluation it is based off of attendance, job performance, and core values with in the company and this is how my raises are based. Why shouldn’t teachers or public server. I want my child to have the best education she can get and the only way she will get that is if her teacher knows what she or he is doing at all times. This helps not just to teach our children but it gives those a direction to go in such as, what they are more successful in performing and what he or she needs to improve and work on them. This will help the performance on the job and help others around them. I mean I would not want to be a teacher because some of the students are not taught at home how they should behave but still by doing evaluations leaves out playing favorites, ethnic issues, and those who just lack on their jobs because they are evaluated on their performance and yes an evaluation can be created to eliminate such issues.

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