Please read and share this letter to the Plain Dealer editor from a Grow Shaker supporter.
It’s OK to say “No” to the 6.9 mil Shaker Heights School Levy. Don’t vote on Issue 6 before reviewing these points:
1. Per compareohioschools.org, among comparable districts, SHSD is the second highest paying school district with an average teacher salary of $73,191.
2. The district tax rate of $2,811 per $100,000 is top in the state and already more than double the average of $1,022.
3. If the levy should fail, the revenue stream, which currently funds the district at one of the highest levels in the state, $16,420 per student, will remain in place.
4. Teachers receive generous guaranteed pension plans with inflation protection and healthcare in retirement far outstripping anything available in the private sector.
5. During the sluggish economy, 2003-2013, the average Shaker resident’s salary increased by only 8% while teacher salary increased by 30%!
6. The district threatens taxpayers with teacher cuts if the levy does not pass. Teacher cuts will only occur if the school board, administration and unions refuse to negotiate and choose an unsustainable wage scale over the curriculum.
7. Extensive data analysis reveals that there is little correlation between school spending and student achievement.
8. If you have a home value of $350,000, your annual tax bill will increase by $845.00
9. SHSD indicated that teacher’s salaries were frozen since 2009, but they are not telling you the full story: during that time period the average teacher salary rose by 4% since step increases were in place in 2012 and 2013 plus a 1% stipend across the board increase in both years as well. Misleading statements such as these should not be tolerated.
It’s time for solutions that will keep the budget in balace without negatively impacting the curriculum or the students and bring more money into our classrooms such as:
* Bring healthcare benefits in line with the private sector. Teachers and administrators pay just 12% of their health care cost compared to 30% in Ohio’s private sector.
* since 77% of the school’s expenditures comes from salary and benefits, it makes good fiscal sense to slow the growth of these expenses to no more than the wage and benefit costs in the private sector.
It’s these kind of solutions that the school board refuses to recognize, because they don’t want to negotiate with the union and it’s easier to keep asking us for more money. Vote no against the levy and vote for common sense solutions that we all use in our own homes and businesses! As a parent of two in the Shaker schools, this was not an easy decision, but it’s hard to argue with the facts.