Commentary as posted in the Columbus Dispatch
My wife and I are both retired schoolteachers, and we are divided about Ohio Senate Bill 5 and Gov. John Kasich. I’m for the proposal, but she doesn’t like it.
While at my wife’s retirement potluck dinner recently, I spoke to her family about the present state of education in Ohio, and then my mind started working. I taught in a district that had 85 percent reduced-price lunches. We were one of the poorest districts in the state, which means that for every dollar I was paid as a teacher, the state of Ohio paid 85 percent and the local residents paid 15 percent.
But herein lies the problem.
We had an administrator who retired at $80,000 a year, was rehired at the same salary he had just left behind, and then got another $40,000 a year from the State Teachers Retirement System, making him $120,000 a year.
So, when he was rehired, 85 percent of his $80,000 was paid by the taxpayers of Ohio. In this one simple action by the local school board, every taxpayer in our state was held liable for his salary.
A new principal was denied a chance to become an educational leader, new educational ideas were lost and the school system became an example of cronyism. And the state once more was scheduled to pay 85 percent of a salary that could have been a lot less if a new and younger person full of creative ideas had been hired.
We shouldn’t be so willing to spend the public money of hard-working Ohioans.
Members of the public should have some say in the matter, since it’s their money.
I believe Ohio Senate Bill 5 would put the power of spending their hard-earned dollars back in the hands of the taxpayers, just where it should be.
DAVID A. KUNKLER