Saturday, April 02, 2011

Jim N. Reed to Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: Education Profession Paying for Inattention

From Jim N. Reed, April 2, 2011

Inattention to the operations of our professional organizations, misunderstanding the power of the political arena, and succumbing to apathy and passivity have finally caught up with educators, active and retired.
How many dues-paying ORTA members are pleased with the "working behind the scenes" policy adopted by state leadership as they sit on their hands and refuse to actively denounce the cut in retirees' uncompounded COLA as proposed by our own STRS and OEA?
How many actives are pleased with our professional union's proposals to increase educator retirement contributions, years of service and age for full retirement, number of years for calculating FAS while decreasing earned benefits? Concurrently, OEA and STRS continue to maintain bonuses paid by our dues for our employees are necessary to keep the best and brightest even though these same six-figure administrators were monitoring nearly $40 billion lost by these same six-figure investors.
OEA has denounced proposals for balancing the unfunded liability of STRS as it adversely affects actives but has separated itself from the adversity aimed at retirees. Retirees have fewer options to deal with the loss of benefits. Retirees no longer pay dues unless they made the mistake of becoming life-timers. In some fashion our profession's organizations have fabricated a wedge between actives and retirees. STRS board elections and minutes are indicators.
The political agenda of our "throw-'em-under-the-bus," "union back-breaker" governor has put education in further jeopardy. Political apathy and misplaced ideology have painted education and educators into a corner. Along with other public servants we have become whipping boys and girls for the alleged state and national fiscal disaster. Though there remains some question as to the real purpose of union-busting, pitting public servants against the private sector, addressing a budget crisis and/or promoting a political power-grab, by the current administration there seems to be little doubt that apathy and misunderstood political policy supported the recent election of education-unfriendly officials. (There is at least one survey indicating more than half of Ohio's voting educators opted for this governor.)
Perhaps current events have stirred educators to actively participate in a crossroads of their profession and in the shaping of the society of our children and grandchildren.
Jim N. Reed
Baltimore, OH

Madison-Champaign ESC Superintendent Kaffenbarger, you are so right!

A perfect storm for veteran teachers
By Daniel Kaffenbarger, Contributing Writer
Springfield News-Sun, April 2, 2011
The upcoming budget, proposed changes in the retirement system and the passage of Senate Bill 5 create a perfect storm for veteran teachers.
It wasn’t too long ago in this state when the term “veteran teacher” was a distinctive title. It had an aura about it, one that indicated the teacher was an exceptional practitioner. They possessed a rich skill set that allowed them to engage the most challenging students and they could inform the practice of novice teachers. These were the teachers that were considered assets to school districts. They provided exceptional leadership in buildings and created stability in an educational landscape that was constantly shifting. Because of a variety of issues in the state — primarily driven by finances — being a “veteran teacher” in a district might become a liability. There is an old saying “when the water hole begins to dry up the animals standing around it start to look at each other in a completely different way.”
Think of the Ohio budget as the water hole ... drying up. As a result veteran teachers are looked at as expensive liabilities. Consider Senate Bill 5 as a starting point. While many things about collective bargaining needed retooled, this new law over-reaches what needed changed. “Seniority” is no longer a barrier that needs to be considered when considering a reduction in force. As a cost saving measure veteran teachers can be eliminated in favor of younger-less expensive teachers. Merit pay becomes the new “coin of the realm” versus years of service and education. Although there are few reliable models of merit pay in education in the entire nation, it has been adopted into law. The incentive for many competent (detractors please see that I used the term competent) veteran educators is that their years of experience and level of education enhanced their professional practice. That in turn was rewarded by periodic increases throughout their career.
Step increases will be replaced by an untested and unproven method of performance evaluation by 2013-2014. The determination of financial well-being will be left up to building principals or central office staff. With the tightening budget, superintendents and treasurers could consider saving more money by eliminating staff members at the top of the pay scale.
This unscrupulous practice has been used for years in business as a means of improving the bottom line. It devalues the contributions that veteran teachers have made to the system. It places monetary concerns over the positive impacts experienced teachers have on the lives of students.
It makes a terrible assumption that you if you are a veteran teacher you are no longer able to contribute anything meaningful to the educational experience of students.
If the SB 5 and the budget woes weren’t enough, consider the recent proposed changes in the teacher retirement system. These changes increase the number of years a teacher must work before retiring and it increases the minimum retirement age. Just at the time when getting rid of veteran teachers could become the new way for districts to save money, teachers will no longer be able to draw full retirement.
Despite this “Perfect Storm,” experienced teachers cannot be considered liabilities. Their skills, experience and dedication to the lives of children is something districts and communities should celebrate.
While most superintendents I know still value their “veterans,” I hope they don’t succumb to the economic pressure of “the here now” that they make staffing mistakes that will negatively impact the education of the children in their districts.
Daniel Kaffenbarger is the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center superintendent.

Nancy and Albert Hamant to Representative Maag: Vote NO on SB 5 and HB 102

From Nancy and Albert Hamant, April 1, 2011
Subj: Re: Vote NO on SB 5 and HB 102: Focus on Creating Jobs, Not Attacking the Middle Class
Representative Maag:
We are appalled by your vote to pass SB 5.
Republicans have been the majority for the Ohio Senate for 21 consecutive years. Republicans were the majority in the Ohio House of Representatives for 16 years and are now once again the majority in the Ohio House. During those years of being the majority for both the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House, there were two Republican Governors,George Voinovich and Robert Taft. There was a Democratic Governor, Strickland, for the previous four years as well as a 9 person majority of Democratics in the Ohio House.
Based on the above facts, which party was in charge and responsible while Ohio middle class jobs were shipped over seas? Which party has been in charge and is responsible for the escalating costs for health care, prescriptions and insurance while reducing regulations and guaranteeing unbelievable profits to private health care providers? Which party did nothing to protect Ohioans from the collapse of the banking industry, wall street misdoings, and mortgage brokers while permitting unbelievable profits and bonuses to CEOs, CFOs, and COOs, while doing nothing to protect the Ohio middle class let alone those poor folks who have lost their houses.
Which party is stripping funding from Ohio's budget for children, elderly and those out of work? Which party chose not to fix Ohio's school funding problems? Which party is providing tax incentives to businesses and not holding them accountable for creating new jobs in Ohio, not regulating what they do with our tax money, and not expecting these businesses to pay back the money that Ohio citizens loaned to them when they default on their contracts and promises
Which party has the gall to pass SB 5 and then tell us it going to help Ohioans and provide jobs. You must not read the newspaper, or listen to the daily listings of workers who are being laid off as a result of the legislation you are enacting.
You tell which party is responsible for Ohio's mess. You prove to us how SB 5, and Kasich's proposed budget is helping the Ohio middle class. Tell us how many jobs are developed. Tell us how Ohioans are better off. And do it now, not tomorrow when Ohio is so devastated there is no digging out of the hole. And we want to see facts and figures not "philosophic reasons" as Shannon Jones stated.
November 2011 cannot come soon enough,
Nancy B. Hamant and Albert W. Hamant
Maineville, OH
From Representative Ron Maag, April 1, 2011
Thank You,
As your State Representative, I take my responsibility to represent the 35th House District very seriously. Your input is valuable and always welcome. After much deliberation and consideration of the opinions of my constituents, I cast my vote on the House floor in favor of Senate Bill 5. I believe this bill is necessary to restore fairness to taxpayers and will help prevent massive layoffs of dedicated public servants during these difficult economic times. This legislation specifically restores Ohioans’ influence over the government and its workers that the taxpayer pays to employ.
Senate Bill 5 wholly reinvents the relationship between public-sector unions, local governments and the taxpayers. With many local governments threatened by bankruptcy and unable to control their costs, many communities may suffer massive tax increases or widespread layoffs just to keep public services solvent. Senate Bill 5 aims to save these vital jobs while also lowering the tax burden on the middle class.
Among House modifications to S.B. 5 are provisions that allow collective bargaining for safety equipment, permit communications between bargaining parties, clarify that death benefit amounts for spouses are not affected by changes in the bill, and eliminate jail time as a possible penalty for striking.
The House version also removes the use of ticket quotas to determine performance-based pay for law enforcement officials, eliminates automatic union deductions without written consent, and prohibits “fair share” fee penalties as a requirement to be a non-union member within an organization. Additionally, under certain conditions, labor disputes may be settled by voters at the ballot, with last best offers of each bargaining party considered and resolved by Ohio’s taxpayers.
To specifically advance the quality of education in Ohio’s classrooms and reward teachers, S.B. 5 establishes standard state guidelines to determine educators’ compensation and other terms of employment. While 50 percent of educator evaluations must be based on student performance as developed by the Ohio Department of Education, local school boards have the authority to establish objective measures related to quality of instructional practice, communication and professionalism, parent/student satisfaction, and other relevant factors.
As passed, Senate Bill 5 is expected to save local governments more than $1 billion while ensuring that public employees can still collectively bargain under a better system with negotiations, mediation and fairness.
I would like to thank you for your letter regarding this issue. It is an honor to serve as your State Representative. I sincerely appreciate your feedback about the issues that are facing the state of Ohio, and I encourage you to continue contacting my office with any questions or concerns.
Ron Maag State Representative, District 35
Albert Hamant to Representative Ron Maag, March 30, 2011
Subject: Vote NO on SB 5 and HB 102: Focus on Creating Jobs, Not Attacking the Middle Class
I am writing to ask you to oppose Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 102. These measures are an attack on Ohio’s middle class and does nothing to create good jobs for Ohioans.
Ohio voters sent a clear message to you and other lawmakers in November: focus on creating good jobs. Unfortunately, SB 5 and HD 102 do nothing to address our jobs crisis. These bills are an unneeded distraction from the balanced approach we must have in order to deal with our economic crisis.
There are over 500,000 Ohioans currently looking for work across the state. These workers need the Ohio General Assembly to take the lead and bring workers, businesses leaders and community groups together to solve the huge problems facing Ohio. They need balanced solutions to not only create good jobs but raising the bar for all workers to revitalize our middle class.
These bills not only miss the mark on job creation but are bad for taxpayers and public service workers who keep our communities safe. SB 5 would put essential services at risk of reductions in quality and endanger the lives of firefighters, police officers and other public service workers who put their lives on line everyday. HD 102 actually encourages the use of out-of-state labor when we can provide those jobs right here in Ohio.
I am also concerned by the way SB 5 was pushed so rapidly through the Senate without the needed consultation of Ohioans. Political games were played with the hearing process which silenced the voice of thousands of opponents of the bill. Middle class Ohioans were literally locked out of the Statehouse. Republicans Senators were even removed from their seat on the Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee in order to get the bill passed.
I recognize the tough decisions facing you and other lawmakers but taking away the voice on the job for firefighters, police officers, nurses, bus drivers, sanitation workers and other hard-working public service workers will not help to create jobs, will hurt taxpayers and put our services at risk. Please oppose these bills and ask your fellow colleagues to do the same.
Albert W. Hamant
Maineville, OH

CORE to meet April 14, 2011

From CORE, April 1, 2011
CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators) will hold its April meeting on Thursday, April 14th, at the STRS building at 275 East Broad Street in Columbus. Parking is free in the STRS parking garage located behind the building. We encourage you to also attend the STRS Retirement Board meeting on the same day which usually begins around 9:00 in the meeting room on the 6th floor but this time varies from month to month. Lately the STRS meetings have been held most of the day on the following Friday as well as Thursday. For this reason, we suggest you check the STRS website ( to confirm the time.
Please remember that CORE meeting attendees usually leave the STRS meeting around 11:30 in order to go to the cafeteria on the 2nd floor to get our lunches. We then take our lunches to the small cafeteria room behind the Sublett Room on the 2nd floor where the CORE meeting begins promptly at 11:45.
An agenda for this April CORE meeting will be sent to everyone before the April 14th meeting. If you have additional suggestions for the April CORE meeting agenda, please send them to John Curry at curryjo@watchtv,net.

Shirley Zerkel writes to Ohio politicians

To Kevin DeWine, April 2, 2011
Dear Mr. DeWine:
Please don't ask me again to send you money to support YOUR views about SB5. Because of the passage of that bill, I stand to lose as do all of the public workers and their families in this state. If I were young, just out of college, and looking for work, it would not be in Ohio.
Sorry to have been a Republican,
Shirlee Zerkel
CORE member
To Governor Kasich, March 31, 2011
Dear Gov. Kasich:
I will not send you any money so that you can continue to cut my income. I did believe in you at one time, but I do not now believe that you are good for the state of Ohio and ALL of its taxpayers. I am a taxpayer too even though you may not think so. I retired almost 10 years ago with only my public pension from the state of Ohio. I am not entitled to any Social Security because I was a public employee. Your signing of this SB5 will affect in a negative manner every retired public worker and most of us have no other income. Other bills being discussed will further lower the income of both the current and retired public workers of Ohio. Your signing of SB5 will cause many people to lose their jobs before their career is finished. Also if I were a young person just out of college, I certainly would not look for a position in the state of Ohio. It has been said by your administration that public workers make more than those in the private sector but have you really compared apples to apples and considered the amount of education needed for some of the public jobs, the hours given if the employee is dedicated to his/her career, and the danger that some of these public workers are in when they do their jobs? If you would do that I am sure that you would find that public workers should be given a 3.5% wage increase and retirees should not be experiencing loss of benefits. As of my Feb. check, my actual income sent to me is less than it was in 2007.
Shirlee Zerkel
Lima, Ohio

Friday, April 01, 2011

Referendum info

SB 5 Referendum Facts:

231,149 - Signatures needed to place a referendum of the law on the ballot.

1,000 - Number of signatures needed for petition language to be approved by the Attorney General and Secretary of State, before additional petitions can be circulated.

44 - Minimum number of different counties where the petition signatures need to be collected.

April 6, 2011 - Last day for the law to be passed and filed with the Secretary of State in order to be placed on the Nov 2011 ballot, rather than the Nov 2012 ballot.

July 5, 2011 - Final date for signatures if SB 5 is signed and filed with the Secretary of State by April 6. (We will have 90 days to collect signatures.)

July 26, 2011 - Final day by which the Secretary of State must determine if there are enough valid signatures to place the referendum on the ballot.

91 - If no referendum petition is filed, SB 5 goes into effect 91 days after it was signed and filed with the SOS. If a referendum is filed, the law does not go into effect until and unless Ohioans vote to allow the bill to become law.

5 - Number of members on the Ohio Ballot Board who determine ballot language once the referendum petition is accepted. The Board includes the SOS, one R and one D from the House, one R and one D from the Senate.

Ohio Referendum Procedure And Laws:

1) Create Petitioners Committee

Petitioners must designate a committee of three to five individuals to represent them in all matters relating to the petition.

Ohio Revised Code Section: 3519.02

2) File Initial Petition with Ohio Attorney General and Secretary of State

An initial written petition, signed by 1,000 Ohio registered voters, must be submitted to the Secretary of State with the full text and summary of the law or section of the law to be referred.

Within ten (10) days of receiving the petition, the Secretary of State shall verify the number of valid signatures and compare the full text of the law or section of the law with the law on file with her office. If the petition text is correct, the Secretary of State shall certify.

On the same day or within one business day before or after the petitions is filed with the Secretary of State, a copy of the petition with the full text and summary of the law or section of the law must be filed with the Attorney General.

Within ten (10) days of receiving the petition, the Attorney General will certify if he or she believes the summary to be a fair and truthful statement of the law or section of law to be referred. If the Attorney General certifies the summary, petitioners can move on to the next step. If the Attorney General does not certify the summary, petitioners may start this process over.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1c
Ohio Revised Code Sections: 3501.05; 3519.01; 3519.05;

3) Create Petitions & Gather Signatures

In order to begin gathering signatures, the petitioners must create a petition. It may be made up of part-petitions, but all separate part-petitions shall be submitted at one time as one instrument.

Each part-petition shall have the following heading: "To be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection." This heading must be followed by a copy of the title and full text of the law or section of law to be referred.

If any individuals gathering the signatures will be paid, each individual must fill out and file Form 15 with the Secretary of State prior to circulating any petitions.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1g
Ohio Revised Code Sections: 3501.38; 3501.381; 3501.382; 3503.06; 3519.05; 3519.01

4) Signature Requirements

The total number of signatures on the petitions must equal at least six percent (6%) of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. The Secretary of State may not accept any petition for filing which does not appear to contain the minimum number of required signatures.

The signatures must have been obtained from at least 44 of the 88 counties in Ohio. From each of these 44 counties, there must be signatures equal to at least three percent (3%) of the total vote cast for the office of governor in that county at the last gubernatorial election.

Each petition-signer must be a qualified elector of the state of Ohio and each petition must contain signatures of electors from only one county. If a petition contains signatures from electors in more than one county, the Secretary of State will determine which county has the majority of signatures and only the signatures from that county will be counted.

Ohio Constitution:
Article II, Section 1c;
Article II, Section 1g
Ohio Revised Code Section: 3519.14; 3519.10

5) Filing Deadline and Filing Fee

The petitions must be filed with the Secretary of State within ninety (90) days after the law or section of law to be referred has been filed with the Secretary of State by the Governor.

Any referendum petition filed after 125 days before the next election will be placed on the ballot at the regular or general election that occurs over a year later.

A twenty-five dollar ($25) filing fee must be paid at the time of filing.

Petitions may not be withdrawn once they are filed with the Secretary of State.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1c; Article II, Section 1g
Ohio Revised Code Sections: 3513.10; 3501.05

6) Ohio General Assembly

If the petition is found to be valid, the law or section of law will not go into effect until and unless it is approved by a majority of the voters at the first regular or general election which occurs at least 125 days after the petition is filed.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1c; Article II, Section 1g

7) Signature Verification and Supplemental Petition

The Secretary of State shall determine the sufficiency of the signatures not later than one hundred five (105) days before the election.

If the signatures are determined to be insufficient, ten additional days shall be allowed for the filing of additional signatures to such petition.

If additional signatures are filed, the Secretary of State shall determine the sufficiency of those additional signatures not later than sixty-five (65) days before the election.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1g

8) Signature or Petition Challenges

The Ohio Supreme Court has original, exclusive jurisdiction over any and all challenges made to petitions or individual signatures.

Any challenge to original petitions or signatures must be filed not later than ninety-five (95) days before the election. The Supreme Court will rule on these challenges not later than eighty-five (85) days before the election. If the court does not rule prior to the 85th day before the election, the original signatures will be deemed sufficient.

Any challenge to additional or supplemental signatures must be filed not later than fifty-five (55) days before the election. The Supreme Court will rule on any challenges not later than forty-five (45) days before the election. If the court does not rule prior to the 45th day before the election, those additional signatures will be deemed sufficient and referendum will then go to the Ohio Ballot Board who will meet to determine the ballot language and arguments for or against the referendum.

If the court determines that the petitioners do not have enough signatures the petition, the referendum will not move forward and will not be placed on the ballot.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1g

9) Ballot Arguments

The committee named on the petition may prepare and file an argument and/or explanation in favor of the proposed referendum not later than the eightieth (80) day before the election.

If the committee fails to prepare or timely file the argument and/or explanation, the Secretary of State shall notify the Ohio Ballot Board. The Ohio Ballot Board shall prepare or designate a group to prepare the argument and/or explanation. The argument and/or explanation must be filed with the Secretary of State not later than seventy-five (75) days before the election.

The argument and/or explanation in favor of the law or section of law being referred is prepared by persons named by the General Assembly, if in session, or if not in session, by the Governor. The argument and/or explanation must be filed with the Secretary of State not later than eighty (80) days before the election.

The argument and/or explanation may not exceed 300 words. Once ballot language is determined, it is advertised statewide and voted on my all eligible Ohio voters.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1g; Article XVI, Section 1
Ohio Revised Code Section: 3519.03

10) Effective Date

The General Assembly's law does not go into effect until it has been submitted to and passed by the voters. Therefore, if a majority of voters approves the law, it will go into effect on the regular or general election day.

Ohio Constitution: Article II, Section 1c

CORE to meet April 14
Details here.

STRS Board to meet April 13-14

Details here

The Anti-Middle Cass of '11

Remember to forget these Representatives who voted against YOU and YOUR WALLET the next time you go to the ballot box!
(Click image twice to enlarge.)

Well said, Sue!

From John Curry, March 30, 2011

"Want more irony? Rhee used those dubious scores to fire hundreds of veteran teachers. Now, she’s using her dubious record to launch a national campaign against teachers. Worse still, Kasich and other governors have even sought her advice on how to reform schools."

Film offers false hope that charter schools will fix education
Columbus Dispatch, March 30, 2011
Waiting for Superman is making the rounds again. The film — a moving documentary about five families trying to get their kids into charter schools — was released to great fanfare and criticism last year. It’s getting a special showing tonight in Columbus, with Gov. John Kasich playing host to state lawmakers. I can’t help but be struck by a few ironies about the timing.

The first is that the governor and legislative leaders are in the midst of pushing a budget proposal that would cripple teaching and learning in this state. Far from preparing our children for a 21st-century education, the Kasich plan reads more like a plan for undermining the future of our kids and our nation.

It would cut school funding by $1.3 billion over the next two years. It would expand a costly and scandal-ridden charter-school program. It would gut Ohio’s 27-year-old collective-bargaining law, silencing the voices of those who work most closely with children. It’s a proposal that’s bad for kids and bad for Ohio.

Joseph Regano, a superintendent from Solon, a suburb of Cleveland, put it best. “I'm angry,” Regano told The Plain Dealer last week. “We're one of Ohio's top-performing districts. We've played by the rules from each governor and department of education. And now they're going to decimate this district.”

The second irony is that Waiting for Superman stars former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. Just this week, Rhee’s record came under scrutiny. On Monday, USA Today reported that D.C. student test-score gains during her tenure, which she promotes, were probably tainted by widespread cheating. In fact, the newspaper’s analysis found suspicious patterns of erasures on standardized tests at half of the city’s schools.

Want more irony? Rhee used those dubious scores to fire hundreds of veteran teachers. Now, she’s using her dubious record to launch a national campaign against teachers. Worse still, Kasich and other governors have even sought her advice on how to reform schools.

The teacher part of me hopes we learn that the path to education reform is built on trust, respect and collaboration. It is a path where we use research-tested ideas rather than fads and quick fixes. It is a path where we use test scores as a tool rather than a weapon. It is a path where we do things with teachers, rather than to teachers. And it’s path where teachers are valued rather than demonized.

Unfortunately, Waiting for Superman, like Kasich’s budget and Rhee’s record, offers a false promise. It offers charter schools as the only ticket to a good education for disadvantaged kids. We in Ohio know better. While a few charter schools serving a handful of students succeed, the vast majority of charters perform about as well as, or even worse than, comparable regular public schools. As our public schools struggle to make ends meet, Ohio’s charter-school law funnels millions of dollars into the bank accounts of private operators.

Most shamefully, the film casts public-school teachers as villains. Kasich and Rhee also don’t miss an opportunity to demonize teachers. In doing so, they ignore that in thousands of successful public schools, great teachers are making a difference every day in the lives of kids. But you wouldn’t know that by this deceptive, one-sided film, which purposely left out any portrayal of a high-performing public school.

They ignore districts like Georgetown, where our local affiliate is leading the way with other rural schools districts to provide high-quality professional development and support for innovation. They ignore districts like Toledo, where the Peer Assistance and Review program is a national model for labor-management innovation and collaboration. And they ignore districts like Cincinnati, where a long history of collaboration with teachers has resulted in the district becoming the first urban school system in Ohio to achieve “effective” status on state report cards.

Like Waiting for Superman, Kasich and Rhee have one story to tell. Unfortunately, it’s inconsistent, inaccurate and incomplete, and it leaves out the story about what public-school teachers and schools are doing — in collaboration with willing school administrators — to improve teaching and learning.

Sue Taylor is president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


1. Got that personal day off that you previously negotiated and applied for last week down at city hall,
2. Got that truck all ready for a trip to the friendly local Tea Party rally that you helped plan,
3. finally take the time to read the entire Senate Bill 5 as amended and passed by the Ohio House and signed by the Governor,
4. finally understand what you read:
Question of the Day:
Why is it that ORTA can't take a stand on SB 5 yet they can take a stand FOR reducing our COLA from 3% to 2%?

What can be done about SB 5? This advice is from a lawyer!

by ModernEsquire on March 31, 2011
The second King John finishes signing his name to SB 5 starts the time in which we can begin to work to repeal it. However, I ask from you for some patience. Right now, there is effort to get all the stakeholders unified into one cohesive group… that’s not an easy task. We don’t want six separate referendum efforts going on. So right now, the labor unions, activists, and the Ohio Democratic Party are all working out their respective roles. There is a cornucopia of interested parties, all of which have differing opinions and

Second, before there can be a referendum the stakeholders have to work out what the language will be of the referendum. Will it be a total repeal, or will they let some provisions stand? We don’t know yet.

Then, they need to grow a bank of volunteers who are ready to hit the streets to get nearly a quarter of a million signatures in a few months time. It’s no easy task.

So what can you do in the meantime:

  1. Keep April 9th open on your calendars (just trust me on this one.)
  2. Sign up now to help the referendum effort. I’m aware of two places doing a sign-up already: the SEIU and the Ohio Democratic Party. Take your pick.
  3. Remember what I said about patience and wait.
  4. Hit the streets when you’re giving the petition to circulate.
  5. And keep coming to this site for more information.

Are you ready?

Getting the bill to Kasich’s desk was supposed to be the easy part. We almost stopped it, despite all the political advantages in Kasich’s favor. Now, it’s our turn.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So...who were the 53 Representatives who voted FOR Senate Bill 5 to Pass and be sent to the Governor for his signature?



The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 53, nays 44, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative (for SB 5 approval) were: Representatives

(these are ALL Republicans!)

Adams J. Adams R. Amstutz Anielski

Baker Balderson Beck Blair

Blessing Boose Brenner Bubp

Buchy Burke Butler Coley

Combs Derickson Dovilla Duffey

Gonzales Goodwin Grossman Hackett

Hagan, C. Hall Hayes Henne

Hollington Hottinger Huffman Landis

Maag Martin McClain McKenney

Mecklenborg Newbold Peterson Roegner

Rosenberger Ruhl Schuring Sears

Slaby Sprague Stautberg Stebelton

Thompson Uecker Wachtmann Young


Here is a list of the Representatives who voted "against" Senate Bill 5...we should send them a letter of thanks for standing by Ohio's public servants.

Those who voted in the negative were: Representatives

Antonio Ashford Barnes Budish

Carey Carney Celeste Clyde

DeGeeter Driehaus Fedor Fende

Foley Gardner Garland Gentile

Gerberry Goyal Hagan, R. Heard

Johnson Kozlowski Letson Luckie

Lundy Mallory McGregor Milkovich

Murray O'Brien Okey Patmon

Phillips Pillich Ramos Reece

Slesnick Stinziano Sykes Szollosi

Weddington Williams Winburn Yuko-44.

Thursday's (3/31/11) hearing on Pension Solvency canceled

From Dennis Leone, March 30, 2011
Just received a call from the office of Senator Seitz. The hearing on Senate Bill 3 (Pension Solvency) that was scheduled for tomorrow morning (3-31-11) has been canceled. I told Senator Seitz that I have commitment next Thursday (4-7-11) and cannot provide testimony on that day. Hopefully, I will be able to do so either on 4-14-11 or 4-21-11. I am getting the impression that there will not be much opportunity to address the Senate Committee on this bill. I think we will see a merger between Senate Bill 3 and an amended version of House Bill 69 that is coming out soon.
D. Leone

So, what were yesterday's changes to SB 5?

March 30, 2011

This bill is far more than just "budget items," isn't it?
Changes to collective-bargaining bill

House Republicans made a number of changes yesterday to Senate Bill 5, which would weaken collective-bargaining power for public workers. A House vote on the bill is expected today. Among the changes:

Reduces the threshold for what is necessary to decertify a union from a majority of workers to 30 percent.

Prohibits contracts from requiring that workers who do not want to join the union must pay "fair share" dues.

No longer allows an employer to do a payroll deduction for money the worker wants to give to the union's political-action committee.

Makes it less likely that a worker who strikes illegally would be subject to jail time.

Clarifies that safety forces, nurses and others can bargain for equipment. Staffing levels would be under management control.

Eliminates the bill's current prohibition against employees speaking to public officials during negotiations.

Specifies that traffic-ticket quotas cannot be part of merit reviews for law-enforcement officers.

Seeks to ensure the bill does not negatively impact death benefits for family members of those killed in the line of duty. Democrats say the bill does not go far enough.

Imposes new caps on the amount of unused vacation time that can be paid out.

Allows local governments to sidestep a contract vote to resolve an impasse. If no vote is taken, the employer's last offer is implemented.

Prohibits bargaining for items that restrict employers' ability to purchase products or services from educational service centers.

Requires the Department of Administrative Services to adopt a merit-pay system that applies to most public workers except teachers, whose evaluation will be developed by the Department of Education and local school boards.

No longer allows changes in supervisor compensation to be tied automatically to union contract changes.

Source: Legislative Service Commission

SB 5 Referendum by the numbers......

SB 5 Referendum Facts:
231,149 - Signatures needed to place a referendum of the law on the ballot.
1,000 - Number of signatures needed for petition language to be approved by the Attorney General and Secretary of State, before additional petitions can be circulated.
44 - Minimum number of different counties where the petition signatures need to be collected.
April 6, 2011 - Last day for the law to be passed and filed with the Secretary of State in order to be placed on the Nov 2011 ballot, rather than the Nov 2012 ballot.
July 5, 2011 - Final date for signatures if SB 5 is signed and filed with the Secretary of State by April 6. (We will have 90 days to collect signatures.)
July 26, 2011 - Final day by which the Secretary of State must determine if there are enough valid signatures to place the referendum on the ballot.
91 - If no referendum petition is filed, SB 5 goes into effect 91 days after it was signed and filed with the SOS. If a referendum is filed, the law does not go into effect until and unless Ohioans vote to allow the bill to become law.
5 - Number of members on the Ohio Ballot Board who determine ballot language once the referendum petition is accepted. The Board includes the SOS, one R and one D from the House, one R and one D from the Senate.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ann, where have you been hiding?

From John Curry, March 29, 2011
The OPBA (Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association) is composed of active and retired law enforcement officers. They have taken a stand against SB 5 and here it is for you to read. WHY WON'T ORTA TAKE A STAND for retired and active educators on this critical bill? The passage of SB 5 will have negative effects on the stability of Ohio STRS. Get your organization out from under the same rock and become vocal! Your membership will thank you for it....even the ones who don't have the slightest idea what is happening!
P.S. If someone asks you about this failure to take a stance, will you still tell them that "ORTA is working behind the scenes?" Come on, Ann!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Even in Chicago they talk about David (White Hat) Brennan and his Ohio charter schools network....and...

....will Mikey (DeWine) apply pressure to a guy who also donated to Mikey's campaign fund?
From John Curry, March 28, 2011
Note from John....fellow educators and retired educators, THIS IS A TRAVESTY!
Calls left with Brennan and attorneys who represented All Children Matter were not returned. Collection has been turned over to Attorney General Mike DeWine.
School choice expanding as record fine languishes
AP Statehouse Correspondent
March 28, 2011
A school choice group socked for violating Ohio election law has yet to pay a record-setting $5.2 million fine imposed three years ago.
The Ohio Elections Commission unanimously ruled in 2008 that All Children Matter, based in Michigan, illegally funneled $870,000 in contributions from its Virginia political action committee to its Ohio affiliate. That violated a $10,000 cap on what Ohio-based political-action committees could accept from any single entity.
Ohio charter school operator David Brennan donated $200,000 to the Virginia entity ahead of the transfer.
Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-siks) proposed budget continues to expand choice, doubling the number of school vouchers in the state and lifting a cap on community schools.
Calls left with Brennan and attorneys who represented All Children Matter were not returned. Collection has been turned over to Attorney General Mike DeWine.

RH Jones re: Don Gatchell's letter to Ann Hanning

From RH Jones, March 28, 2011
Subject: Fw: Don writes Ann a letter!
To Don Gatchell, Ann Hanning, and all:
In just talking to Dr. K. Fluke, 25-year Legislative Chair of the SummitCRTA, he did remind me that we are beholden to Wachtmann for the last Ad Hoc raise; and, that we would be in terrible financial shape without it. And we do thank him for that!
However, he and I both think that if ORTA had aggressively condemned the COLA cut all along the line at the various meetings where they were supposed to represent our best interests, our 3% would have been left intact. After all, we are annuitants and should be grandfathered from political attacks on our pension. Also, he said that ORTA is loosing membership over their official sanction of the 1% COLA cut, and many are very perturbed and disturbed over their silence and lack of backing of both retired and active teachers on SB 5.
Dr. Fluke read the ORTA newsletter with the names of those who had joined ORTA for life and found that none were from Summit County that he knew. I have mentioned before that ORTA should obligated to supply any legal representation if outcome of HB 69, HB 3 our when needed for any other legislation that is passed to take away our very modest annuitized pension, COLA, and HC/Rx. It is just not right to cut into retired teachers whom have not passed away just yet.
The majority GOP has counted on us being meek and are poised to take advantage of us, if we let them. The OEA-R should take note of this, also.
As one of Dr Fluke's Legislative CMTE, this is to the best of my recollection,
RHJones (proud to be a member of CORE)

Don Gatchell: Some questions for Ann Hanning

From Don Gatchell, March 28, 2011
Subject: HB#69
Ann Hanning
Executive Director, ORTA
Dear Ann:
Sorry I missed the last STRS meeting. I was preparing for my Spring job teaching courses at the local O.U. campus 2 days/week in case Gov. Kasich & friends scuttle our pension fund and put us into 401-K's or worse I will have some 'pin money'. After 42 years of teaching, I hope some day to be able to retire without worry!
Ann et al, I am worried that many interested active teachers, STRS retirees, CORE, ORTA, STRS, OEA, etc. have differing stands on HB#69. I really think Gov. Kasich loves that so he can push his agenda re: the 401-K and the "Kasich STRS Kontrol Plan" of eliminating our COLA, making active teacher contribute 2% more & boards of ed... 2% less which would bankrupt the STRS pension fund and eventually us. I feel strongly that all interested groups need to agree on a strategy to save our STRS pensions by putting our individual "wish lists" aside and focusing on support for the immediate passage of HB #69 even though it has flaws. I wish I knew more about not only the stands of the other education-related groups but also the stands pro or con of the other 4 Ohio public pension funds because I feel they need to suppor the bill as well.
Rep. Lynn Wachtmann is the sponsor of HB#69, is a member of the House sub-committee receiving testimony about the bill and is a member of the ORSC as we all are aware. Lynn has been in state government a long time by being elected to the House, then to the Senate, then to the House again. Because of his tenure in the General Assembly and respect from colleagues, he has great credibility with both the General Assembly and the Administration. I fear that if he and the sub-committee do not hear support for the bill with proponent testimony from all the interested parties I listed above, he may become upset enough to say "let's amend the bill to the Kasich Plan if you do not like what I created for you." When I write to Rep. Wachtmann, I refer to him as the savior of the STRS pension fund. (Okay, I do "pander" a wee bit.")
What is your opinion about my contention? Is there an effort to create "one voice" to support HB#69 instead of the plethora of differing opinions? What can local RTA members do to help the cause for passage of HB#69 besides checking the STRS Web Page for addresses of sub-committee members to write to? May any of us view the testimony in Columbus or do we need special permission?
Thanks for all you do to support retired educators,
Don Gatchell
Past President & Legislative Chair
Ross County Retired Teachers Association

Dennis Leone to address Senate Committee March 31

March 28, 2011

Dennis Leone will be addressing the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday, March 31, at 9:30 a.m.
Note: The two hearings for House Bill 69 originally scheduled for this week have been canceled. The final hearing on April 6 may also be canceled, since Representatives Wachtmann and Schuring are working on the amended version of House Bill 69.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Columbus teacher writes an interesting piece......

From John Curry, March 27, 2011

by Joseph on March 27, 2011

As Brian reported on Friday, SB5 is scheduled for amendments and a possible committee vote in the House on Tuesday. We don’t have a list of the proposed amendments yet – most likely there will be some kind of concessions to the police and fire unions and a reworking of the binding arbitration replacement proposed in the senate bill – but I can guarantee you this: teacher will still be getting screwed in this bill.

John Kasich promised “to break the backs of organized labor in the schools” during the campaign. And so far he’s doing his damnedest to keep that promise.

With a House vote right around the corner, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the opposition testimony to SB5.

Greg Mild, the educator from Columbus whose writing I reprinted last week, agreed to rework some of his very informative (and very long) testimony specifically for Plunderbund and I’ve included a section of it below. His full testimony is available here [to Facebook users] and is definitely worth reading.

Thanks to Senate Bill 5, House Bill 69, and the Governor’s proposed budget, Ohio’s public employees are experiencing a unique confluence of events will end in a significant decrease in take home pay and disposable income. I’ll detail a teacher’s situation (my own), though all public employees will experience their own version of this scenario.

As I talk about dollar amounts, I’ll use them as they presently exist — I’m not going to include changes in tax rates or any projected increase in the overall cost of medical coverage.

To begin, I already contribute to health benefits and my employer has negotiated wisely, so the change in SB5 to me, the employee, covering 15% will result in a modest decrease of 1% of my take home pay. This is the explicit SB5 effect. Layer on the 3% increase coming via House Bill 69 in my STRS contributions, and my take home pay drops by a cumulative total of 4.4%. Finally, I wanted to factor in the rhetoric of reducing pay through this bill and the projections of a 15% cut in education funding at the state level. Since Columbus receives only 32% of its funding from the state, a 15% reduction equates to a 5% salary reduction.

The combined effect of these 3 simple changes result in a 9.3% decrease in my take home pay, my “disposable” income. To put some numbers on this, a person with annual take home pay of $30,000 will experience a decrease of $2,789 per year, or $232 per month. Annual take home of $40,000 means a loss of disposable income of $3,719 per year and $310 per month. Of course, if both a husband and a wife are in the public sector, these amounts will be doubled. What would you cut back on to the tune of $600 per month? I’ve had people tell me they are worried about keeping their homes with these numbers. And this would be considered a conservative estimate.

And when Senate Bill 5 cuts disposable income deep for public sector employees, it does nothing to increase income for other Ohioans. Senate Bill 5 does not decrease sales tax, state income tax or local property taxes. Public sector employees will be spending less in private businesses, so the reality is that Ohio’s private businesses will suffer, too. When consumer spending decreases, private business income decreases, resulting in a cycle of cuts in that sector, too, meaning that private sector workers will also experience even more layoffs and reductions to income.

The domino effects of these cuts are not partisan. We will see decreased donations to community organizations; churches can expect to experience a drop in contributions from parishioners and will be unable to maintain their present level of outreach and charity for those in need; their local benevolence ministries will suffer, as will the recipients.

And as the public sector workers begin to second jobs, their participation as volunteers in our communities will decline. Tutors, parishioners who help in food banks, scoutmasters, big brothers and sisters, science fairs, PTAs, marching bands, kids’ sporting events, organizers and fundraisers for schools — these are all valuable things that will suffer.

Receiving an award for Legislator of the Year doesn’t make a person an educator any more than an Educator of the Year award makes one an expert legislator.

Specialization exists in this world for a reason. This quote from the Technical Employment Services, Inc [Rep. Ron Young's business] website expresses it well. “If you have heart problems you look for a good physician specializing in cardiovascular medicine. If you have legal problems dealing with real estate issues you look for a good Title Dispute Attorney. If you need assistance to quickly recruit the best engineers available you look up a good engineering recruiting firm. The right firm can save you huge blocks of time.”

Writing legislation about education? Then consulting an educator would be a prudent idea.

Ohio is not prepared for this bill. If we think the use of education and experience are outdated compensation models, then we should be working together to research better ways to solve them instead of adopting a method that has been demonstrated to be ineffective.

I have an outstanding union president in Rhonda Johnson of the Columbus Education Association. Rhonda is not a thug. She works hard at maintaining the collaborative environment that exists in our district. Does my union agree with every decision the district makes? Of course not. And is the district always happy with the union? Probably not. The fact is, we won’t always agree on everything, but it is the relationships that make it work.

So instead of annihilating the relationship between management and unions, we should be embracing it. We should be recommending marriage counselors, not divorce attorneys. We should be providing more assistance to those involved in contentious negotiations, not less. And instead of rebuilding the walls between us, we should be tearing down what few walls exist.

I don’t want Ohio to be like Wisconsin where the entire state is being ripped apart over partisan politics. How long is it going to take them to restore any level of trust in one another? Passing Senate Bill 5 will irreparably divide Ohioans in the same way. So I say to ALL of the Ohio Legislature: If you are going to pass this bill as has been stated publicly, so be it. But let’s get it fixed in order to truthfully help local governments instead of leaving them drifting in the wind. I don’t support this bill, but know that I am 100% willing to assist in improving its inconsistencies and some of the unmanageable components. If you’re going to hang me, at least let me properly tie the noose.

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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