Check out this Montgomery County schools settlement with the teachers......
By Marilyn MConahay
For the Independent
A forum for Ohio educators, sharing thoughts regarding their health care and pension system (STRS Ohio). Researcher John Curry manages a clearinghouse of related e-mails, articles, announcements, etc. His daily mailings include many items that do not make it to this blog. Contact John (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to be on his e-mail list. Kathie Bracy: email@example.com.
So John Kasich threw a hissy. In fact, in order to try to bury any notion that Kasich was tied to school consolidation policies, Kasich continued to throw a hissy even after the election. Remember how Kasich demanded that the teachers’ unions take out a full-page apology ad for the “vicious smears" they told about him during the campaign? Well, that was mostly to do with the allegation that Kasich supported eliminating school districts through consolidation.
Here’s what the Plain Dealer reported Kasich’s response to allegations he supported school consolidation was before the election:
Kasich has denied that he told a group of education leaders in September that, if elected, he would pare down Ohio’s 613 public school districts by one-third, to about 400.
"John has never talked about consolidating schools. John has talked about sharing services," Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told the Toledo Blade on Wednesday.
Kasich, at a campaign stop later that day, noted it was Halloween season and accused the Strickland campaign of making things up to "scare people."
The campaign repeated on Friday that Kasich never made such a claim.
Except one problem. Four individuals produced by the Strickland campaign said that in September, Kasich addressed them at a meeting of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials and said:
"Congressman Kasich said he favored school consolidation as a way to reduce state spending," the statement reads. "Congressman Kasich’s claim that he does not support consolidation, just shared services, directly contradicts what we heard him say during the September meeting."
The statement was signed by Chris Mohr and Dolores Cramer, both past presidents of the OASBO, Cathy Johnson, South-Western City Schools board member, and Sharon Manson, Waverly City Schools board member.
The school officials said Kasich told them he was basing his plans on a Brookings Institution report that suggested consolidation as a means to trim costs.
But for the most part, the media dropped the story under the glaring heat of the election. It ended as a Kasich denies he supports consolidation even though four people who don’t seem to have an ax to grind claim he flat out told them otherwise. Interestingly enough, nobody else from that meeting was ever produced by the Kasich campaign to dispute the four members’ allegation, only Kasich denied it personally. But it pretty much ended as a he said/they said controversy.
Why am I bringing this up? Because during Kasich’s budget roll out to the media last week, the Akron Beach Journal reported the Governor made this comment in discussing his education funding plan in his budget:
”Do we really need six school districts in Hancock County?”
Kasich said he can only ”take so much on,” but he would like to have Democrats and Republicans do an analysis of local governments and possibly form a ”base-closing” type of commission. (emphasis added.)
Then yesterday, the Dispatch reported that Kasich’s education czar, Robert Sommers, testified to the House Finance Committee:
Sommers suggested that in a "blended learning environment" class sizes could go to a 50-to-1 ratio. "We have schools, both in the urban centers and in other settings, that have found how to get high-performance results, treat staff very well and do it for less than what we currently do."
50:1 student-to-teacher ratios! We should “thinking in terms of the creativity we already have in place across the country,” Sommers says. Then Kasich talks about there being too many school districts in Hancock County and how we need to have a “base closure” type commission on local governmental units, like, I dunno, school districts, perhaps?
Again before the campaign:
“John has never talked about consolidating schools.”
After the campaign:
“Do we really need six school districts in Hancock County?”- Gov. Kasich
Start clearing your Tuesday morning calendar now. The House Republicans just announced that they are scheduling SB 5 for amendments and a possible committee vote on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. in Room 114 of the Statehouse (the House Commerce and Labor Committee).
The Dispatch is reporting that a final product is not yet ready and that the Republicans will continue to work on the bill over the weekend, but they suspect that some of the changes will be liked by organized labor. Of course, they won’t even hint at what those changes might be.
I’ll be surprised, and frankly, a little disappointed if the House Commerce and Labor Committee actually votes on the bill on Tuesday. Even the Senate Committee gave members 24-hours to review the bill and to take some questions about the changes before holding a committee vote.
If they give it that kind of delay, I guess that means the Committee could approve it Wednesday morning vote with a House floor vote that afternoon. The Senate would probably not be able to hold its vote to confirm the House’s changes to the bill (avoiding sending the bill to a conference committee) by Thursday afternoon session. Kasich, if he keeps to his word, will hold a private bill signing “ceremony” to sign the bill into law. Then the referendum work can begin.
LIMA — When someone becomes a school administrator in Ohio, it is almost a given that the school board will pay the administrator's share of retirement contributions.
It's not even something negotiated, said area school and state education officials.
“It is 100 percent common. It is an accepted common practice across the state for administrators,” said Hollie Reedy, chief legal counsel for the Ohio School Boards Association. “It's been around for a long time. ... If someone doesn't get it, they are getting something else.”
The practice is getting some recent notice as schools struggle with financial issues and with the news surrounding Senate Bill 5. Along with curtailing rights of unions to engage in collective bargaining, the bill would take away employers' ability to pay employees' share of retirement contributions.
More discussion has revolved around Lima schools, which needs to reduce $3.8 million from its budget. The board spent $356,125 in fiscal year 2010 to pay the expected retirement contributions for 44 employees. It includes the district's top three administrators, anyone under an administrative contract and an executive secretary.
Board President C. Ann Miles said not paying it hasn't been discussed by the board, pointing to increases in health care costs all employees are dealing with. Allen County schools saw a 17.6 percent jump in insurance costs this year.
“It is not something we talked about. We were more concerned with the insurance hit,” said Miles, adding that the district has always paid the retirement.
Lima is not alone. Bluffton Superintendent Greg Denecker said it has always been part of the compensation package for school administrators.
“Instead of giving more salary, you did this instead,” he said, adding that it is expected. “If someone were to come here as a new principal, I think they would be expecting to get that benefit.”
The amount of the payment depends on where the employee is on the salary schedule, Denecker said. Bluffton administrators took a zero percent increase on their base pay this year. Lima administrators are doing the same.
Elida schools began the practice in the late 1990s after administrators had taken a wage freeze. The board added it as a way to catch up instead of adding to salaries, Treasurer Joel Parker said. The program was phased in. It currently costs the district $150,000.
A very few schools in the state have stopped doing it, including Coldwater schools in Mercer County. The district had also paid a small portion of teacher retirements but stopped both five years ago in an effort to be more transparent. It didn't save the district any money.
“There was a concern by the board that people did not know what the true salaries were,” Treasurer Sherry Shaffer said. “Now what they see is what we are getting. It is the same dollar amount, just all up front now.”
Even if Senate Bill 5 becomes law, Reedy doesn't expect districts to see great savings from the retirement pay piece. Administrators know what other schools pay and will expect their salaries to compare.
“Frankly, if a superintendent has received the pick up for five years of employment with the district, when he re-negotiates his contract and the board is no longer able to pay that, he is probably going to ask for that in some other way,” she said.
You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
From John Curry, March 24, 2011
"As we reported back in August John Kasich spent seven years ‘working’ for OSU. He was paid $50,000 a year and his assistant was paid $20,000 a year – and all he had to do was show up once a month and give a lecture."
"You heard that correctly. John Kasich and his long-time Chief-of-Staff Don Thibaut were paid MORE than the average OSU professor – and they worked fewer hours in the entire year than a professor works in a single week. "
According to a recent survey at the Ohio State University, faculty members work an average of 57 hours a week and, as we’ve reported before, full-time assistant professors at Ohio State had an average base salary of $64,410.86
Now here’s the part where you get to see what an obnoxious, self-centered and completely hypocritical human being our new Governor is:
As we reported back in August John Kasich spent seven years ‘working’ for OSU. He was paid $50,000 a year and his assistant was paid $20,000 a year – and all he had to do was show up once a month and give a lecture.
You heard that correctly. John Kasich and his long-time Chief-of-Staff Don Thibaut were paid MORE than the average OSU professor – and they worked fewer hours in the entire year than a professor works in a single week.
And in John Kasich’s mind professors at the same university are getting paid too much and working too little? College professors at public universities, to John Kasich, are nothing more than overeducated, lazy, mooching civil servants.
It’s crap like this that keep me wondering which is greater: John Kasich’s contempt for people who actually work for a living or his own exaggerated and undeserved sense of self-importance.
Anyways, the pensions have a requirement that they can pay off their obligations within thirty years. If not, they have to make adjustments to their contributions and/or benefits, which, after the battering the Lehman Brothers-inspired collapse on Wall Street has done, they all just did.
And now, Governor Kasich’s “Jobs” Budget shift of the pension contributions throws that out of whack. Why is that? Well, the Dispatch reported on Friday that the Administration hadn’t considered at all whether the change would impact the solvency of the pension funds. To them, they thought such a change would only impact how much the employee contributed to what the employer contributed. But the Dispatch explains why that doesn’t work:
That’s because when employees leave the government payroll before they are vested, they are entitled to receive their share of the pension payments but not the government’s share. Since the employees’ share would now be higher, the share that they would be withdrawing also would be higher.
Today, the Dispatch reports that the PERS, STRS, and Ohio Police & Fire Pension funds all project that Kasich’s budget change would put the pensions out of compliance with Ohio’s statutory requirement that they be able to pay their obligations within thirty years. Kasich’s budget change is particularly hard on police and firefighters because their contribution share will be the most affected by Kasich’s budget change as the budget change actually mandates that the employee share equals the employer share. Police and fire have the largest employer shares because the years of service in that field before retirement is drastically below other fields for obvious reasons.
This is what lead Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols to call the end of furloughs “a raise” on Friday. Kasich’s solution isn’t to rethink the budget proposal. According to the Friday’s Dispatch, it just means a new round of lower benefits while employees pay more. As far as the Kasich Administration is concerned, problem solved.
In other news, the Dispatch has this little buried nugget:
Shouldn’t a fiscally conservative budget render pension funds more solvent, not less?
And shouldn’t a “Jobs” Budget be predicted to create jobs, not cost 5,000?
John Kasich’s “Jobs” Budget “isn’t getting the jobs done.”
John Kasich and the Republicans in the legislature have decided to go to war with teachers on multiple fronts – all of which have the potential to seriously hurt our state’s education system and impact the quality of education our kids receive.
There is a good deal of analysis out there regarding the damage that Kasich and the legislature will be causing in the name of “reform” but some of the best I’ve read lately has come from Greg Mild, an educator from Columbus who has been fired up by the attacks on teachers and the education system as a whole.
Over the past few weeks Greg has posted his analysis as notes on Facebook and I urge everyone to check it out, especially if you are interested in how the new administration’s policies are going to impact education in Ohio.
Greg has graciously allowed me to reprint some of his analysis here at Plunderbund and I thought I’d start off with his comments on House Bill 21, one of many bills the GOP is trying to rush through the legislature while everyone is distracted by SB5. HB21 seeks to change the rules for certifying teachers to allow Teach for America participants to circumvent the existing teacher certification process and to automatically receive a resident educator license.
House Bill 21 lowers the quality of teaching for future children by lowering current standards for teacher preparation. Teach for America is touted as bringing the best and the brightest to the classroom, but we have always done so in Ohio through existing state law requiring universities to provide rigorous teacher preparation programs.
House Bill 21 would require the Ohio Department of Education to issue a Resident Educator license to all TFA participants.
A COMPARISON OF THE TFA PROGRAM VS> OHIO’S HIGHER STANDARDS
Teach for America:
Corps members teach summer school students for approximately two hours each day [five weeks long], under the supervision of experienced teachers. For the first hour, most corps members work directly with four to five students to build skills in math and literacy, to gain experience in facilitating group work. For the second hour, corps members lead a full class lesson, which builds skills in delivering lessons and managing a classroom.
Current Ohio Law:
A minimum of twelve weeks of full-time student teaching [7.5-hour days] and a minimum of one-hundred clock hours of field experiences prior to student teaching.
Ohio State University Secondary Math, Science Technology program:
M.Ed. students are placed for field experiences (observation, participation, internship) in schools in fall, winter, and spring quarters for increasingly richer experiences. These placements collectively provide 700 clock hours in the schools spread over 150 days (of the typical 180-day school calendar). The placements are in public middle and high schools in Franklin County with each student experiencing urban and suburban and middle and high school classrooms. STEM M.Ed. students have program classes in fall and winter quarter in the late-afternoon and early evening in addition to being in their schools each morning. Spring quarter is a twelve-week student teaching experience with students in the schools all-day every day. During that spring students complete the action research for their Capstone Project which is then completed that second summer.
Teach for America:
- Bachelor’s Degree
- 2.50 Minimum Cumulative GPA
- US Citizenship or National/Permanent Resident Status
- The online application consists of: Personal, academic, and/or professional information, Resume, Letter of intent
Ohio State University Secondary Math, Science Technology program:
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
- Minimum 3.0 overall GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in all previous undergraduate course work and a minimum 3.0 overall GPA in all previous graduate course work (may not be combined)
- Minimum 2.7 GPA in mathematics, science, or technology content courses. 80% of the content should be completed prior to admission. (Include a plan for completing content courses, that are not completed by the application deadline) A plan document is located online at http://ehe.osu.edu/edtl/
- Experiences working with adolescents in a learning situation
- Official scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within five years of application
- TOEFL score for international students, if required (minimum score 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 79 iBT)
- Statement of Intent: See “Application Checklist” for format and instructions, located online.
- Three letters of recommendation (four preferred), from persons acquainted with your academic performance, your experiences with adolescents, and your potential as a teacher. Include at least two letters from professors or instructors who have had you in class. Recommendations written on letterhead stationery should be attached to the Graduate School Reference Form.
- Resume listing academic accomplishments, paid or volunteer experiences working with adolescents, related extracurricular experiences, and honors or awards (limit two pages for fellowship)
- The M.Ed. is a competitive program. Meeting the minimum standards does not guarantee admission. Applicants who have completed most or all of the content courses will be given preference for admission. The admissions committee also considers diversity in the range of students related to gender, race/ethnicity, and life experience.
Teach for America:
Teach For America provides professional development to corps members throughout their two-year commitments to ensure that they are set up to succeed at helping their students achieve at high levels.
Current Ohio Law:
Ohio teacher residency program, which shall be a four-year, entry-level program for classroom teachers. The teacher residency program shall include at least the following components:
(1) Mentoring by teachers who hold a lead professional educator license issued under section 3319.22 of the Revised Code;
(2) Counseling to ensure that program participants receive needed professional development;
(3) Measures of appropriate progression through the program.
(B) The teacher residency program shall be aligned with the standards for teachers adopted by the state board of education under section 3319.61 of the Revised Code and best practices identified by the superintendent of public instruction.
Ohio Department of Education:
A four-year Resident Educator program of support and mentoring for new teachers will provide Ohio educators just entering the profession with quality mentoring and guidance essential for a long and flourishing career. Each Resident Educator will be mentored by another teacher (trained for this specific purpose) within the school district for the full four-year period and must successfully meet all of the criteria in order to qualify for a professional educator license.
At a time when education in Ohio is under intense scrutiny, why would we seek to LOWER the standards for becoming a teacher?