Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Olentangy Schools: burning taxes at both ends of the negotiation table

The tentative negotiated agreement for teachers includes this little nugget: Taxpayers are now responsible for funding 12 additional days of paid leave for union officials. So, we -- the taxpayers -- pay for folks at both ends of the negotiation table. Amazing.

On top of that, the union president get three additional free periods per day. So, we -- the taxpayers once more -- pay to have the union president walk the halls inciting nonsense. Doubly amazing.

Hey, Olentangy for Kids. Did you mention this to your neighbors during the campaign?

All about the kids? Read the contract and see who it's really about.

note: Of course, the administration gets its goodies too.


Scott said...

I saw an article in This Week Olentangy this morning mentioning the new teachers' contract. What a bunch of spin!!! Mentioned was an annual 2.8% salary increase, up from the 2.25% of last year.

No mention at all about step increases or education increases. The public was left to believe that this 2.8% is the only increase that a teacher can get. When in fact I would guess that our teachers will be getting average increases between 6.5 and 7% although I'm just guessing since I haven't seen the new step increase schedule.

In this economy?! When I got a 2% raise?!

What a bunch of crap...

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought, Scott: Try actually reading the contract before spouting off. Not all teachers get step increases. Some do, some don't.

And did you read the part of the contract that basically eliminates the horizontal movement on the scale based on education advancement unless teachers are in pursuit of a master's or doctorate degree? That represents a huge dollar amount in annual cash outlay toward teacher salaries over previous years. That actually benefits the district monetarily. Or can't you figure that one out without someone else doing the thinking for you? Spin goes both ways, but you only recognize that which you want to believe, just like anyone else. It's convenient to ignore it if you agree with the viewpoint it espouses.

Just one more question. Did you get a 2.8% raise or better this year? Are you paying the same $3.79 per gallon for gas that teachers are? How do you expect them to deal with cost of living issues? They can't help that schools are funded through taxes.

Jim Fedako said...


You are correct that not all teachers get step raises. But, step raises average over 3%. So, there are teachers get much more than Scott's quoted average of 6.5% to 7%. That's how averages work.

Wrong regarding the contract. True, teachers can't game the system as bad anymore (are you defending that) but they can use their credits obtained via the worthless Olentangy Professional Development

Scott said...

Anonymous, please read my post. I'll state a fact again... I got a 2% raise. I'm dealing with 4% or higher inflation with a 2% raise while I'm funding with my taxes ON AVERAGE as Jim has stated, 2.8% + 3% + education increases.

I'm not asking for a wage freeze in the district. I'm asking for TOTAL wage increases comparable to those of the rest of us. I believe that 3% is the national average. A contract with a 1.5% annual raise with an average step increase of 1% then allowing for an education increase would have been more appropriate.

But again, our board has seen fit to spend taxpayer dollars like crazy. Thanks to the threat induced yes votes in March.

And the article did the community a great injustice by not mentioning the AVERAGE step increase and the AVERAGE education increase.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we are taking the wrong approach....

Maybe we should look at this from a "position/role" perspective instead of a "personell" perspective.

Let's take the Olentangy Liberty High School Dean of Students "position." Last year, the tax payers of this district paid that position a salary of $61K/year. This year, we are paying that position nearly $80K/year.

This position was one that was slated to be cut if the levy failed. But, since it passed, we aren't simply keeping the position in play..... no way. We have new money to burn.

So we are increasing the cost to staff that position by $19K in salary, plus medical benefits cost of $12K (the previous holder of the position was a retire/rehire and didn't require the district to pay medical insurance). In addition, I believe we are also paying the optional 10% STRS payment for this position, which was not paid last year. That is another $8K in cost. Add those numbers together and you'll find an increase of $51K.... or roughly an 85% increase (pay raise) over last year.

$80K annual salary plus 24% STRS plus excellent medical benefits plus I don't have to pay Social Security plus I get summers, holidays, spring break, christmas break, etc... so I can track attendance and enforce "discipline" 9 months out of the year? Someone please let me know when that position becomes available at the new high school. I want it!!!!!!!

CRAP!!! I just realized something.... I can't coach basketball or football very well. Looks like I'm not qualified after all.

Anonymous said...

Seriously... we're paying Union Representatives with our tax dollars so they can work to take more of our tax dollars via contract negotiations? We're giving tax dollars to union reps so they can sit in our tax payer funded buildings and scheme about how to make life better for the teachers union?

You must be kidding right?

If not, I smell a fox in the hen house?!?!?!

Jim Fedako said...

Absolutely true. Here the actual contract language:

OTA Partnership

(note: you have got to love "partnership" in the title)

A. The Board will provide paid leave for the officers of the Olentangy Teachers Association
(OTA) to attend Association conferences/business, not to exceed a combined total of sixteen (16) days. The OTA Negotiations Team may also use paid leave days for the actual time of negotiation sessions. When negotiation sessions are held during the school day substitute teachers will be provided for the OTA team.
B. The Board will provide the President of the Association with release time under the following conditions:
1. If the Association President’s building is organized on a class period schedule, the President’s schedule shall have two fewer class period assignments and one (1) fewer duty assignment than he/she would have been assigned if not President.

Anonymous said...

This actually responds to another thread, but I was reading through several when I decided to respond. The way people speak in absolutes and extremes on this blog from thread to thread never ceases to amaze me. They also often drop arguments they can't refute, hoping to focus on something they think they can argue.

What about the PE teacher who only makes $35,000 a year? No one ever mentions that teacher. The vast majority of the teachers in this district have under 10 years of experience, yet, their students achieve excellent results. No one ever mentions them, only the extremes, few of whom are really paid that much.

A $90K teacher likely has taught for 25- 30 years. How many people in this area do their jobs for 30 years and make $90K at the end of their careers with the level of education required of teachers? I bet they make a lot more, right out of school, than a first year teacher, so by the time their kids are in school, they make much, much more, all the while complaining about teachers' salaries. I am willing to bet they couldn't and/or wouldn't be willing to live on what teachers make without a secondary income. So you can talk about raises, benefits, etc. but when it comes down to it, the salary is what people live on.

I see so much written about the affluence and parent involvement in the district as if that somehow means kids automatically excel; sometimes it means the exact opposite. If only you had a clue-- it just shows how little time you spend in the schools at OLSD while complaining about them if you really think that is the case. Kids in this district suffer many of the problems as urban districts, but it is kept quieter so it seems like the problems aren't there. I went to my son's conferences and the teacher only had three parents show up that evening. Parent involvement? Whatever. You will believe what you want.

And if you think the discipline is easy, let's talk about the drug use and sales in the middle and high schools. Oh, you didn't know that exists in our district? Then you are completely clueless. The "involved" parents buy their kids off with money and ignore them in many cases. The administration does the best it can, but when you have three administrators (oh, that's right, we only need one assistant principal, don't we?) and a dean (only attendance? He wishes!), it's tough to catch everything. I suppose it's the teachers' and administrators' faults that kids use drugs? Where are their parents?

Jim Fedako said...


I will assume that you work in the alternate reality that is the public education. I make that assumption as you seem to have no understanding about how the real world works.

In my employment, a raise is both a negative and a positive. The positive is easy to understand, so I will not bother to address it. But, the negative ...

You see, I am paid for what I produce. I am out of a job the minute that I no longer produce a product that justifies my salary. And, more importantly, the minute my company can find someone who can and will do my job -- in the US or elsewhere -- for less, I'm gone.

So, a raise means that I have more to spend but I must also continually justify my higher salary.

That is the real world. Now, let's venture into the warmth of government employment.

Teachers believe that they deserve more -- we all do. But teachers can demand a higher salary due to state laws around collective bargaining, as well as the noncompetitive nature of government employment.

The gym teacher with an MA+30 does not produce any more than the gym teacher with minimal experience. Yet, the experienced teacher -- and all public employees -- believe that they continually deserve more, and they get it.

And, due to certification laws, the gym teacher is protected from competition from those who have other fitness-related degrees. You know who I am referring to: the highly-qualified employees of fitness clubs, aerobics centers, etc. Really, anyone can time stacking cup races, 6.5 hours a day, 165 days a year. That's not rocket science. Nor, is it productive.

Don't you see the issue here? You public employees demand and receive more without producing more. If my company functioned in such a manner, it would be bankrupt.

You folks have no problem demanding more and more from folks who have to justify their salary every single day. Such theft at the ballot is unethical at best.

In reality, the gym teacher, the elementary teacher, the math teacher, etc., all make more than they produce. The proof. There is no one trying to steal such employees from the public schools.

I know, I know. You folks claim that YOU do this all for the kids. But, what about the pharmacist at Wal-Mart. Does he not also provide an essential service to children?

The problem with this country is that the ones who live in the soft, warm belly of government are also the very same ones guiding the education of future generations.

Anonymous said...


It isn't about "time in the system." It is about the value you provide to the market.

There are so many other invalid points in your memo than I care to discuss. But you have proven a common theme on this board with the following statement:

"A $90K teacher likely has taught for 25- 30 years. How many people in this area do their jobs for 30 years and make $90K at the end of their careers with the level of education required of teachers."

You are a socialist who believes that just because you worked in the same position for 30 years you should be paid more. When in reality, you are delivering no better results today than you did 20 years ago. Studies have shown that after 5 - 10 years, the actual value of a teacher plateus or declines.

It is about valued spending... spend where the district recieves corresponding value. Where the district doesn't, the board shouldn't approve the spend/contract.

Scott said...

I don't know what world some of you people are living in. Maybe you have an MBA from Harvard. Maybe you have a law degree from Yale. I happen to know lots of folks in my field (IT) that have been in the business for 25 or more years and are still making $90k or less. So any assumption that other fields make far more money than teachers is dead wrong.

I don't understand this myth that everyone living in this district makes $200k/year on a single income and has a huge inheritance. Some people do live this way I'm sure but I also see lots of hard working folks making less than teachers with the same amount of experience.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:17:

"What about the PE teacher who only makes $35,000 a year? No one ever mentions that teacher. The vast majority of the teachers in this district have under 10 years of experience, yet, their students achieve excellent results. No one ever mentions them, only the extremes, few of whom are really paid that much."

1.) Nobody mentions the phys ed teacher who makes $35,000 per year because that doesn't offend anybody's sensibilities. Paying more than $35k to someone whose job it is to pass out balls to kids and blow a whistle is what gets people ticked off.

2.) Your point that Olentangy gets the results that it does with a "vast" majority of the teacher cadre having less than 10 years of experience says it all about the value product of teachers with more than 10 years experience. It shows the fallacy of paying a premium for "master educators".

I'm sorry--what were you saying about the salary of the guy with 20 years of experience whose job it is to pass balls out to kids all day?

Scott said...

Here's a thought, anonymous. Instead of hiding behind the veil of anonymity and chastisting me for "spouting off" facts, try reading the current edition (May 15) of This Week News. Specifically the article beginning on page B5. This article quotes district officials. 2.8% plus an average of 3%. I don't know about you but I would be thrilled with an AVERAGE 5.8% guaranteed raise every year. Too bad this exists only in the world of taxpayer funded employment.

Hey, we all make mistakes. Some of us even admit them from time to time.