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Archive for February 27th, 2011

S.B.5 Would Have Saved $1.3 Billion in 2010: Yet the OEA says it’s teachers will suffer when the average teacher makes 55K?

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The picture here refers to a report from the Columbus Dispatch which cites that if S.B.5 had been enacted during 2010, the state would have saved 1.3 Billion dollars. That’s a massive figure!

Darryl Parks of 700 WLW talks about the savings S.B.5 would have saved, and addresses the hypocrites within the Tea Party Movement that are now complaining about some of the budget cuts they pushed for.

You can see the whole article for the Columbus Dispatch here.
http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/02/26/senate-bill-5-saves-1-3b-study-says.html?sid=101

Most of the savings are not a direct savings to the state, but an indirect cost imposed by “step increases” which is the primary reason I am supporting S.B.5. At Lakota, as I’ve stated many times, the average teacher makes over 62K . When you study the reason Lakota, Mason, Lebanon and all the other large Southern Ohio districts need a levy passed, it is because the districts have to live up to their rising costs imposed by the “step increases” required by state law. So when I asked the question, “why can’t Lakota live within their 160 million dollar budget? Why can’t Lakota cut salaries since they are obviously inflated, and leave busing alone, keep the sports, keep the electives, don’t lay off teachers?” The response was, “we can’t, because we are obligated by state law.”

Step increases are the hidden villain here. I calculated that if the teachers at Lakota took a 30% reduction, which is reasonable considering what they are making, it would save Lakota $29 million a year which would mean the district wouldn’t have to ask for more money in an operating levy.

I’ve written about this elsewhere and if you want to see the other article click the link. All businesses whether they are service oriented or manufacturing oriented have a responsibility to keep their costs in line. One way that businesses do that is to use the 10-80-10 rule as it’s applied to labor. That rule states that 10% of your workforce will be your typical “top” performers, and they will get the most dramatic increases, 4% to 15% depending on the situation. 80% of your workers are average, and will typically get a standard 2% to 3% increase, otherwise considered a “cost of living” increase. And of course every place of business has approximately 10% that are poor performers and they won’t get an increase of any kind. Why? Because those bottom 10% you want to look for another job, and you want them to leave so you don’t have to pay them. It gives you a chance to hire somebody that might want to compete for the top 10% percentile. If you manage things correctly, your bottom 10% are the kind of people who your competition is hiring at the middle 80%, and you want that so you can maintain a competitive edge.

That’s the reason the teachers are protesting. Because their union knows the scam that they’ve been playing against the tax payer is falling apart now that their cost to society has reached a breaking point. Their strategy all along was to continue to push for higher taxes to pay for their scam and they had full confidence based on their track record over the last two decades that they’d achieve that goal. Now, compare what you’ve learned here about step increases, and the imposed cost to the tax payer, and the amount of money teachers are making on average, and then look at Patricia Frost-Brooks, President of the OEA, comments in that same mentioned article from The Dispatch.

“If you lower the wages, and your health insurance goes up, then what does that do to a family? How is the family going to sustain their livelihood?” said Patricia Frost-Brooks, president of the Ohio Education Association.

What planet is she living on? Doesn’t she realize that her teachers are making A LOT more money than the average worker in Ohio? You can read more about Patricia’s view of the world at http://www.progressohio.org/blog/2010/09/lets-revitalize-ohio-not-go-backwards-by-ohio-education-association-president-patricia-frost-brooks.html Notice she doesn’t mention much about kids in that article. Only politics.

Patricia goes into great detail attempting to demean Governor Kasich before the election. The OEA is a lobby group in Columbus where Patricia Frost-Brooks is president of the Ohio Education Association, a statewide union representing 130,000 members in k-12 schools, public colleges and universities and education support professionals. So when you listen to what she says, consider that she has one primary job and that is to protect her members. And in her view, she if protecting her members by driving up their wages, paying them very well, so they will have the expendable income to give back some to her lobby group. It’s that simple.

She accuses Kasich of misleading. She makes that assumption based on her own actions, so she assumes that the rest of the world is playing the same game, and they aren’t. Patricia reveals much of herself in that Progress Ohio Article. She is against school reform, she is against reducing the salaries of teachers to help districts deal with their costs, and she genuinely believes that somehow education costs can continue to expand as they have forever. She is completely out of touch, and if she’s the leader of the union, and is one of the most “rational” minds, then what do the “rank and file” believe? Where do they think all the money comes from? Do they not have a basic understanding of economics?

But Tom Ash, director of governmental development for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, said school boards may not do away with all automatic pay increases.

“At milestones during their career, I think there should be step increases in an attempt to retain those people because you don’t want to lose them,” he said. “But the notion that you should do it every year, I don’t know that that’s necessary when you’re also providing an increase on the base salary.”

Mr. Ash is speaking my language. That’s the reality of the situation. For some teachers that are exceptional, I’ll use Lakota as an example, like Mr. Duff, who is a science teacher that I think is great, I don’t want to see him go anywhere. I’d be happy to tell the school board to throw money at a teacher like that. He should make 70 to 80K per year. But for every teacher like him, there are 4 or 5 that are just cruising through their careers, and they do not deserve to make more than 55K per year, no matter how much education they obtain for themselves.

You have to understand that this whole thing is a system. The OEA for years has lobbied to create legislation that creates incentives for teachers to obtain a master’s degree. For many teachers, obtaining a master’s degree is practical and necessary. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 52 percent of teachers hold a master’s degree or higher. Although some states require teachers to obtain master’s degrees, teachers often seek advanced degrees to increase their salaries and obtain new skills.

Read more: Requirements for a Master’s in Teaching | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6388286_requirements-master_s-teaching.html#ixzz1FA2fulvD

There is a reason Patricia and the OEA wants its teachers to have a master’s degree. That is because the OEA also represent teachers who work for universities and if every teacher working in Ohio continues their education and gets a master’s degree so they can qualify for the financial rewards of obtaining that degree then the money funneled into the colleges can help pay the salaries of the professors staffed at those institutions. It’s what the “working people” in know would call, “job security.” The OEA knows that their teachers at the K-12 level are likely to seek that higher degree if they can afford it with good wages to begin with, but the promise of even higher wages are at the end of that degree. Here are the tuition costs at Ohio State, as listed at their website.
Estimated Costs for U.S. Students

All costs are subject to change without notice. A complete list of quarterly tuition charges by program may be found at the Office of the Registrar’s website. http://gradadmissions.osu.edu/Costs.html

• $11,298 – tuition cost for a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, aslyee, or refugee and a legal resident of the State of Ohio;
• $28,746 – tuition cost for a US citizen, permanent resident, aslyee, or refugee whose residence is outside of Ohio;
• $13,980 – estimated annual expenses for room, board, insurance, books and supplies

The truth of the matter is it’s all about money. It’s always been about money, and it’s a game played at the tax payers’ expense and it has to stop.

Look at this ad from “Teacher World” which is a teacher recruiting website.

With an average teacher salary of $55,931,* teaching in Ohio is a great career choice. Whether you like bustling cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland or state capital Columbus, or prefer smaller towns or rural communities, Ohio has it all. Learn about teaching in Ohio on Teacher World.
http://www.teacher-world.com/statespages/Ohio.html

 

The OEA knows what it’s doing. It’s a shell game. They manage to obtain for their teachers above average wages so they can funnel some of that money into the higher education system. They also have to create the incentive for teachers to make more than enough money so they won’t suffer when they must pay their union dues, because the OEA needs that money to lobby elected officials and participate in the political system.

During this entire process, the OEA has managed to wrestle control away from school boards all over the state so that this financial balance cannot be upset by local communities not wanting to pay outrageous taxes. The school boards are brought into the shell game each November when they attend the OSBA, (Ohio School Board Association) event in Columbus.
http://www.ohioschoolboards.org/osba-capital-conference

 

Check out this video. This is how they sell it.

Once the school board members are taught what they can and can’t cover as board members, the implementations that are put in place by the OEA are safe from scrutiny. This is why the first and only thing school boards are allowed to deal with are the costs associated with direct operating expenditures, which only occupy under 20% of a school district budget. Notice how many times teachers and administrators mention in that video that the only hug a child gets in a day or hot meal they eat comes from the school system. It is ironic that they sell their service and the necessity for the massive amount of money flowing within it by creating the perception that they are the only chance kids have for success in life.

Yet, the message is effective, and the employees believe what they are told from leadership. One person that believed the message was Ryan Fahrenkempt who was teaching at Lakota last year before being forced to resign in August of 2010. As a Lakota educator, Fahrenkamp hosted a science day for students and was featured in a newspaper article about the shortage of male teachers in the elementary classroom.

He was quoted in the 2008 article while he was teaching sixth-grade at the former Shawnee Elementary School.
“I think that boys at this age need that male influence outside just the home,” he said. “In some cases, they don’t get that in the home,” Fahrenkamp said.
http://www.oxfordpress.com/news/crime/former-teacher-in-federal-court-on-child-porn-charges-1044534.html

Oh, he wasn’t the only one. Just one month later the Mason School System had this happen.

How did Stacy Schuler see herself and her role as a teacher? Schuler said she isn’t perfect and she knows of a healthier lifestyle than she is living now. “I used to wake up earlier to come in [to the school] and work out,” Schuler said. “But I just wasn’t getting enough sleep, and as much as I preach a healthy lifestyle, I would say I’m not a good example of a healthy lifestyle right now.”
http://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/who-is-stacy-schuler-reading-between-the-lines/

What do the parents think about this behavior?  Listen to a mom read a note from her son during the last school board meeting in Mason, Feb 22nd 2011.  Her son went to Mason several years ago, he graduated in 2007.  This proves that the recent news went on for quite some time.  The woman’s testimony is at approximately the 1/4 mark of the video.  George Coates named in this video was the AP who’s genitals were found on Stacy Schuler’s computer upon her arrest and was a direct supervisor to Ms. Schuler.

http://www.icrctv.net/mason-board-of-education-22211

And it’s happening all over the country. That video you saw from the OSBA, about how school is the only safe haven for many kids is completely misleading. Parents have to be more involved in their kids’ lives. Money will not make that issue go away, because we cannot trust our kids completely to school systems. There are a lot of good people who work within the system, but schools are not the utopia’s that the OSBA envisions and tries to sell to its members.

Click this link to visit a page that attempts to capture all the school scandals in the country. Just pick a city. http://www.schoolteachernews.com/scandal.html

Parents must be an important part of a kid’s life. Schools have sold themselves as an option while busy parents conduct their lives, and in the chaos, people like Patricia, of the OEA, and Governor Strickland, pandering to union money has manipulated tax payers into funding their personal social agendas. And the experiment has been a terrible, miserable failure. Not only is the per pupil spending in Ohio at 10k per student that money has done nothing to prepare children for the world marketplace. MTV is proving to be the stronger influence among young people, and kids get that information for free. The education reforms that Patricia fears so vehemently, like competition with school vouchers, and competitive salaries controlled by school boards, are coming because the OEA have been caught not doing what is right for the children and the communities that send their children to their care every day. Public school is a valuable asset, but is producing at a mediocre level. Not at the level that the wages being asked for dictate. The OEA has attempted to cover that fact with smoke and flashy imagery. But they are the failures behind the curtain. Remember the Wizard of Oz? Patricia is the one behind the curtain in this particular case.

What S.B.5 will do is it will save tax money indirectly, with anticipated increases that used to be mandated by the state will now be controlled at the local level, where tax payers can help the school board adjust their costs to the supplied budget. And it will take control away from the shell game that the OEA has been conducting for years.

That’s why S.B.5 is a great bill. And it’s also why the OEA is so steadfast against it. It’s all about control and manipulation. That’s what Kasich means when he says he wants to return “management control” to local communities. That’s how the economics of the state get balanced and why Ohio can be a model for how the United States as a country should function. We cannot allow a central authority driven by union manipulation to drive up the costs of education in our communities, like it is now. That central authority has to be removed as an influence because they are not elected by the tax payer, yet act as a government authority. The experiment has failed terribly, and it’s time to try a method that puts the responsibility on the local community, and allows competition to do its work of driving costs down, in this case up to 1.3 Billion just for the impact of S.B.5 alone, and make the best and brightest employees excel while the mediocre stay in a budget range that does not destroy the ability of the community to fund them.

The question is, will the communities of Ohio allow themselves to see through the smoke screens and do what is obviously right or will they choose to allow themselves to be scammed by a ruthless adversary. Only time will tell.

Rich Hoffman

http://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com

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