Those who are uninformed about the teachers’ strike in Reynoldsburg still assume the work stoppage is taking place because the teachers are holding out for more money (it’s not about the money). Even if it was about increasing teacher pay, we could make the case that the teachers have a point.
In 2011, previous Reynoldsburg Superintendent Steve Dackin was a finalist for the State Superintendent position. He had been leading the school district for 6 years at the time and had a base salary of $120,146. The Reynoldsburg School Board, led by current President Andrew Swope, afraid of losing Dackin and his years of experience, offered Dackin a raise to stay with the school district; a $25,000 offer that Dackin couldn’t refuse. That year, Dackin’s base salary increased by 20.8% to $145,146.
In that same year, the Reynoldsburg Education Association (REA) settled on a contract with the school board that gave teachers either a 2% or 4% raise depending on their placement on the salary schedule (teachers either received a 4% step increase or a 2% raise, but not both). The contract also included a freeze on step increases for the three-year period, while including a 1% raise for the 2012-13 school year, an amount that was rendered null by state legislation that subsequently increased a teacher’s contribution to the State Teachers Retirement System by 1% each of the following four years. In short, teachers received a 1% raise in salary for that one year, while their take home pay was decreasing by an equal amount for that year and each of the following three.
By the time the REA contract expired this summer, the Reynoldsburg teachers had either realized a base pay increase (raise) of either 3% or 5%, again depending on whether they received a step increase in that first year. Therefore, at the high end, teachers had received a raise of 5% since 2011, one-fourth of the amount that Dackin had been offered by the school board.
In January 2014, Dackin announced his intention to retire and the Reynoldsburg School Board went after only one candidate, current Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning. The school board offered a contract to Thomas-Manning, with no prior experience as a superintendent, that contained a base salary of $157,500, an 8.5% raise for the position ($12,354).
Since 2011, when teacher salaries were negotiated to between 3-5%, and when REA agreed to freeze the steps on their salary schedule to help manage costs, the salary for the superintendent went from $120,146 to $157,500, an increase of over 31%. More importantly, those large raises were directly initiated by the school board.
In short, since 2011, the Reynoldsburg Superintendent has received a raise over 6-10 times greater than the raise any Reynoldsburg teacher received. For comparison, Tina Thomas-Manning has a base salary that places in her the top 30 highest-paid public school district superintendents in Ohio. Meanwhile, the average Reynoldsburg teacher’s salary ranked 136th in 2013-14, with the median salary figure placing Reynoldsburg teachers way down at 383rd. Reynoldsburg was the 37th largest public school district in Ohio last year.
So while the School Board apparently likes to throw money at a central office job – at the person responsible for “managing” the current situation in the schools, they’re not interested in using the increased state funding to add more classroom teachers or establish a fair and more concrete salary schedule for those responsible for improving student learning — those who are actually teaching the community’s children.
Feel free to contact the leaders of the school board’s negotiations team:
Andrew Swope, Board President
(614) 864-1175 (home)
(614) 882-8297 (work)
Elaine Tornero, Board Vice President
(614) 759-9735 (home)
Reynoldsburg Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning
If you’re a Reynoldsburg parent concerned about the safety of your children, you might consider directly contacting the President of the company you hired (your tax dollars) to manage your schools – Huffmaster Crisis Management: