Tightening the reins of teacher unions in Ohio

Yesterday, Ohio State Senator Shannon Jones (R- Clearcreek Twp.) introduced Senate Bill 5, which would dramatically overhaul public collective bargaining in Ohio (which has been in place for roughly 28 years).? The bill would prohibit state employees from engaging in collective bargaining and make massive changes to local collective bargaining laws and local public union rights, impacting everyone from firefighters to nurses, prison guards to teachers. Those around Capitol Square oughtn't be surprised ? after all, as a candidate Governor John Kasich expressed his concerns with public-sector unions and famously vowed to ?break the back of organized labor in the schools.?

Speaking of education unions, here's a peek at what changes could be in store for teachers and school districts in the Buckeye State if the bill passed as-is:

  • Health insurance as a subject of collective bargaining would be prohibited; district management would choose health insurance offerings.
  • Districts and other public employers would be prohibited from paying more than 80% of health insurance cost for employees.
  • State law regarding leave time for teachers would be scrapped; instead, school boards would adopt leave polices describing how leave is accrued, how it can be used, and how it can be carried over or cashed out.
  • The step-and-lane salary schedule for teachers would go away, replaced with the requirement that ?each teacher shall be paid a salary based on merit.?
  • Teachers would be limited to one-year contracts.
  • School districts in a state of fiscal emergency could void collective bargaining agreements.

Several more hearings around the bill will take place in the coming weeks, and the bill is sure to change as it navigates the legislative process. Stay tuned to see how this develops and what the impact will be on K-12 education in Ohio.

-Bianca Speranza

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