Reduction talks turn to teachers' pay
While many residents have suffered pay cuts, community member Dan Hayes argues Reynoldsburg School District workers received raises.
In a few cases, teachers received raises in excess of 5 percent in three consecutive years, Hayes said.
At the Nov. 23 meeting of the district's Finance and Accountability Committee, ongoing talks continued on ways the district can reduce expenditures after the community voted down an operating levy earlier this month.
Hayes suggested that the district reduce payroll to avoid a deficit budget.
The starting salary for a Reynoldsburg teacher is $38,000 while the state minimum starting salary for teachers is $20,000, Hayes said.
Resident Bruce Rushton said reducing the pay rate could cost the district quality teachers.
"Consider what you get for your money," Rushton said.
Resident Elaine Tornero said she did not believe salary reductions would equate to less-qualified teachers.
The district could lose a jaded, over-paid teacher for a young, perky newcomer, Tornero said.
"There is a glut of teachers right now," Tornero said.
With minimal job opportunities, teachers are not likely to leave the district, Tornero said.
Tornero said she advocates a rate freeze rather than pay cuts.
Resident Sylvan Morley said he also believes that pay reductions would result in a lower quality education for Reynoldsburg students, however the district may have no other option.
"It comes down to a point where we may have to reduce (payroll), but we have got to understand the consequences, and accept the outcome," Morley said.
Morley said he knows there are Reynoldsburg residents on fixed incomes who cannot afford more taxes.
Superintendent Steve Dackin said he is also interested in overhauling the district pay structure.
"Our employees get what the community expects them to do," Dackin said.
The district and the union representing the classified staff have reached an impasse in negotiations, Dackin said.
A federal mediator will intervene, he said.
The teacher union's contract will end at the conclusion of the current school year, Dackin said.
By the end of the 2009 fiscal year, the district's expenditures will exceed revenues by approximately $5 million, District Treasurer Tammy Miller said.
Salaries and benefits comprise 79 percent of the district's nearly $60 million budget, Miller said.