A teacher schools the Dispatch

When we read this article in the Dispatch by senior editor Joe Hallet, we were taken aback a little by how fawning it was, and how it seemd to suffer from quite a lot of selective amnesia. One Worthington school teacher thought so too, and forwarded to us his email to Mr. Hallet.


I read your column on Sunday and came across this line:

(Kasich) used Senate Bill 5 to take on public-employee unions, whose pay and benefit packages were growing unsustainable for taxpayers, in part because their local government and school officials had forgotten how to say no.

I don't think this is a fair characterization at all. The front page article ("Public, private compensation in the same ballpark.") in the Dispatch on Sunday demonstrated that public employee salaries and benefits are on par with those in the private sector. By your logic, combined with the article on pg 1 Sunday, you could say that private sector salaries have also grown unsustainable since private employees have a slightly richer salary and benefit package than public employees.

No discussion of the impact of public employee salaries on budgets is complete without pointing out that, since 2005, the income tax was cut 21%, the estate tax was eliminated, and the locally collected tangible personal property (TPP) tax was replaced with the state collected commercial activities tax (CAT). The income tax cut resulted in a sustained decrease at the state level in tax revenue which was evident even prior to the recession even with the addition of new CAT revenues. In 2005 total state revenue was $56.5 billion - by 2011 that had fallen to an estimated $50.5 billion which is $43.5 billion in 2005 dollars!

On the local level, governments and school districts were literally robbed of tax revenue by the state legislature's elimination of the TPP and estate tax. All of this has dealt a crushing blow to the ability of local governments and school districts to sustain services by starving them of local revenue as well as state aid.

These tax changes were heralded in 2005 as essential to economic growth in Ohio with the promise that the reforms would result in job growth in our state. I think the record on this score shows that tax reform in Ohio has not achieved the promised results and has instead put incredible stress on the state and local governments' ability to provide vital and expected services.

It is disingenuous to say that public salaries and benefits are unsustainable while ignoring the impact tax reform has had on Ohio's ability to fund its government. Furthermore, the front page of the Dispatch on the same day as your column refutes the notion that public salaries and benefits are out of line or unsustainable.

Mark Hill, Worthington school teacher
Columbus OH

We previousy wrote about this issue in an article titled "GUTTING EDUCATION FOR A CUP OF CHEAP COFFEE"

This week in education cuts

We continue our series of reporting all the local media news related to school budget issues.

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Fridday, May 20th, 2011

This week in education cuts

Here's the stories of education cuts this week, as reported by local media

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

  • Even JTF needs a break

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

  • Primary election results snap shot
    Today's news is dominated by the results of the election yesterday. There's sure to be lots of fallout from the failed levy efforts around the state. We'll continue to bring you news as it develops.

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Friday, May 6th, 2011

This week in education cuts

All the school funding and budget cut news as reported from around the state this week.

Saturday 23rd, 2011

Sunday 24th, 2011

  • Even JTF takes a break!

Monday 25th, 2011

Tuesday 26th, 2011

Wednesday 27th, 2011

Thursday 28th, 2011

Friday 29th, 2011

Your Voice is Being Heard Now

For what seemed like week after week, legislators ignored the voices and will of working Ohioans as they plowed forward with their ill thought out assault on teachers, firefighters, police and public employees.

But Sunday marked a major turning point in this fight. Sunday, people from all around Ohio began to have their voice heard, filing into the Columbus OEA building on broad street, and other locations, to sign the "downpayment" petition to repeal S.B.5.

Picture curtesy of Columbus Education Association

With well over the required 1,000 signatures collected, the effort now moves to the SOS and AG to certify the petition before collection of the 231,000 signatures needed to place the repeal on the November ballot begins.

The Dispatch also reports that the Govenor has been hearing the message loud and clear too

the governor received thousands of emails voicing strong opinions on the bill.

The breakdown: 16 percent in favor, 84percent against, according to a Dispatch analysis of more than 14,000 emails obtained through a public-records request.
A Quinnipiac Poll released March 23 showed a majority of Ohioans opposed to virtually all provisions of the controversial measure. A handful of Republicans joined a solid bloc of Democrats to vote against the bill in the legislature; GOP Senate leaders had to replace two members of a committee just to advance the proposal.

If the depth of sentiment expressed in the emails is any indication, those organizing a petition drive to hold a referendum on the issue in November shouldn't have trouble gathering the approximately 230,000 signatures needed.

Nope. No trouble at all.