There is no evidence that ending or eviscerating collective bargaining would have a salutary effect on student success in the future, or that ending it is necessary to institute still-needed reforms. In fact, ending collective bargaining could and likely would have unintended negative effects.
Nevertheless, there is no denying the severity of Ohio’s budget crisis, the difficult financial straits of many local school districts, or the likelihood that further sacrifice will be required, not just from teachers, but from all Ohio citizens. While Innovation Ohio deeply believes that future sacrifice should be shared fairly and not limited to those at the middle and lower income levels, that is a subject that goes beyond the scope of this analysis.
What can be concluded from this analysis, however, is that past experience clearly shows that necessary sacrifices and reforms can be achieved through the collective bargaining framework that has existed in Ohio since the Reagan Administration.
Today, the conservative-leaning Buckeye Institute issued the following statement in response:
A Short Response to the Innovation Ohio Report
"Ohio Teachers and Collective Bargaining: An Analysis"
Matt A. Mayer, President February 28, 2011
First, we welcome Innovation Ohio to the public policy debate. Innovation Ohio joins the existing pack of progressive think tanks-Policy Matters Ohio, ProgressOhio, the Center for Community Solutions, Economic Policy Institute, and the Center for Working Class Studies-advocating for the same set of policies for Ohio. We will continue to do our best to keep up with these groups.
Next, we are perplexed that Innovation Ohio (and the Ohio Education Association), given the reportʼs findings that teachers make more outside of collective bargaining, does not support Senate Bill 5. Specifically, the report found that "the BLS data reveal that the more states erode teachersʼ rights to collectively bargain, the more it likely will lead, on average, to higher salary increases." Perhaps they believe teachers would rather have more process than higher pay.
Finally, the report found that "Ohioʼs kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school teachers saw their salaries, on average, drop 3.8% between 2008 and 2009." This finding, based upon a limited national survey, conflicts with the more comprehensive school district data from the Ohio Department of Education.1 The ODE data shows that, instead of pay cuts, teachers across Ohio saw their median pay increase from 2008 ($49,951.40) to 2009 ($50,557.50) by $606.00, or 1.2 percent. Ohio teachersʼ median pay rose even higher from 2009 to 2010 ($52,001.00), as the median pay jumped by $1,443.50, or 2.9 percent.
As the financial projections of the 613 school districts show, by 2015, 91 percent of Ohioʼs school districts will reach severe deficits. Compensation packages will swallow 96 percent of projected revenues. With local taxes already high, homeowners across Ohio likely will not support increased operational tax levies. We look forward to seeing our friends on the left and the OEA provide solutions to this mounting crisis. For a district-by-district financial review, please see the easy-to-read charts at http://buckeyeinstitute.org/reports/school-districts.
1 Ohio Department of Education, District Data - Teacher Information 2008-2010, Interactive Local Report Card Home (accessed on February 28, 2011) available at http://ilrc.ode.state.oh.us/Downloads.asp.