Edison teachers upset about pay freeze, low base pay

Stalled contract negotiations frustrate teachers, about 60 of whom attended Wednesday's school board meeting
Aaron Krause
Oct 18, 2012

About 60 teachers in the Edison school district attended Wednesday's board meeting to express frustration with stalled contract negotiations and what they consider base pay that is too low.

The teachers all wore light green shirts bearing the words "Edison Teachers Association" on the front and "Achieving Excellence Year After Year" on the back.

Edison High School teacher Ryan Meredith spoke on behalf of the teachers, reading from a statement. Several times, a round of applause followed his statements.

"As a representative of the Edison Teachers Association, I am here tonight to convey the concerns, questions and frustrations of our 90-plus members to you, the Edison Local School Board," Meredith said. "This is a very emotional time for all involved."

Meredith said Edison teachers' base pay is ranked third from the bottom in the county. He added if the State Teachers Retirement System pickup is negated, "Edison's base pay will be dead last in the county.

"Because of the hard work and dedication of the members of the Edison Teachers Association and the parents and students of our community, the Edison Local School District has been rated Excellent and Excellent with Distinction for most of the last 10 years."

Meredith also spelled out the history of this year's negotiations between the school board and the Edison Teachers Association. The first session took place on April 27, the second on May 1 and the third on June 4. At the conclusion of the latter session, the parties agreed to call in a federal mediator.

The first mediation session took place on July 2 and it was the only such session, Meredith said.

"No further contact was made to come back to the table and a letter was sent to the Edison Teachers Association declaring 'ultimate impasse' on Aug. 28, 2012 and a salary step freeze was unilaterally implemented.

"Based on these facts, the Edison Teachers Association asks, 'Why?'"

Later in the meeting, long after the teachers left, board president Jodi Harris said while members of the body listened, they chose not to respond publicly because negotiations are ongoing.

After the meeting, superintendent Tom Roth told reporters he could not comment, other than to say the two sides have reached an "ultimate impasse."

The teachers who attended had more questions.

"Excellent teachers, giving their all every day for the Edison community, already being paid lower than most of their colleagues in the county are now expected to have their salaries frozen and further decimated. Why?

"After three regular negotiations sessions and one mediation session, the Edison Teachers Association is supposed to believe that the board and its representatives have done all they can to bargain in good faith. Why didn't the board meet with the association's negotiation team and the federal mediator and sit across the table from us and declare ultimate impasse?"

Meredith said that instead, teachers received a letter about the impasse.

"Why?" he asked.

Former board member Don Gurney asked the board to "stand up for what's right, not politically correct."

The school district is asking voters to approve a five-year, 3.5-mill additional levy on Nov. 6.

Gurney asked district treasurer Jude Hammond how much that levy would raise if voters pass it.

Hammond said $816,000.

That will only get the district through a year, at best, Gurney said.

"You're not even raising enough money to negotiate in good faith," he said. "Come together, put away your Tea Party attitude and do your job for the kids."

A round of applause followed that remark.

Meredith asked the board to re-instate the salary steps and return to the bargaining table, a request which was met with further applause from the teachers.

In related business, Hammond told the board he received 44 step grievances from the teachers' union. Board members decided to hold a special board meeting at 4 p.m. Nov. 9 to listen to those grievances. The meeting will most likely take place in executive session.

Comments

tiredofthecrap

wearing t-shirts to school and passing out flyers at school events is petty. This has been a long time coming and again, the taxpayers are sick of it. Its time to pay into your own retirement and benefits or look for a new job. Again I will be voting NO on Nov.6th.

tell it how it is

They have paid into their own retirements and benefits already, just so you know. Check your facts and actually make an educated vote.

BlueAngel

I don't believe teachers need a raise.. and I will vote NO in November... I do not like some of the teachers in the middle school..Some of them get away with things, like yelling at students and embarrassing them and when the child goes to the parents, they go to the principle and the principle does nothing.. Kids get bullied and nothing is done about it..I have voted NO for the past few years and that is what I am doing this time.. let them pay into their retirement and insurance.. everyone else has too.. I thought this school district was an aswome one when I was going to school elsewhere and now that my kids go here I am not to sure and have considered putting my house up for sale and moving.. Heck..Western Reserve is better than this!

arnmcrmn

see ya

StuHart

Hopefully your kids don't go to you for spelling and grammar lessons and they simply come home and whine to you about how mean the teachers are. Principle? lol

Warhol_89

@ BlueAngel I couldn't agree more. As a former student of Edison years ago, I saw the exact same thing with teachers yelling at and embarrassing the innocent students while the ones actually causing trouble got away with everything. Some of the teachers even had their suck-up students which were normally the jocks and cheerleaders, and they were allowed to talk to each other during class which I find very immature for a teacher to allow even if it is a preparation for the hardships of going out into the real world later in life. However, I will give Edison credit for it's nice teachers, and i'm sure a few of them are still working there. But I remember a few that I know are still teaching at Edison, and they don't deserve a raise at all or even a job teaching if that. Just my humble opinion.

KnuckleDragger

While the rest of the workers in this country have lost $4,300/yr in salary teachers continue to get raises. For those of you that thought it was a good idea to scrap SB5, your wish is finally coming true. Get ready to pay the piper. This is not the only teachers union in the area that is asking people whose wages have stagnated or fallen, to open their wallet and give more.

tell it how it is

As a recent graduate of this school, I can fully say that the teachers there deserve what they are asking for. Edison's school board is severally messed up and needs to be taken care of, ever since I remember they haven't been doing what's best for the school.
I voted YES to the levy. The district itself is an extremely good one, take a look at our ratings! The teachers need a better pay, the school needs to be upgraded (cardboard walls, people, really?!?).
And you, ^, they have already paid into their own retirements and benefits. Go actually look at everything that have been cut from the teachers in the past 4 years, and tell me or anyone else they're not.

dearme

Free rides are over. Let them pay 70% of there insurance like everyone one else. Again I will be voting NO on Nov 6th

MiddleRight

They don't pay their retirement or health care, accrue sick and vacation days for life, and work about 8 months a year. And they do it all for the kids at about $40,000-50,000 year. Then, when they turn 52, they'll retire with 30 years, draw retirement from the state, and get rehired.
Welcome to the reality the rest of us live in everyday.
Try paying into SS(FICA 7.65%), which probably won't be there when we retire. Then pay $300/month for your insurance. Then, pay a sitter during the summer for your kids, because you work year round. You get 2 weeks vacation and 1 week of sick time, which you either use or lose. Oh yeah, and each December, your boss will graciously give you a 2% raise, "if it's in the budget."
I realize you chose your profession and I chose mine, but get off the underpaid crap already.

tell it how it is

actually they work 11 months a year. July is their only "summer" time, unlike their students.

ERNesbitt

You might want to recheck your facts. Teachers in northern Ohio typically start at the low $30K range, usually depending on subject. Most choose supplemental contracts (e.g. coaching, etc.) to bolster their income. They pay into STRS just as we pay FICA, and into their own 401K if they choose. The matching options are bargained by the union or accepted upon contract for non-union teachers. This is no different than any other employer. Ohio is an "At-Will Employment" state. That means you can choose to be employed and under what terms just as much as your employer chooses to ask you to come back. There are four options in an at-will state: You can put up with me, you can fire me, I can put up with you, or I can quit.

$300/month? You must be single, or not paying for family insurance. Welcome to the era of social medicine. How do you think they afford to cover medical attention for people who can't pay? If you guessed "they take it out of my pocket", you're correct. It's just going to get worse... And 2% raises? Look at Mercy's strike, ask a nurse at any local hospital when they last got a raise and how high it was. Shoot, I would challenge you to find anyone who makes under $100K/yr that received even a cost-of-living increase let alone a 2% raise.

You seriously need to take off the "it's all about me"-colored glasses and pay attention to the indicators. The only reason the economy hasn't tanked like the depression is because the Federal Reserve keeps pumping money into the system depreciating our currency to worthless pieces of paper (but that's another rant). Unemployment, government cutbacks, rising prices, and decreasing wages are all just symptoms of a larger problem.

bleushell4

I don't think I have ever seen or heard it better!! Way to put it it MiddleRight!!

MiddleRight

And Gurney, the "Tea Party Attitude" you refer to, is about fiscal responsibility. We wouldn't want anyone to do that would we!

tiredofthecrap

re: tell it like it is... you may think they deserve more and thats your opinion. We are all cutting back, losing jobs, lower pay..the list goes on and on. Their retirement and benefits are mainly paid through our property taxes. We are taxed to death. Enough is Enough. If they cant cut back like every other responsible person then they need to move on.

Brock Lee

if the dont like the pay they can go to another school system and get replaced by crappy new teachers cuz you get what you pay for who cares they only are kids

truckin

The teachers of Edison WILL NOT QUIT based on low wages. There is a sense of school pride in many. Those i applaud. Then there is a sense of arrogance in others that would NOT be accepted in other districts. REALLY, where they going to go? Every district (nation wide) has had MAJOR layoffs. Real Estate values have come down, as has the tax collected. It is what it is. Town folks have lost wages etc. With some relief in there pockets due to low property tax, do you really think there going to vote to have that same money taken on the backside for a levy?

swiss family

I have a question... does a 1st grade teacher earn the same amount as a 12 th grade teacher??? if they both have the same amount of time in... If they do, maybe it is time to redistribute the money.. it seems obvious to me that it would be a lot easier to teach kinder gardeners and grade school kids .. so what if we reduced their pay, and added it to the higher grade teachers????I think we would end up with higher paid qualified and competent teachers in the higher grades, and highly paid babysitters, even at a reduced rate for the grade schoolers..

Get Facts Straight

You obviously know NOTHING about being a teacher/educator. What a ridiculous idea! You know NOTHING about what is being taught in any grade level let alone the multitude of responsibilities in each grade level. Your comments are insulting and highly uneducated.

truckin

I think swiss has a point. Look at EHOVE daycare center they can teach kids the alphabet and write there names, and there only students themselves. Sorry but it doesn't take a chemist major to teach grade school.

Interesting

HILARIOUS!! You are judging educators (at any level) and you don't even know the difference between "their" "there" or "they're". Yeah, thank goodness someone as smart as you had commented. It will be taken to heart. Hahahaha!

luvblues2

Spot on, Interesting. :)

truckin

My grammar doesn't matter. I admit to low education level. But my for my skill my pay level is above educators and that my dear is what p o's off college educated folks huh? When the FACTS can not be disputed all that is left is cutting down the opposition huh?

truckin

and remember that i received a full 12 yr diploma from MILAN, EDISON so how does that speak for educators

fishinnut

Dear Truckin,
It speaks for you. Everyone is responsible for taking advantage of their opportunities. Be smart enough to show the teaching profession respect. As a community we all want what is best for our kids. Bashing gets us no where. Open lines of communication and find a solution. We all benefit from a great school system. Be smart enough to know that.

KnuckleDragger

@Interesting. I find it laughable that you're calling out someone on their grammar when in fact you appear to have problems yourself. From your post, "Yeah, thank goodness someone as smart as you HAVE commented." I believe the proper word would be HAD. I sure hope you are not an educator.

fishinnut

Dear Swiss Family, You really need to do some research. Everyone knows that educating small children is technical and complex. I want the person who spends 7 plus hours a day with my children to be a professional. It takes a trained professional to teach 25 different children with 25 different learning styles and 25 different attention spans at the same time. Also, teachers must identify learing disabilities, help physicians detect attention issues, and make sure Johhny has breakfast because his parents can't seem to handle that because they just bought a new I-Phone. And Duh! do you really think elementary teachers babysit. Have you not heard of the third grade guarentee? Third graders who don't pass the reading OAA, do not go to 4th grade. Education is a priority. I have no problem paying for a great eduacation. Edison teachers have proven that they are great, look at the state report cards. Would you suggest that a dentist that treats small children would get less pay, because their teeth are smaller? How embarrassing for the Swiss Family.

Get Facts Straight

As usual, the headline is misleading. ETA is not upset over low base pay. They are upset over the fact that the board of ed refuses to negotiate in good faith. Additionally, one of the sticking points has nothing to do with money whatsoever, but instead about class sizes. Imagine that, something that would benefit the children. Ask the board how much money has been saved in the district the past several decades due to the teachers good faith negotiation with regards to accepting an STRS pick up instead of salary increases. This STRS pick up actually saves the district money because they save on unemployment taxes, workers comp, etc. all things that are determined by salary amounts. Over the past four decades, how much has that saved the district money? At retirement, it does not benefit the teachers because their final retirement is determined by the final years of salary. Less salary equals less retirement...all to save the district money. How many of you would agree to a nearly 10% cut in salary? The teachers of this district are trying to negotiate a fair contract. They have given a lot to this district including their own money for supplies. They have worked hard to maintain an Excellent Rating for the past 8 years. No district is perfect and no teacher is perfect and cannot please everyone. But overall, the teachers in this district have done a great job education the children. You may not agree that the school schedule during the year is perfect, but until you have taught in the classroom for more than a day, perhaps you don't have the correct perspective about the job that is done. They HAVE chosen this field and all of it's ups and downs, but they also deserve some respect for having done so. If you think you can do better, be my guest. Until then, don't criticize.

tell it how it is

My only point is Edison has some AMAZING teachers. They're kind and really care about their students, I do know that first hand. I have also seen first hand what their pay cuts, job cuts, ect. are doing to the school. I got really close to a lot of them, and personally know the struggles they're going through and what all is being cut.
To "BlueAngel," yes, the middle school needs work, there's two teachers in particular I can say have no right to be teaching students, especially not at that age level. But there is still a lot of good ones there. And I've known the principal for a very long time, when I was little, and when I had her in class she was an amazing teacher as well as almost a counselor. My little brother is there and he loves her, and he didn't know her like I did from before.

Get Facts Straight

What's also at issue is the idea of respect for the job that is done. It seems that these professionals are damned if they do and damned if they don't. It seems that no matter how much is given, it's either not good enough or unappreciated. Today it seems that educators are the "punching bags" of society. Instead of "punching", ask your local school how you can help. It doesn't take a lot of time, money, or effort. Sometimes all it takes is a supportive attitude from everyone. Be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Ask how you can help make things better.

Pages