Eye on Education

Fifteen Ways Issue 2 Will Affect Ohio Schools, Colleges and Universities

J.D. Pooley / Getty Images

Protesters against Senate Bill 5 display their signs during a rally against a pending budget bill at the Ohio Statehouse February 22, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.

Early voting on Senate Bill 5, Ohio’s collective bargaining law, is already under way. Senate Bill 5 is called Issue 2 on the November ballot and is the target of a repeal campaign. Implementation of the law is on hold until after the election.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

The law affects all public workers in Ohio, including — or perhaps especially — teachers. Here are the highlights of how SB 5 affects education in Ohio.

SB 5…

  1. Requires public employees to pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health care benefits.
  2. Prohibits collective bargaining over the details of health care benefits packages.
  3. Bars public employers from paying a portion of employees’ pension contributions, i.e., pension pick-ups.
  4. Requires the order of teacher lay-offs to be determined first by teacher tenure status and then by several other criteria, which can (at a school board’s discretion) include seniority. It also would phase out teacher tenure by eliminating it for anyone who does not already have it. For non-teaching school employees, tenure and then performance must be the determining factors in determining which employees are laid off.
  5. Abolishes teacher tenure for currently untenured teachers. (Teachers who already have tenure, also known as a continuing contract, retain tenure.) Instead, all teachers would receive contracts of up to five years.
  6. Eliminates the requirement that local and state governments (including schools) collectively bargain over wages, hours and working conditions.
  7. Prohibits collective bargaining to set maximum class sizes, limit supervisors’ ability to determine where an employee will work or an employees’ workload or restrict a school board’s ability to contract out non-educational services.
  8. Eliminates automatic pay raises that teachers receive as they accumulate years of experience and credentials and instead requires teachers to receive performance pay. Performance pay would be based on level of licensure and education, results of a formal evaluation and any other measures the school board picked. The evaluation process must meet general guidelines to be set by the state Board of Education, including a requirement that at least 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation be based on his or her students’ academic growth.
  9. Requires all teachers be evaluated at least once a year using that evaluation process, starting by the 2013-14 school year. School boards must use evaluation results to “inform” decisions about compensation, nonrenewal of employment contracts, termination and reductions in force.
  10. Abolishes the statutory sick leave, leave of absence, and assault leave provided to all school employees, the statutory personal leave and vacation leave provided to nonteaching employees, and the statutory professional improvement leave provided to teachers. Instead, school boards could set their own leave policies.
  11. Eliminates the requirement that non-union members pay their union a “fair share fee.”
  12. Prohibits public employees from striking. Under current law, some public employees (including teachers) are allowed to go on strike.
  13. Effectively defines most full-time public college and university faculty as supervisors or management-level-employees, which means their schools are no longer required to collectively bargain with them.
  14. Bars charter school employees from bargaining collectively. Employees of district-sponsored charter schools can continue to bargain collectively only if their schools’ boards agree to do so. Currently, employees in both types of charter schools are allowed to bargain collectively.
  15. School boards and other governing bodies are permitted to implement their last best offer without union approval or review by a fact-finder if they’re unable to negotiate a settlement with unions.


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

    Here is a link to more information on Ohio Senate Bill 5/Issue 2:

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001923537485 Christopher Smith

    I cannot see one thing wrong with any of those 15 things that will happen. It makes the public union employees accountable just like their non-union, private sector counterparts are made accountable. Do a good job or get fired. Don’t like the benefits at a particular place, quit and go work someplace else.

    It is VERY reasonable. The problem is that unions have blackmailed the tax payers for so long they think they are entitled to all those extras. The key word in that last sentence is THINK.

    • Publius

      Problem is that these don’t deal with keeping employees accountable- this bill is designed to weaken teachers unions. Kasich wants to push teachers’ pay lower so that those teachers will be driven into the market for new for-profit education companies (who are backing his campaign) can pick them up cheap. HB 136, currently in the Ohio House, has the ability to funnel all state dollars that currently go to public schools to those same private companies. SB5 and HB 136 are a 1-2 punch to dismantle public education in Ohio and push all that money to unproven, untested, for-profit schools. In the end, we end up weakening public education further, not saving taxpayers any money, while accomplishing nothing for the students. The only people who gain are the owners of the for-profit schools.
      I’m no defender of unions for state employees, many of whom could all go to the private sector if they chose. But unions for professions where there is no real private-sector counterpart (teachers, police, fire) do serve a purpose to keep those employees compensated fairly. It would be great to see teachers, police, and fire compensated fairly, but the public keeps trying to get their services for less and less while expecting more and more. And for those public employees who do have jobs that have a true private-sector comparison, the public employee is statistically better-educated and paid less. The benefits (good retirement and healthcare) are what make the overall compensation fair.

      • mary

        Very well said. I agree completely.

      • Smith

        Absolutely, 100% .

    • Smith

      What causes you to believe union employees are not held accountable for their actions? Bargaining members are not exempt from evaluations and accountability. Do your homework before you put your foot further down your throat.

  • Veteran
    • Anonymous

      For those following along at home, what Veteran is pointing out is that in removing the section of law that deals with setting teacher salaries based on how many years a teacher has been in the classroom, SB 5 also removes the section of law that counted a veteran’s years of military service as years of education experience in setting the veteran/teacher’s salary. Here’s the part that SB 5 *removes*:

      “Years of service includes the follow…
      (D) All years of active military service in the armed forces of the United States, as defined in section 3307.75 of the Revised Code, to a maximum of five years. For purposes of this calculation, a partial year of active military service of eight continuous months or more in the armed forces shall be counted as a full year.”

    • Smith

      How creative, categorizing 10 hour work days as comfortable. And just imagine my comfortable, cushy lifestyle–, driving my gas-guzzling 10 yr old Toyota Corolla to work each day, (after paying yet another $3000 out of pocket to take yet another graduate course I must complete to keep my teaching credentials current and paying another substantial percentage out of pocket for health care benefits on top of that) and then spending most of my spare time on satisfying the graduate course requirements, planning lessons, and grading papers. And you get to do all this, under the future threat of losing your cushy job if your students can’t pass some state mandated tests that haven’t even been proven as valid predictors of achievement. Not that you have a great deal of control over what your students do anyway, since so many other factors contribute to school success…. but, whatever. Do you know lots of folks who are beating down the doors for this particular lifestyle? I’m encountering fewer and fewer.

      I honestly don’t recall whining to anyone lately about this, or assuming a “superior posture” in my community, as I slip out the door each school morning, dressed in my stylish clothes I’ve worn for at least 10 years. Seriously, the level of investment and commitment veteran teachers make as a matter of course, throughout their careers, is substantial, monetarily, personally, educationally, in terms of lifestyle choices. To denigrate their dedication and contributions towards our communities and society is a travesty.

      • kitty

        Yes, I can see how 10 hour work days can be difficult, 180 days a year. That is 1/2 a year that teachers work! Of course teachers should have to continue to take classes throughout their career. You really don’t think you should have to pay a little more for your health care? So, not only do I have to pay for MY health care out of pocket, as a taxpayer I have to make up the difference for yours as well? WOW!

        • http://profiles.google.com/mechelec13 Jordan Steele

          No, They’re saying that they already pay out of pocket. And you know what, 180 days is not half a work year. A standard private sector job works 253 days a year. At 8 hours a day (typical), that’s 2024 hours a year, minus, on average, 2.5 weeks of vacation a year, so we’re at 1924 hours.

          At 50 hours a week, 180 days, that’s 1800 hours. Plus mandatory, OUT OF POCKET education. So, one to two graduate courses a year, where they are not being paid, but rather paying out of pocket to work…that’s about another 100 hours, so the average teacher (who does not extracurriculars), works about 1900 hours, but they have to pay $2,000 for that last 100 hours, so I think we can call this a wash.

          And they make far less than a similarly educated and hard working professional makes in the private sector.

          SB 5 piles the state’s budget woes on these people while Kasich hasn’t asked for a dime from his billionaire cronies.

          • kitty

            I was NOT comparing work weeks, what I said was 180 is half a year. I was under the assumption that people choose their careers based on what they love to do, not for the pay. The average worker pays about 31% out of pocket for health care, SB 5 would ask government workers to pay 15%. I don’t think that is unfair. I also don’t think it is unfair that government workers contribute a mere 10% toward their retirement plan, instead of requiring taxpayers to provide these pension benefits for free.
            It sounds like your wife is a dedicated band and choir director. She would be rewarded for her hard work and dedication. Government workers would get pay increases based on their job performance, again I do not see that as a negative factor.
            Although I was not trying to attack teachers, I see that is how I came across in my prior post.
            My son had a teacher who was awful. Many parents complained through out the school year but with nothing being done about her. Apparently having “tenure” secures her position as an elementary teacher, in spite of her many complaints. I looked up her salary online and she makes OVER $75,000 a year.

          • Macguffin

            One bad teacher does not equate to all teachers are bad. Simply because there is the occasional instance of waste does not warrant the firebombing of the benefits of the vast majority that are either performing their duties or exceeding expectations. After working in retail for nearly fourteen years and seeing the hell that the average employee is put through, combined with the stress of losing their mediocre job, while being told that they should be thankful for their low pay and inflexible schedules that negate any real possibility of maintaining meaningful family connections, the idea of imposing similar practices on our educators is, without a doubt, obscene and immoral.

            The idea that everything is a race or competition is ludicrous. Education, real education, takes patience and time. Grinding not only our teachers, but our children through an insensitive system that embodies a “race to the bottom” mentality is going to cause hell in the future. Even if some of the proposed changes are needed or acceptable they are packed in so tightly with some horrific changes that no real consideration should be given to passing this measure.

  • Cpr1uwp

    The main goal of this bill seems to be weakening unions in order to drive down wages, benefits, etc. and enable the rich to get richer, which includes management and politicians. At the same time, more potential public employees, such as teachers, fire fighters, law enforcement personnel, to name a few, will be less willing to work for less money, respect, and secure futures than are available in the private sector.

  • Phadhoooo

    I am first inclined to say that the teacher and local city employee unions have bargained their way into a very comfortable place while they continue to whine about their pay and benefits being too low. In my local community, they make more, have better houses, drive huge automobiles (gas guzzlers) and are afforded a clout that should be earned on an individual basis. All the while assuming a superior posture to other community members. I am tired of hearing their whining while the rest of us don’t even have health insurance.
    I am glad to see some factual account of the Issue 2/SB5 discussion as I have had dificulty being sure I understand. Please continue this dialogue.

    • dfjudd

      I agree with the assessment, which is true in my community, that the teachers but more so the local administrators benefit and convey the superior posture. I am also frustrated by the poor performance of my city schools, experienced and ineffective teachers, and internal politics in my community. But, this SB, Issue 2 will not fix these things adequately, while in my view make things worse for the community and school system for those good teachers and very neglected students. I have a retirement but am not “required” to contribute to it, I can choose to. I am not in a union but big business and power broker politics seem to need the union to be accountable.

  • Michelle W.

    Anyone who’s ever had a “bully boss” can see how these provisions make it easier for employers to beat down employees. It’s like having an abusive parent.
    While many people in the private and corporate sectors work under tremendous pressure and stress every day just wondering how much longer they will have a job, much less ever get a raise, that doesn’t make it right or correct. Teaching juveniles who have relatively no consequences for their actions is a huge stress in itself, much less wondering if one will ever get a raise or be re-hired, etc.
    We as a middle class must work together to hold BOTH governments AND corporations accountable for fair and equitable treatment of employees who are daily on the “front lines” of building this country.
    We mustn’t lower the standards of fair treatment for entry level persons, but rather raise it to set a higher standard for all.

  • Cicelygcarroll

    I honestly had no idea on this issue or which way to vote, I was tired of watching the back and forth so I decided to do some research and I am glad that I did. I think Issue 2 is deplorable, how is it ok for the government to even think that this is ok??? I mean what the heck? I am no public employee but if my boss were to come in and say that some outsider gets to reduce our benefits to the point of non exsistance in order to save money that would benefit all, but didn’t look into other areas that could take a loss (likes lets just say the christmas light display that costs hundreds of thousands each year at Nationwide) but we had to, and I had a vote to make sure that we didn’t get bullied like that, I would vote and vote NO and if they had a HELL NO option I would absolutely choose that!

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