Last week, the Ohio House Education Committee, led by Gerald Stebelton, moved to eliminate the minimum salary schedule requirements from state law via House Bill 343.  The bill passed out of the committee along straight party lines, with the approving Republicans stating that this move was designed to give local school districts flexibility in negotiating salary schedules, especially advocating for merit-based pay for teachers.

Committee chairman Gerald Stebelton, a Lancaster Republican, said the longstanding teacher pay scales that increase pay based on years of experience and degrees earned by a teacher, should no longer be required by the state. He said he wants to allow districts to have a merit pay system, or any other plan, if they choose.

“Right now, if two teachers who start on the same day and one is a terrible teacher and one’s a really good teacher, they’re still lockstep with their pay,” Stebelton said. “It’s an easy decision for schools to do the lockstep thing, but it’s not in the best interest of the kids.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Asked Representative John Becker, “What makes teachers special as a profession that they can’t live on merit pay the way the rest of us do?”

Sounds like they’re firmly behind this notion of local flexibility and merit pay, doesn’t it?

Not so fast, my friends…

Seasoned GOP leader Gerald Stebelton introduced another bill (HB661) that has received some coverage this week alongside his move to cut the teacher salary schedule — a bill to mandate annual raises for elected officials by adjusting existing state law.

Kudos to him for seeking to amend the existing salary schedule in which all of these elected officials are paid at the same rate without consideration of their individual merit.  I mean, surely he’s seeking to revamp these outdated salaries that are mandated in state law in order to give local communities more flexibility, right?

Not.  Even.  Close.

Instead of following the GOP’s own talking points about local flexibility and merit pay, Stebelton has instead proposed mandating annual raises – forever – for a variety of elected officials starting with the Governor and members of the General Assembly and all the way down to local officials like county sheriffs, engineers, coroners, and even township trustees.

And in Stebelton’s vastly hypocritical bill, the salaried amounts are in no way based on the performance or experience of the individuals, but are set amounts for all positions that have the same requirements – no merit pay in any way, shape, or form.

Furthermore, instead of giving local counties any “flexibility” to negotiate or make the financial decision at the local level, the amounts will simply be updated and codified into the existing state law.  Counties, townships, etc., will continue to be mandated to pay all of these individuals an amount determined by the General Assembly without any ability to negotiate or make adjustments that might best fit the local entity’s budgetary needs, which, according to Stebelton himself, is apparently so important that he wants to eliminate an already-too-low salary schedule for teachers.

All of which leads us to pose a question for Stebelton, Becker and company:

“What makes Ohio’s GOP legislators so special that they think they don’t need to practice what they preach?”

 

 

 
  • DublinIrishBob

    Why are you even surprised? The public school system must be smashed and this is simply one weapon to use in the GOP’s war. Make teaching in Ohio a low paying job so that quality individuals don’t go into teaching or else leave the state for jobs in education. Cut state funding for schools so that urban districts and small, poor, rural communities are forced to go with charters because providing public schools is not economically feasible. Test kids so much that private schools look like a better choice and public enrollment drops further. This is embarrassing and stupid. Keep making the population ignorant and then wonder why companies don’t locate here or people move into Ohio.

    “First they came for the public schools, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t have a child in public schools.” In ten years, the Ohio legislature will start to dismantle the public university system, except for OSU. Public Higher Education is next.

  • Paula Garfield

    Shame on them

  • Natalie

    I seriously think we need another citizen’s referendum (or maybe 4!) How do we do that?

  • gbgasser

    Its a shame what the conservatives are doing to education all across the country

    On another topic, I would like to ask anyone here for some help on a matter;
    My son is a teacher with a Masters from OSU. He spent two years in Columbus and loved it. He wasn’t able to find a full-time job with benefits in Columbus right after graduation so he had to go to where a job was, Austin Texas.
    He has been working in Austin the last 4 months as a 5th grade math teacher, but he is trained in Phys Ed/ Adaptive PE.
    A couple months ago he was notified by some folks he knew in the Dublin school district (He worked as a para pro there while in grad school) that some positions might be available soon in Columbus area.
    He really wants to teach PE so he looked into them and actually interviewed for one.
    He was offered the job last Wednesday and gave a two weeks notice to his job in Texas. They wanted him to start as soon as possible and he wanted to as well. His wife also gave notice at her nursing position.
    Two days later (last evening) he received an email from the principle who had interviewed him and offered the job saying she was sorry but the Superintendent was now saying they weren’t going to fund the position.

    He has no job in two weeks neither does his wife and they are pregnant and in need of benefits. They also have a 2+ yr old son. This is a very distressing time for a young couple. My son might be able to get his old job back but his wife can not.
    Any suggestions on what they should do? They want to be back in the Columbus area. They don’t like the idea of sending their child to school in Texas which is a big reason why they looked to go back to CBus.

    Would anyone suggest any legal action? This seems very unfair to me.
    A couple quits what they are doing to accept a promise of a job and 48 hours later are told …..ooops sorry.

    Thanks for any help
    Unable to sleep in Ga

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