NOTE: The letter has been updated. It seems there were some transcription errors in the copy I posted last night that were not in the original. My apologies to Dr. Shreffler.

About a week ago I was forwarded an email written by Dr. Mike Shreffler, the Superintendent of Southeast Local Schools. In the letter Dr. Shreffler recounts a invitation-only event he attended with Governor Kasich and the many false and often downright nasty statements made by the Governor regarding public employees in Ohio.

I was forwarded the letter again and again over the past week from good friends, casual acquaintances, family members and people I’ve never met. This letter has made the rounds and I’d be surprised if most of our regular readers haven’t already read it.

I spoke with Mike this afternoon to verify that he did, in fact, write the letter. Supposedly, there may be multiple, slightly different versions of the letter floating around, but the one I’ve included below is the original.

It looks like Laura Bischoff at the DDN also got the letter. Her piece was published this afternoon and includes a couple of quotes from Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols who, not surprisingly, denies everything and claims Shreffler is just a “big time Democrat” spouting “Ohio Education Association talking points.”

While Shreffler has voted for Democrats, Bischoff corrects Nichols statement. According to Laura, Shreffler “votes a split ticket and used to be a Republican.” I think that hardly qualifies him as “big time Democrat.”

Bischoff also addresses Nichols’ other claim about OEA talking points: Shreffler “has never belonged to the OEA or any other teacher union.” And if you go through the letter below, I’ll think you’ll find yourself hard pressed to match any of the important points to anything the OEA is putting out.

So two of Nichols’ three claims are shown to be false or at least inaccurate, which makes his third claim, that Schreffler’s story is “not true”, highly suspect.

This is not the first time Kasich has been caught getting a little too honest with a crowd he thought on his side. And this is not the first time Nichols has had to clean up Kasich’s mess.

Right now we don’t have video to back up Dr. Shreffler’s story and we don’t have another invitee to corroborate it. But knowing Kasich, and having heard many similar stories over the past few months, I’m going to take the word of this local school superintendent with nothing to gain by writing this letter over the word of the Governor’s highly paid spokesman whose job it is to cover up the Governor’s gaffes.

Right now we don’t have absolute proof that Kasich said “we are at war with these people (i.e. public employees)” or that he promised to bring back parts of SB5 after it’s defeated, or that he promised to use the legislature to “ram it through”, but these statements are consistent with things Kasich has said in the past and it seems highly likely that Kasich would say something like this again, especially in a room full of people he thought were friendly to his agenda.

Right now I’m siding with Dr. Shreffler, and after you read his letter, I think you will too…

Folks, I wish I had better news out of Columbus. I appreciate the work you do as educators. Please read the messages and do what you feel is best. If nothing else, please be informed.

September 9, 2011

Dear Staff,

I wanted to send this email to you for a week now. It has taken me the better part of this week to make sure I form my words correctly and present to you absolute facts. I am trying to do this below. I feel very passionate that it is my duty as the superintendent of a legitimate public school district to fill you in on an occurrence I had last Thursday.

I was invited to hear Governor Kasich speak at a private “invitation” only event. At first, I declined, but after more consideration, I accepted and attended the event. Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder spoke for about 5 minutes and then the Governor spoke for about 20. The majority of people in the room were affiliated with the Republican Party.

When Batchelder spoke, he told this group point blank that Ohio is in the financial shape it is in because public employees have been bilking the state out of money for years. I promised myself that I would not become outraged to the point where I had to leave, so I stayed.

The Governor spoke for about 5 of the 20 minutes on Senate Bill 5. I thought you might be interested in some of the things he said. He told the audience that public employees do not pay a dime into their pension fund and that they do not pay a dime for their healthcare insurance. As you know, this is a bold face lie. The public pension systems of Ohio have noted that 98% of public employees DO pay 10% of their salary to the retirement system. I hope you know that you do as well. Ten percent of your salary goes to STRS and the school district does pay an additional 14% for you. This is no different from an employee who has a pension from his or her company or a matched 401 (k). Nearly every professional employee of any company that is worth its salt has one or both of these benefits. Additionally, many public employees pay a percentage of their health care cost. You pay 20%.

The Governor said that we are at war with these people. He also said that he wishes they would just accept Senate Bill 5 because he is going to spend millions in tax payer money to defend it in the campaign. He said if it goes down, he and the legislature are going to “ram it through” in other legislation. He commented that his polls are showing that as many as 70% of Republicans are going to vote the bill down and he doesn’t understand why.

He also tried to tell the people that he tried to sit down with union leadership and they declined. I guess he forgot that the union leadership approached him before Senate Bill 5 passed and he had the doors of the State House LOCKED for the first time ever in history. He locked us out of our building and said he was not discussing anything. His actions made that clear.

Although many people in the room clapped when he said other things, no one clapped during this Senate Bill 5 piece. He entertained about 10 questions. No one asked anything about Senate Bill 5. They all asked about why he is selling the turnpike to a foreign nation and why he is “selling jails” to private companies which may be foreign nations when the major religions have deemed this immoral, unethical and unjust. They also asked about tax abatements, Obama Care and Medicare in Ohio. After every single question, he turned the tables around and made a comment that public employees have caused Ohio to be in financial ruin and that is why he was doing all of these things.

I could tell you more.

I understand that Ohio is in bad financial shape. I really do. I understand that we need reform. You cannot “ram through” reform and you cannot blame the state of the economy on the hard working people of Ohio. The absolute thing that bothered me the most about the whole ordeal was that he lied to the people in that room. He spread a bold face lie as propaganda in order to make his bill look valid. It made me sick.

This Governor is a bully and the legislature is his posse. We have to stand up to this bully AND to his posse. We need to make sure that our family members, our friends, our neighbors—anyone who will listen—know the truth and know that these lies are coming from Columbus. If you don’t stand up for yourself now, this will only be the beginning of a downward turn from which we will never recover.

Additional information:

As we speak, HB 136 is moving rapidly through the Ohio house. If passed into law, this bill allows ANY student in ANY public school to take their daily funding, which is now nearly $6,000 per student, and go to the private school of their choice if the family income is less than $95,000 per year. This money is deducted from the public school of residence. There is no regard for separation of church and state. I believe federal funds would follow the student as well. The private school is free to take or turn away any student they choose for any reason. They are free to kick them out whenever they wish. They do are not accountable in any way shape or form as you are as a public school. If this bill passes, MANY of you will lose your job. First of all, we will deal with two different consequences of this bill. #1. Most private schools cost more than $6,000. So who will benefit? Upper middle class students and or the cream of the crop that are given scholarships by the private schools. #2. If the private school costs less than $6,000 per year, the parent gets to bank the extra money. So that means if the parochial schools in our area choose to accept this, they could charge $4,000 per student and the parent would get a check for $2,000 for each kid. The lawmakers in Columbus keep trying to crush public education and we are hanging on by a thread. This and senate bill 5 will be the final nails in the coffin.

If there ever was a time to speak up and be active in government, it is now.

Hang in there,

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike Shreffler
Superintendent, Southeast Local Schools
9048 Dover Road
Apple Creek, OH 44606

  • progressive dem

    Got this letter myself. Someone should send it to Ed Shultz at MSNBC. I bet he would feature it on the air.

  • Greg Soper

    Here comes another referendum.  The GOP just does not get it.  

    Despite increasing the number of vouchers to 14000, they are not even close to filling that number. Simple math would suggest if you cannot fill 14000, you probably wont fill 60000 slots.

  • Anonymous

    Simple math also suggests that if your goal is to give every kid a voucher and close the public schools, you would bankrupt the state. Luckily, at this point there aren’t enough private school slots to do that. But once they defund all the public schools, I’m sure David Brennan would be glad to set up a chain of trashy, failing warehouse schools and take any kid for whatever the amount of the government check is, while spending $500 per kid on education.

  • Anonymous

    These people do not excel in simple math, not simple arithmetic, and certainly not in simple logic.  It would be a stretch for them to count the digits on their fingers and toes.

  • Joseph

    Have you been reading my draft posts again, Anastasia?   I’m convinced this is exactly their plan.

  • Carrie Preston

    Like I said previously, teachers need to get together and open their own school where the money only goes to the students and the working teachers who are running the school. We would then have the funds to what we need to do. Then we don’t have to deal with what we don’t want to deal with  like the other for profit schools do.

  • Anonymous

    John Kasich seems to speak with a forked tongue.  Maybe someone should give him a super glue sandwich to shut him up.  No, on second thought it would never work since he doesn’t speak through his mouth.

  • Carrie Preston

    You could super glue that too. It wouldn’t hurt anyone. Well maybe one person.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, and all this time you thought that bad smell was just halitosis.  Now we know.

  • buy thesis

    Greally good!)

  • Adrienne

    He’s an evil monster dressed as a human being. Prince John doesn’t work for us, PERIOD!

  • Adrienne

    He’s an evil monster dressed as a human being. Prince John doesn’t work for us, PERIOD!

  • Anonymous

    Much as I appreciate this story, there are so many mistakes – errors in grammar, spelling, missing words and phrases – and people, please learn the difference between “loose” and “lose” – that I cannot in good conscience forward this on to other people. Please proof this!

  • Anonymous

    It could also be that the letter was transcribed incorrectly.

  • Annekarina

    It might be proofed.  But the problem is too many trust spell checker and forget about their own brain.

  • Joseph

    I printed a copy of the letter I received in an email.  It was transcribed incorrectly.  Dr. Shreffler just sent me a copy of the original.  It has been updated.

  • Hired Mind

    There’s also a complete lack of any proof that Kasich said what he’s quoted to have said.  Or any reputable source willing to back up the quote.

  • Adrienne

    I don’t want my tax dollars (being childless) to subsize religious schools or other private schools.
    Evil flourishes thanks to  people who didn’t vote and others who are willfully ignorant.

  • Ross H. Hockman

    Here’s an idea: why don’t we just recall Gov. Kasich?

  • Annekarina

    Modern has explained this over and over.   Ohio cannot.  That is why.

  • Anonymous

    We need to amend the constitution to provide for recall.

    THEN we need to recall Kasich!

  • Anonymous

    In the meantime, we need to work on exposing any potential illegalities so maybe we can send him to prison before his term is up where it is my fervent hope he will be sharing a cell with Josh “The Empty Suit” Mandel, a man who thinks rules don’t apply to him.

  • Guest

    Prison is too good for him. I say he belongs in the ninth circle, instead. 

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with that with our teahadist-majority General Assembly, aka King Johnnie’s posse.

    Amending the Ohio Constitution to allow recall as well as referendum is an admirable goal, but I don’t see it happening in today’s climate.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    We know  –but thoughts like that keep us going  .lol
    Hey I am for taking up a collection and sending him on a long vacation.
    Let someone else listen to his ramblings for a change.   

  • Anonymous

    Yo Batchelder!
    Do you want to see some state employees who have been bilking the state for years?
    Drag your wife next to you, and both of you look in the mirror.
    Sanctimonious hypocrite.

  • Joseph

    I just got a corrected letter. It’s been updated.

  • Adrienne

    Thanks Joseph.

  • Guest

    Too bad he didn’t tape it. 

  • Anonymous

    As of this time, 5:30PM on 9/20, the story and/or reporting of it are absent from The Dispatch.

  • Irishgal

    I’m shocked! (sarcasm of course).  Something tells me this will be all over the state in a very short period of time (I’ve already received 3 copies) and I do hope the story is picked up nationally (MSNBC, Stewart, Colbert).  I felt pretty certain that Kasich was incapable of keeping his mouth shut but he has outdone himself this time.  I just hope that Dr. Sheffler doesn’t face any repercussions but something tells me his honesty will be applauded.  

  • Anonymous

    My first response was “Nah — he wouldn’t be that blatant.” And my second response was, “Well, it sounds like everything he’s been saying all along so yes, he would.”

  • luv2teach

    I am going to email Rachel and Ed and share the letter with them. Their emails are and  Got them from their blogs. Maybe if enough people contact them this issue can get some national attention.  Meanwhile, we need to contact our reps and tell them NO on this issue.

  • leeseh

    Why?  Just because you don’t think he would ever be stupid enough to say this in public?  Believe me, I’ve heard HIGH Republican OFFICIALS say this and worse in public.  These are the type of people you think are “saving” this state and in fact, they are destroying it.

  • Anonymous

    Oooooooooh, OOOOOOOOh, OOOOOOOOOOHHHH!  It is getting close to your stalking time again Rgtmwlly!  Halloween is right around the corner.  Are you going to dress as a rightwing zombie again this year?  Don’t walk into the legislature in that costume or they may make you Speaker of the House!






  • Fotogirlcb2002

    he is at war with everyone

  • Joseph

    Give me a break, Claude.

  • Bug

    What a ball of po-dunk.

  • Cindy Venable

    One serious error I see in this letter is equating contribution to teacher (or other public employees) “pensions” to private sector pension funds or matching funds for 401Ks.  7.65% of contributions  from both teachers and the school district is the equivalent of Social Security,. The Social Security Act prohibits public employees and employers from belonging to that system.  Only dollars over and above the 7.65% can be compared to true pensions or 401k matching funds.
    Heaven help Ohio!!!!  The next 3+ years will be very long.

  • Micknkitty

    SO glad I don’t live in OH anymore, though FL doesn’t seem to be faring any better. Way to deflect the real issue on to some of the hardest working people in the state (and country). Teachers have THE most important job, people! They are the ones educating YOUR children to help them succeed in life. So you just want to pull the rug out from under AND demonize them? Seriously, their job is right up near the top of the list of jobs that are thankless and underpaid (next to nurses, who definitely have the #1 place). Dealing with 20+ different personalities and home situations, not too mention serious lapses in parental involvement and discipline doesn’t deserve a little more respect than their pensions and healthcare benefits that they contribute to personally? Really kind of disgusting, if you ask me. I’m sure there are about 100 different places they could make cuts that would help balance the budget….how about all those state officials take a pay cut?

  • Wburgangel

    Just one more reason Ohio needs to get this IDIOT out if office!!! He was the cause if the stock market crash as he was CEO if Lehman brothers going defunct. Thanks to all if you silver spooned jackasses that voted him into office only to attack and bankrupt our state. Kudos to you who continue to support this moron.

  • Anonymous

    You are such a good sport!  Everyone needs a little comic relief, and on behalf of the battered middle class I would like to express our thanks to you for providing your personal brand of nonsense.  Now go back to your little mud hooch behind GOP HQ in Columbus.

  • ColineGeorge

    God help us —The politicians are not going to.  Unless we get out in numbers too big to erease, we will not be able to get them out of office.

  • ColineGeorge

    God help us —The politicians are not going to.  Unless we get out in numbers too big to erease, we will not be able to get them out of office.

  • Anonymous

    Are you talking about John Kasich, cause it sure sounds like you are talking about John Kasich.  You are talking about John Kasich, aren’t you?  Yes, I’m sure you intended to tell us that it is John Kasich that you are talking about.

  • Elainesuchomma

    I am realy afraid for this state. Since that man walked through the doors in columbus. He has been a bully. I believe his own constituants are afraid of him.He may be a republican.but hes a real bad name for the party and we have to stand united to stop his nonsense. First by raising a legitimate question on anything he tries to ram through and put it on a special ballot if needed. We are the people of this state.Quite obvious he’s not.

  • proof is there

    “Right now we don’t have absolute proof that Kasich said “we are at war with these people (i.e. public employees)” or that he promised to bring back parts of SB5 after it’s defeated, or that he promised to use the legislature to “ram it through”, 
    Actually, the budget bill (which already passed) included critical pieces of what is written in SB5 about teachers.  Pretty sure he already brought in parts of SB5 and rammed them through in a bill nobody was willing or foolish enough [politically] to fight.  

  • Jim Shuew

    I have a question.  Where is this South East Local that Dr Shreffler works at?  The only school district I could find with that name has no one by that name listed on it’s site.

  • Jim Shuew

    I have a question.  Where is this South East Local that Dr Shreffler works at?  The only school district I could find with that name has no one by that name listed on it’s site.

  • Hologram5

    AAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahahah……………………………hahahahahahahahah………………….aaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahah……………………..Oh, wait………………………………………….Nope ahahahahhahahahahahahahahahah.   No evidence, no video, no audio of him saying anything of the sort.  WOW.  It’s not a war on the people, it’s a war on the deficit and when Trumka stands holding the empty cash bag, you’ll turn on him next.  He makes upwards three hundred thou a year and as such you all should be fighting with him too.  He’s one of them thar’ rich guys.

  • Eric

    Thanks for visiting us from Breitbart’s Big Government site.  You and 13 others did.  Setting traffic records over there Andrew is, eh?

  • Hired Mind

    Not to mention Ed’s willingness to edit audio, twist the facts and lie to his viewers.

  • Steve Kay

    I am on Dr. Mike’s side but I can’t bite my tongue on this blatant lie.  He should not be stooping to the level of the competition on this debate by making such claims as this…

    “Ten percent of your salary goes to STRS and the school district does pay
    an additional 14% for you. This is no different from an employee who
    has a pension from his or her company or a matched 401 (k). Nearly every
    professional employee of any company that is worth its salt has one or
    both of these benefits.”

    That last sentence makes my skin crawl. Dr. Mike is going to alienate
    people with statements like that.  I am not sure if he is trying to tell
    people “just about everybody has access to a retirement plan in line
    with the STRS,” or if he’s trying to say “some of you out there with
    great jobs at great companies have retirement plans like ours but the
    rest of you work for companies that ‘aren’t worth their salt’.”  The
    first interpretation is false and the second is degrading.

    Some stats from a 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics report found here. 

    Of the 61% of public sector employees who even have access to a 401k…

    Regarding how much income the employer matches (comparing to 10% for the STRS)

    49% match up to less than 6% of your income
    41% match up to 6% of your income
    10% match up to more than 6% of your income

    and regarding the rate at which they match (comparing to 140% for the STRS)
    14% match less than 50% of your contribution

    39% match 50% of your contribution
    9% match between 50% and 100% of your contribution
    36% match 100% of your contribution
    2% match more than 100% of your contribution

    This is not an exhaustive analysis as it only looks at 401k’s, but I
    would argue it shows that Dr. Mike’s quote that the STRS “is no
    different from an employee who
    has a pension from his or her company or a matched 401 (k),” and that ” Nearly every
    professional employee of any company that is worth its salt has one or
    both of these benefits,” is either coming from someone who is
    ill-informed (bad) or misleading (worse.)


  • Bob Rhoades

    Dr. Mike, bully for you!  Thank God that a member of Management hasn’t fallen for the ignorance and stupidity that now occupies the Governor’s Office at Broad and High.  Although on the opposite side of the state, we share the same sentiment and from the looks of things the same labor/management brain processes.  Down here we are paying the same amounts as you eluded to also.
    I’ve asked my senators and reps and even sent an email to the Governor’s office asking where all of this was being done.  So far I’ve seen nothing in the form of an answer.  You and I both know that there are problems and that maybe there are places where the labor contracts have negotiated to reflect what he is saying.  As you said, it is such a small portion.  I’ve written a number of editorial comments on this subject and the worse part of it all is that so many good, Republican legislators are going to right down the tube with him.  The problems at the state level aren’t being created by the employees, but by the constant hiring of people who nothing about how government works every 4 years, and telling good union people to train them.  I retired from the fire service in 1992, and the state of Ohio in 2009.  I think I’ve got a bit better handle on it than he does.

  • Anonymous

    So you prefer the headline “Kasich calls cop an idiot”? You act like it is such a reach for him to say these things…. WAKE UP!

  • Amber Smith

    Does anyone know how much the governor is paying for his health insurance and pension??

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