I had a conversation with my brother this weekend. His wife is a teacher in a public school system. His question was “why are they going after school teacher/employees now?” I suggested to him that with the collapse of the tech bubble, followed up by the housing bust, and the resultant reduction in State and Local tax revenues these school districts need to spend less. Some, including Obama and Sherrod Brown call this an “Assault on Unions.” Is it an assault when Atlanta is cutting union benefits (by a Democratic Mayor who was supported by unions), or in Chicago, where Obama’s former Chief of Staff, who is trying to reduce the cost of the public school system? No, it’s merely economic reality. And yet, the Ohio Teachers unions are amassing a war chest to pass a referendum to keep their sweet compensation and benefits deals by allowing Ohioans to vote on Senate Bill 5.
Estimates of the average pay of Ohioans in the private sector are around $40,000 per year. These workers probably are contributing to a 401(k) and maybe some match from their employer. Remember too that the salary and benefits that the public unions enjoy comes out of the Ohio taxpayers pay checks. Are we in a situation, where “Joe Sixpack’s” taxes is paying lavish benefits for his kids teachers? You decide. Here are some charts that show some interesting details for the school systems/districts in and around Columbus. You can click on the charts to see a more clear image. This data is from the Buckeye Institute teacher salary database.
Columbus has 78 school district employees who make more than $100,000 per year. I limited the axis so as to show the details on the other districts.