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Teacher: Issue 2 not good for students

Published: Tue, October 18, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick



A Boardman High School teacher says the passage of state Issue 2 would adversely impact students.

Dave Pavlansky, the president of the Boardman teachers union, said Monday at the headquarters of We Are Ohio, a statewide organization spearheading opposition to Issue 2, that the bill “silences” the voices of educators about classroom sizes and other issues that impact students.

Pavlansky, an English teacher with 30 years of classroom experience, also said the bill “takes away collective bargaining.”

Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe said, “That’s not true.”

The bill, if passed, would permit unions to continue negotiating wages, working conditions and hours of work.

The bill would require public employees to pay 10 percent of their retirement pickup and at least 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums.

Most state government employees already pay those amounts. The savings would come from union members on the local level, many who don’t pay those percentages, Munroe said.

The bill creates new rules for what can be negotiated, giving management more control and power.

“There is nothing in Issue 2 that doesn’t permit teachers from discussing anything with school administrators,” Munroe said. “Only health care and retirement [pickups] are off the table as far as negotiations.”

Pavlansky, surrounded by five other Boardman teachers, said his union members approved a three-year contract in June that calls for no increase in base salary and also freezes stop increases for the first two years of the deal. For the previous two years, Boardman teachers received no base-pay increases.

During these five years, the teachers have given back $1.5 million to the district, Pavlansky said.

But Issue 2 goes too far, he said.

The issue would make it easier for school-board members and administrators to fire teachers based on personalities, Pavlansky said.

Approval of Issue 2 “would remove all workplace protections,” he said. “If a teacher speaks up and becomes a squeaky wheel,” it would be easy to get rid of that teacher.

If Issue 2 is approved, it would remove seniority. Munroe said that’s not a bad thing.

“No longer would longevity be the only factor when considering teachers for promotions, layoffs and other issues,” he said. “The basic goal is to give local governments and school districts a better tool to control costs.”

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