In a November 2 policy brief, Buckeye Institute reveals the real reason for the Ohio Education Association claim that state-level funding cuts require many school districts to introduce new levies.
The Institute presents historical evidence for school district overspending. Average annual inflation has been around 4.2 percent since 1975 while school spending has increased by 5.5 percent on average during the same time period. In many Ohio school districts, average teacher compensation is 50% higher than the average income of residents in their communities. While the current legislature has increased school funding, median income is declining. Since 2001, median has declined 16 percent.
Because employee compensation consumes 96 percent of most school budgets, Ohio overspending on schooling is simply unsustainable.
How can this problem be fixed? The Buckeye Institute makes the following proposal:
“Simply providing more tax revenue is not going to solve the problem. If taxpayers in this state are ever to get a break from the hamster wheel of local levies, compensation reforms are essential. To accomplish this, collective bargaining reform cannot be swept under the rug indefinitely.” Changing Ohio collective bargaining law, local school boards would have more flexibility to adjust compensation to reflect current fiscal reality.
To read the policy brief, go to http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/issues/education-k-12-and-higher-ed.
If you drove down Dayton Avenue last Sunday, you may have noticed the traffic in and out of the Fraternal Order of Police parking lot. You may have also noticed the little sign inviting the public to sign the union-initiated referendum petition against Ohio Senate Bill 5. This is the recently passed law forbidding public employees from striking and limiting collective bargaining.
Notice, the bill does not end collective bargaining. Rather, it places considerable restrictions on the procedures and content of public union bargains. It also includes limits on employee benefits such paid sick leave, accrued vacation days, and the percentage of employer contribution to employee health care. The new law even prohibits public employers from paying employee pension plan contributions.
Offensive to members of NEA is the end of mandatory time off as sick days and the end of tenured contracts. The new law requires school boards to provide the specific number of paid sick days thus ending mandatory time off. Except for teachers with existing tenured contracts, the law ends continuing contracts.
In addition to reductions of benefits and certain perks, the new law will make public employees earn increased salaries. That is, the SB 5 makes employee pay based on merit not union seniority, time of service, or statutory pay scales. To unions, that is probably the most grievous evil of all.
SB 5 provides two additional benefits for taxpayers: public employers are now able to modify an existing bargaining agreement when such is in fiscal emergency or fiscal watch, and the new law prohibits a bargaining agreement from limiting a public employer’s ability to privatize operations.
It appears public union collective bargaining reform (SB5) law is meant to bring public employee pay and benefits in-line with the public sector. By doing so, the cost of government will be reduced.
Whether or not public employee unions get the required signatures to place the new law on the November ballot, the next reform on the public agenda should be the hierarchical reduction of government spending and subsequent taxation.
See a complete analysis of SB 5 at http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/analyses129/s0005-ps-129.pdf