HB 153, Kasich’s biennium budget bill, already contains in it a number of provisions regarding teacher pay that seems similar, if not identical, provisions to the “merit pay” provisions in SB 5 for teachers. Presently, HB 153 would:
- Supersede any provision in any collective bargaining agreement entered into on or after the effective date of the budget;
- Start during the 2011-2012 school year;
- Mandates that districts and ESC create separate salary schedules for:
- Teachers with a resident educator or alternative resident educator license;
- Teachers with a professional educator’s license;
- Senior professional educator’s license;
- Lead professional educator’s license
- Determine the pay of each individual teacher within their appropriate schedule on a “merit” basis;
- Any district that doesn’t comply may have its state funding withheld until it does;
Currently law creates such salary schedules, but to set minimum standards of what a teacher can be paid based on their years of experience and training. Kasich’s budget turns what was intended to be a minimum standard mandate into a more rigid “merit-based” system that ignores experience altogether.
However, Kasich is not content that his budget contains enough provisions of SB 5 in it. According to Gongwer, Governor Kasich thinks the State budget should be amended to include SB 5’s provisions on “merit pay” for teachers, and perhaps other SB 5 provisions.
Speaker Batchelder admits that they are seriously considering incorporating SB 5 into the budget to “back up” SB 5 in the face of a referendum. Although Ohio’s Constitution exempts appropriations as being subject to referendum, the Ohio Supreme Court has a strong line of cases (such as the LetOhioVote.org VLT case during the Strickland Administration) that substantive changes in statutory law can still be subjected to referendum, even when they are burrowed into a budget or appropriation bill.
So the GOP knows, or should know, that merely putting SB 5 into the budget doesn’t make it immune from referendum? So why the duplicity? Because so far all the referendum can do is repeal SB 5 as signed by Kasich. If its provisions are redundantly incorporated into other legislation, such as the budget bill, then those provisions survive any referendum, unless they are also repealed via referendum. In addition, the GOP could legally challenge the right to referendum under the budget bill despite the legal precedent cited the Ohio Supreme Court in LetOhioVote.org v. Brunner I.
By forcing anti-SB 5 forces to gather signatures for multiple referenda, the hope is that they either fail to put ever SB 5-invested legislation to the voters, or the voters will get confused and perhaps vote to repeal SB 5, but not the teacher merit-pay budget provisions. Think of it as cloning SB 5 in the hopes that one of the lil’ buggers will survive the onslaught of referenda.
It’s a highly provocative act that spits in the face of the voters because there is no rational explanation to even consider doing it other than frustrating voters ability to repeal legislation through referendum. It also is a rather telling example of just how confident they aren’t that SB 5 can survive a clean referendum fight.
Seriously, just when you think these people can’t be more underhanded and devious, they invent whole new ways to surprise you.