The Dispatch reports that, by an unofficial margin of 8,204 to 6,284, the Hilliard City School District (HCSD) ballot issue failed yesterday. The 6.9-mil permanent property tax hike was billed as necessary to avoid cuts to educational and extracurricular programs in one of the state’s best districts. What sort of cuts did we vote for by turning down Issue 7?
The $3,890,279 list of possible reductions includes:
- eliminating 51.5 administrative, certified and classified positions;
- reducing 247 classified positions;
- eliminating all middle school athletic programs;
- eliminating gifted instruction;
- eliminating fifth grade band and strings programs; and,
- eliminating transportation services for field trips, daycare services and FOCUS (gifted) shuttles.
As proof HCSD is serious about controlling spending, the district offers the following:
Since 2008, Hilliard City Schools has cut more than $6.5 million from its budget. These reductions consist of:
- pay freezes for all employees including administrators, teachers and support staff;
- elimination of five and delayed implementation of one administrative positions;
- eliminating 54.5 teaching positions including K-12 teachers, K-5 guidance counselors, K-5 unified arts teachers, school psychologist, adaptive physical education teachers and some gifted teachers;
- elimination of 55 classified positions including noon aids, some high school hall monitors and some district repair technicians;
- reduced 11 preschool aides from five to four days per week;
- not filling two high school positions;
- reduced stipends and extended days;
- elimination of some programs;
- reduction of central office and building budgets;
- more efficient energy pricing and consumption; and,
- decreasing transportation costs by increasing the number of group stops.
Can you spot what’s missing from both the past and planned cuts? That’s right: salary reductions. Though HCSD is willing to cut services, fire employees, and ask for a massive tax hike on the district’s property owners, the local branch of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) renders an obvious solution impossible.
Hilliard City Schools could save $3.9 million per year without firing a single employee or cutting a single service. In 2010, 517 of 1,975 employees were paid between $75,000 and $100,000. What if we rounded down and assumed each was paid not a penny more than $75,000? What if we then cut pay for each of these 517 employees by 10% and left them struggling to survive on $67,500 a year?
75,000 x 0.10 = 7,500
7,500 x 517 = $3,877,500
Easy as falling down, we’ve saved Hilliard taxpayers nearly as much as the cuts proposed by Superintendent McVey. That’s without even touching McVey’s $158,241 salary, or the salaries of the other 23 HCSD employees paid in excess of $100,000 in 2010. What if we also took 10% from these employees, assuming each was paid no more than $100,000?
100,000 x 0.10 = 10,000
10,000 x 24 = $240,000
To be sure, a 10% pay cut is drastic, but it’s for the children. If the affected employees care more about their pay than about the students whose academic and extracurricular programs the district is willing to cut, they’re welcome to look elsewhere for jobs paying $67,500 – $90,000 with lengthy summer and winter vacations. HCSD will no doubt have a wealth of applicants for the vacated positions, given central Ohio’s unemployment rate.
As of 2010, more than 27% of HCSD employees were paid $75,000 or greater. The latest Census Bureau fact sheet – from 2008, and certainly higher than the 2010 figures – pegs median household income in Franklin County at $51,246. A fourth of HCSD’s employees are paid bushels more than the county’s median household… yet when the budget is tight, teachers are fired and services cut instead of trimming salaries. What no market could ever sustain, the union forever demands.
Something to keep in mind during the union media blitz against Senate Bill 5! If you’re still not convinced, take a look at OEA pay and political spending. Lest you assume OEA is an anomaly, check out pay and political spending in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero and Columbus Tea Party.