September 15, 2014

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Mystery mailing has Columbia Schools superintendent fuming

Columbia Township residents received this flyer in the mail urging them not to vote for the school levy.

Columbia Township residents received this flyer in the mail urging them not to vote for the school levy.

Read: Superintendent’s Response

COLUMBIA — A mass mailing sent to residents in Columbia urging them to vote against the school district’s upcoming levy has Superintendent Graig Bansek responding with a vengeance to dispel what he calls erroneous information.

But just who sent the material is the real mystery.

Beyond a small message that said “Paid for by Concerned Citizens” there are no other identifying markings on the postcard that would let residents know who is leading the opposition effort.

Graig Bansek

Graig Bansek

“I’m not against the residents speaking out if they speak out with the correct facts,” Bansek said. “I am against those who try to use scare tactics and those who try to skew information that is misleading to those who may be on the fence in how they plan to vote. I want people to have their own opinions based on fact and vote. How they vote is up to them.”

The cover of the anonymous mailing reads, “Important Information on Issue 29.” On the reverse side, the mailing lists several reasons why voters should be against the levy, including a “history of bad decisions” by the board, the decision to close the old Copopa building and build on to the existing middle school — which has been done and was funded through a passed local bond issue — and the district disseminating incorrect information about its effective millage of 20.65 mills instead of 37.58 mills.

“Perhaps a state takeover would be the best solution,” the mailing said. “A state takeover would cause the firing of the superintendent and treasurer, the two most responsible for these most recent problems along with the removal of the school board, who approved the bad decisions – a house cleaning. The children don’t suffer when a state takeover happens. The students still get what the state mandates. Didn’t the Strongsville strike teach us anything?”

The front of the mailling

The cover of the mailing includes the text, “Paid for by Concerned Citizens.”

Bansek provided The Chronicle-Telegram in September with literature with the lower millage when discussing the levy and called hours later to say he had made a mistake before the figure went into print.

“We have been truthful when asked questions and when we didn’t know the answers we got them,” he said. “When we made mistakes, we owned up to them and quickly told people we were wrong.”

Bansek said he learned of the mailing Thursday through angry phone calls from residents and employees who live in the district. Several even came to his office wanting to know more information about the group and clarification on some of the claims, including one indicating that Bansek and the treasurer voted to give themselves raises after voters approved the bond issue that funded the Copopa addition and middle school renovation.

“The sense that I’m getting from people I have talked to is they are very angry and they believe this mailing is working against what the Concerned Citizens group is trying to do,” he said. “I’m not surprised we have a group opposed to our levy. We always have a small group that is against not just our levies, but every levy in the township, county and state. But if they want to inform voters they should do so with correct information. Just call my office or the treasurer and request anything you want to see.”

Thursday night, Bansek and Treasurer Patricia Weber sent out a cosigned mass email to staff members, residents signed up for electronic newsletters and members of the school board with a rebuttal to many of the statements in the mailing including how neither have taken raises in two years and by law cannot arbitrarily vote to give themselves raises outside their negotiated employment contracts.

“We will investigate where and who might have sent this erroneous mailing out to our residents,” Bansek wrote. “We have also been in contact with our legal department about taking civil action.”

Bansek said Columbia has cut more than $3 million in the past four years and the district has been honest about its need for more revenue from voters since 2010. If Issue 29 fails, the district will have to cut an additional $617,000 from its budget to stave off a deficit and possible state takeover.

“It is very unfortunate that five days prior to the election, we have to deal with inaccurate information being distributed,” Bansek said.

Whoever runs the Concerned Citizens group, their identity is not known to the Lorain County Board of Elections.

Director Paul Adams said he is now aware of such a group, but if two or more people are working together to disseminate information pertaining to an election issue they are required by law to fill out paperwork declaring the committee with the county office.

“An individual person who wants to spend a nominal amount of money to put up a sign or other small thing to show their support or opposition does not need to do that, but once you start talking about two or more people working together to influence an election, the law is very clear,” Adams said.

Adams said such anonymous mailings are unusual, but when they do spring up it’s usually during elections with local issues. But the difficulty in finding out the source of the information means it’s not always easy to file a complaint with the state election commission.

“But anyone can do that,” he said. “Sometimes residents may have first-hand information that we do not as to who violated election law and they can file a complaint on their own.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.


  • Brian_Reinhardt

    I would have liked to see the “rebuttal to many of the statements in the mailing” because there are really not many “statements of fact” in the mailing, mostly opinion.

    I also love how Bansek claims that there’s a group out there that is opposed to their levy because they’re opposed to “all levies”. That’s a pretty presumptuous statement coming from a leader in education.

    I think Paul Adams from the Board of Elections pretty well summed up everything the person who mailed the flyer needed to know in how to “avoid” any kind of sanction by the Board of Elections.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    “Director Paul Adams said he is now aware of such a group,
    but if two or more people are working together to disseminate information
    pertaining to an election issue they are required by law to fill out paperwork
    declaring the committee with the county office.

    …but once you start talking about two or more people working
    together to influence an election, the law is very clear.”

    HOGWASH! Just a scare tactic from the Gestapo.

  • Mark B

    The schools continually use SCARE TACTICS so why cant a opposition use them. Why not put in the school levy the fact that the majority of the money from the levy will go to pay raises for the staff ? I don’t think there is ever very much truth to anything related to elections.

  • Allen

    I read a letter in the Rural Urban supporting the levy by a teacher who lives in Berea who thinks I should surrender more of my income to the teachers union ‘for the children’. She did not state that she would be willing to forego any step increases for the same cause.

  • Allison Plata

    My name is Allison Plata, I have been a teacher for 5 years and 4 of them
    have been with Columbia Local Schools. For a small school district we have
    done and will continue to do an excellent job at educating our students.
    Since, I started with CLSD I have not had a pay raise. You are welcome to
    go request my file because it is public record. It is very disheartening
    to hear people belittling our job as educators based on FALSE RUMORS OF
    PAY RAISES. Unfortunately, there is a cost to educate our children. It is
    our responsibility to provide a good quality education to the children of
    CLSD and we ALL have to help with providing them an education. When you
    hear about all of the cuts that will take place if the levy does not pass
    and think “scare tactics” then you have a skewed perception. It is
    reality. The changes that could happen to CLSD if the levy does not pass
    has to be told realistically so people can make an informed decision based
    off of FACTS! We don’t like to hear the truth because it is hard to take
    but it doesn’t make it any less real. Pleased be an informed voter and do
    not believe rumors. Check your facts and visit our levy website at
    http://www.columbialevy.org before you make a decision. Thank you.

    • Mark B

      $215.00 a day is not bad are you shooting for $250 ?
      Oh and this does not factor in all of the other things like health insurance and other perks

      • Allison Plata

        If I use your figures for my annual income before taxes, health insurance, ect. would be $38,915. But then there is taxes in the real world (using 30% which is close but lower than the actual and I won’t take anything else into consideration) that would equal $27,240.50 but since I get my pay all year-round my actual hourly amount for a full time job is: $27,240.50 / (52 weeks in a year) = $523.85 (weekly pay) / 40 Hours = $13.10.
        Since you think I am over paid for my job please tell me: What do you think I should get paid to educate children and prepare them for a lifetime?

        • Mark B

          You complain about your taxes , but don’t seem to mind asking others that make less than you to fork over more of their pay to support yours. Getting 3 months on in the summer has to be worth something, the rest of us are still working and be lucky to get 2 weeks off. remember it was your choice to become a teacher. For the actual amount of WORK that you do 13.10 sounds about right. Reading from txt books, walking to the office to photo copy the hand outs and tests, and then grading them. Yea sounds like you have it pretty tough. There are folks that do hard labor outside in the hot sun and cold weather that wish they made $13.10 and when these people come home from work they know they have done a hard days work.

          • Bill

            Didn’t see anywhere in Allsion’s comments where she complained about taxes. Stated a fact is all.
            Teachers are vastly underpaid. They know what they are getting into. Asked to do more and more, working longer hours, hours at home that don’t get equated. Dealing with the ever more troublesome punks and thugs that are in the classroom not caring that there are children who are trying to learn. Dealing with those punk/thug children’s parents but yet go into the profession anyhow.
            As you stated it is their choice. The same holds true for the folks that do hard labor outside in the hot sun and cold weather. They do it by choice. By either liking that particular profession or by not bettering themselves to get a better job.

          • Allen

            .Teachers are vastly underpaid….

            You state this as though it is a fact, but it is really your opinion. I would submit that You, myself, Allison and Urban Meyer are all paid exactly what the market says we are worth.

            We all have to do more with less, we all are under pressure to increase our perceived value to our employers.

            Keep in mind, the average Allison will retire in her early to mid 50′s, live into her mid 80′s and be paid for roughly 60 years for 30 years work. Looking at it like this, the numbers don’t seem nearly so bad.

            Also, as stated elsewhere, if any of us feel as though our worth is not being equaled by our compensation, we are free to take our talents elsewhere.

            Esteemed economist Dr Terry Moe, presently at Stanford, conducted a study with Dr. Chubb while at the Brookings Institute and came to this conclusion….”as to the correlation between school funding and school performance, the unanimous conclusion is that there is none”.

          • Bob Owens

            Mark-then become a teacher. Envy and hate.

        • Brian_Reinhardt

          Are you kidding me?

          You actually think because your pay is spread out over 12 months we are expected to believe you work 52 weeks a year?

          What about Spring Break, Christmas Break, days off for Thanksgiving?

          You need to compute your salary to days worked not weeks you get a paycheck just like the State of Ohio does.

          Yes, we value teachers, but come on. Give it a break will ya’. You work ONLY 184 days a year and no matter how you get paid. That equates to $26.44 an hour at your current salary.

          • Lisa Carter

            Most teachers work their regular 184 day contract but work countless hours off the clock. Most teachers also are going back to school continually to update skills and add additional licenses to keep up with the demands of state legislation.

          • LAB1660

            Off the clock will compensate for the summer the teachers are off. Lawyers, insurance sales people, doctors, nurses all have to take CEs in order to maintain their licenses. That also includes the person who cuts your hair. The reason that the state continually raises the bar for teachers is they are trying to wash out what they don’t need, just like every other licensed profession. In the long run, K-12 education will turn to on-line learning to reduce costs, just like most of the colleges. Let me ask you a question–if everybody in the state of Ohio had masters degrees with straight As, what do you think that masters degree would be worth? If you remember your economics, it’s demand vs. supply. Read up on it. That’s your assignment. Test is on Monday. Be prepared. Bring two sharpened pencils and an eraser. Leave your cell phone at the proctor’s desk.

          • Pablo Jones

            Guess what many professionals work more than 40 hours a week and don’t get paid for it. It’s called doing the job you were hired for.

            Yes teachers are required to get their Masters degree, even though there is no proof that it improves their teaching. They are also required to take continuous learning classes, which also have very little impact on education. But the teachers get a nice pay increase when they get their masters and the CL classes don’t take much time during the summer. Many can be obtained at conferences over a weekend or a week.

        • Joe Smith

          13.10 an hour after taxes plus benefits and 3 months vacation where your pay continues a year which you could work another job is something a lot of people would kill for right now.

          Thanks for your hard work and it is important, but you are in no position to complain compared against others.

          You state about what you should be paid to educate kids, did you not know what a teacher made before you decided to become one?

      • Lisa Carter

        Any service industry job will have the majority of the expenses going towards salaries…even in the public sector.

    • Brian_Reinhardt

      Allison,

      In 2011 your recorded income as Allison Zsinko was $36,481. Last year as Allison Plata your income was $38,917. That’s a 6.7% pay increase.

      Please explain your comment: “Since, I started with CLSD I have not had a pay raise”.

      Your income is indeed public record and verifiable.

      • Zen Grouch

        Ever consider that many teachers are forced to work second jobs during the summer months, Sport?

        **Inquiring minds -gots- to know!**

        • LAB1660

          Even if you think you need that extra income, at least you have the option to consider it over a three month period during which you don’t have to be in the classroom teaching. Must be a nice break from the kids. If you chose the profession, then take what comes with it. Not enough income? Tighten your belt. At least you get raises by contract, unlike the people who pay your salary, who might be lucky to get 1% at all.

          • Zen Grouch

            Better yet… they have the ‘option to consider’ getting the heck out of the teaching profession and into something more dignified and fulfilling like prostitution.

            …I’m guessin’ you never had much use for teachers, and all their snooty book smarts.

          • LAB1660

            I like your comment, but I hold a masters degree and have a 145 IQ, so I found most of my teachers not on my level. But, they were OK. It wasn’t until college that I found teachers at least as smart as me, or smarter. Most of those were full professors with PhDs.

          • Zen Grouch

            For someone with a masters degree and such a high IQ, your syntax and communication skills are atrocious.

            Too bad you didn’t pay more attention to those simple minded teachers when you had the chance.

          • LAB1660

            Unfortunately, I speak as colloquially as the people in this American society. You’re no better.

          • Zen Grouch

            I’m no better?

            I’m not the one claiming to be “better” because of a masters degree and giant IQ… even if I am a member of Mensa.

          • LAB1660

            Take a huge step off of yourself, Zen Grouch. The article is about funding for a school district and how the vast amount of funding goes for salaries–83% for CLSD. There is some fat to cut here and it should be off the backs of the adults, not the children.

          • Zen Grouch

            Thing is, I responded to someone who accused a teacher of lying after he snooped into her income information.

            He was proven wrong, and you decided to enter that fray on the side of the person doing the accusing, somehow trying to justify low wages and the need for a second income.

            Then you just had to throw in your contempt for the “norms” teaching our kids, and how you could only relate to others with gigantic IQs…

            I’d say it’s YOU who needs to take a giant step off your own ego there, Chester.

          • Pablo Jones

            No one was proven wrong on the wages. And it’s not snooping it’s public records. That’s like saying someone is snooping at peoples things when reading the classified ads.

          • Zen Grouch

            The teacher was accused of hiding, or failing to mention a raise due to the fact that her earnings went up. This was done in such a forceful manner she was basically accused of lying.

            She politely explained that she took on “supplemental’s for extracurricular activities.”

            It’s NOT a raise when you take on more work and put in more hours to make more money at your current pay rate.

            For some reason Brian isn’t accepting this as a plausible explanation, and apparently neither are you…

            So I guess it makes perfect sense that those who didn’t take advantage of their teachers when they had the chance, should have a bug up their rear about them being paid too much.

            And yes, it is “snooping” to go out of your way to sniff up someone’s rate of pay or other personal information.

            Just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it isn’t creepy.

          • Pablo Jones

            You don’t seem to be following the conversation very well. She said her pay went up only because of extra work. But that was not the case. The extra pay from those extra duties were broken out separately. Her pay increased year after year because that is what is spelled out in their contract. What is misleading is that teachers receive step increases nearly every year they work, but they say they don’t get raises because they don’t consider them raises. Her base pay has increased through no extra work on her part. We don’t need plausible explanations or lies, we real information that is spelled out in their contract.

            Are you denying that the teachers get step increases every year? Are you saying their contract is not being honored? If so where is your proof?

            It’s not personal information it is public information. Just like if you looked at how much the Mayor makes.

          • Zen Grouch

            Whatever you say Pablo…

            I feel like the three people I’m talking to here are one in the same. In lockstep, going to a great deal of effort to discredit those in the teaching profession for being overpaid liars.

            Let me guess… bible thumping, home schoolers who would give their right arm to see the likes of Sarah Palin in the White House with Obama’s head on a pike?

            …or not. Don’t much care at this point.

          • Pablo Jones

            It’s just so hard to admit you were wrong. Have fun living in denial.

          • Zen Grouch

            Maybe you’re right…

            Perhaps that feeling, like a skull full of bees, whenever I try and comprehend the viewpoints from the right, is just denial and not really bees in my head.

          • Pablo Jones

            I wasn’t giving you a view point, just the facts on their pay based on their contact. You just can’t accept it.

          • Zen Grouch

            Sorry, but when a right winger sez he’s giving me facts, I’m a tad skeptical.

          • Pablo Jones

            Well then what is your issue with me then, why are you skeptical. You could always look the contract up yourself, but I guess that would make too much sense.

          • Zen Grouch

            I love it when people tell me to look it up for myself, when I don’t care that much in the first place.

            You guys have put way too much time and effort into trying to prove this teacher a despicable liar.

            And for what? In the name of fighting a school levy that won?

            The fight is over son… The good guys won.

          • Pablo Jones

            See there you go being wrong again. I was never trying to prove a teacher was lying. I just corrected you when you said the other guy was lying. I did it because I like to tell you that you are wrong. I don’t care about that school district I’m not tied to it, they can spend their money however they want. Paying teachers more or buying computers won’t improve education, but it makes people feel better.

          • Zen Grouch

            Oh…

            I understand perfectly now! You’ve changed my viewpoint a full one-eighty!

            DANG! -Now- I wish that levy would have failed!

            **Stoopid Teachers tryin’ to teach stoopid kids…**

      • Lisa Carter

        I do not know her, but the raise in pay could have been due to her picking up an extra-curricular advisory position…not necessarily a raise.

        • Brian_Reinhardt

          Nice try…those are listed separately at $700.00 a year.

      • Allison Plata

        I have taken on supplemental’s for extracurricular activities at the school to further help my students become positive members of society. This is not a pay raise but rather taking on more work for what I thought was a positive benefit. It is very discouraging to work in a community and feel lack of support for educating our students/children while the teachers are maintaining high quality education with the available resources we have at our disposal. I knew the pay going into education but I was not the one who brought it up nor am I the one complaining. But I am asking: what do you think education is worth? Please remember that no matter how much you loved or hated your teachers; we have all gone to school for our respective subjects/grade levels and have a Bachelor’s degree and are highly qualified in our fields per the state of Ohio. So the real questions comes down to do you want quality or quantity? There are many people who believe that the teachers of CLSD are continuously getting pay raises and making so much more money each year when this is not the case. I also knew that I would have long hours during the school year grading, working on lessons, after school help for students and so much more. I went into education because I want to make a difference in my student’s future. All I want from my posts is for people to look at both sides objectively and make an informed decision that is based off of facts. Pleased be an informed voter and do not believe rumors. Check your facts and visit our levy website at http://www.columbialevy.org before you make a decision. Thank you.

        • Brian_Reinhardt

          Again, nice try and I see that you are actually paid extra for that mentoring. Which is not an issue except you tried to use that position(a separate position) to explain a pay raise in your negotiated salary.

          In case you didn’t know your contract approved salary and additional income are listed/searchable separately.

          It’s educators like yourself who try to stretch the truth and who cannot admit the truth. You give a bad name to educators overall when asking for more money from already cash strapped taxpayers.

          The fact remains that you did indeed receive a pay raise in the last 5 years despite your assertion and your additional duty is compensated separately and was not included in your pay raise…except by you.

          We all have had good and bad teachers in our lives. I have a son who has great teachers. I applaud them for their work and dedication. There are also teachers who should retire or choose another profession.

          You get 3 months OFF every year, enjoy some great benefits, work inside all day and get to work with kids. Your pay right now is due to your inexperience and location…just like anyone else. Get used to it.

          You ask people to not believe “rumors”. Coming from an individual who apparently has an issue with the truth, that’s kinda’ hypocritical don’t you think? You are also not doing CLSD any favors by being their “mouthpiece” here.

          • Zen Grouch

            **Again, nice try and I see that you are actually paid extra for that mentoring. Which is not an issue except you tried to use that position(a separate position) to explain a pay raise in your negotiated salary.**

            You made accusations about salary numbers being ‘fudged.’

            Your misconception was explained and laid to rest…

            But you’re still not giving up are you?

            …that’s not very smart.

          • Brian_Reinhardt

            It’s because I have the proof…

            I’ll not stand by and allow a government employee beg for more money from taxpayers(the school levy) and essentially lie to the public.

            You don’t lie to the people who pay your bills.

            …that’s not very smart.

          • Zen Grouch

            The thing is, when you accuse someone of lying and they rub your nose in the fact that you are gravely mistaken, you should lick your wounds and crawl back under your rock.

      • Mark B

        Oh come on , would you expect someone that is responsible for educating children to tell a little white lie about not getting a raise.

    • John Boy

      I don’t live in the Columbia School District, I don’t know all of the issues for and against the levy, and I’m not anyway tied to the education field, but as a parent I want good teachers. I want smart teachers. I want dedicated teachers. In order to have good teachers you have to pay them a decent wage. If you don’t pay teachers a decent wage the young bright people that would go into education as a career will move into other fields to earn a fair wage elsewhere.
      With that being said I also think teachers should be held accountable for the education of the students in their classroom. They should have standards and need to be impartially reviewed to make sure they are “performing”. Unfortunately the teachers unions are opposed to making it possible to remove the “bad” teachers. You would think “good” teachers would want this as much as the public.

      • Pablo Jones

        The problem is the way the contracts are set up. You could have a great young teach, but their pay is very small. Many that are smart and qualified don’t want to wait 15 years to make more money so they leave. But those that know they aren’t smart enough to do something else and make more money stay in teaching because they know it will pay off in the long run. Restructure the union contacts and you can get better teachers.

  • LAB1660

    I live in Columbia and got one of these in the mail. Hats off to the author or authors, whoever they may be, because the levy committee did give us voters inaccurate information that was caught by a citizen, with a retraction printed in the Rural-Urban Record. So, this time, the school board and the levy committee really did give out false information. OK, so they owned up to it AFTER it was caught by a citizen and their retraction was printed in a very small paragraph on the page opposite to the very large display of inaccurate information. That was this time. Inaccurate information was given out by them in the past. They never retracted that. What’s next? We in Columbia can only wait for the next laugh. They’re gestapo, government, oh, I’m sorry, the school board, right?

  • LibertarianBob

    So, the pro-levy folks have freedom of speech, yet the anti-level people don’t. How about the state stop cutting our funding? How about the state legislators write a bill nullifying Common Core (which Kasich loves BTW)? How about the state stop handing down unfunded mandates that are costing us money? Many people have the misguided notion that more money equals better education. The federal DOE spends billions of our tax dollars every singe year, yet out test scores have remained stagnant for 30 years. And, let us not forget the levy millage that the school board conveniently “forgot about” until a couple of weeks ago.. Now, with the 5.5 mil levy, our effective millage is higher than Strongsville’s!

    • LAB1660

      Yes, you are so right. Those who oppose anything with the schools are made to feel like they are living in the old Soviet Union. Don’t talk the school line, you’ll pay for it. If you don’t follow the school line, you’ll find yourself as a laborer on the Siberian railroad. I’m going to my cot in the gulag now.

    • me

      Yes they complain about state cuts yet they rarely occur.. IE look at Columbia’s 5 year forecast and you will see another lie as well as the claim of 3 million cut to a budget

  • Macdaddyoh

    “scare tactics” “misleading & scewed informaton” …Really? That’s politics 101! A politicians game plan is to tell people everything they want them to hear. Sorry this group muddied your message. Stop crying foul and get to work. You people need to come up with a creative way of getting the money instead of taxing the residents over and over.

  • Bob Owens

    This is absolutely amazing how many of you will vilify teachers and administrators whose very job it is to educate the children. Most of you just have a personal grudge or believe this myth that you’re overtaxed. It’s a shame. This mailer was a cowardly act with a personal agenda. Any respectable community should want a good, quality education for their children and qualified teachers and staff. This anti-school levy stuff is all a bunch of nonsense. Most of you have no idea how far MOST public school districts have trimmed their budgets in response to the state’s cuts. We ALL pay taxes-your tax dollars are no more sacred than mine. It’s the price we pay for living in a society such as ours. I really find it unconscionable the anger and fear that many of you spread in objecting to educating children who are our future. You’re not hurting Mr. Bansek or the teachers, the children will feel the pain. It’s sickening.

    • Pablo Jones

      Spending more money on school does not result in a better education. If it did our kids would be the smartest kids in the world. School budgets are much higher than they were 20 years ago (even after adjusting for inflation) but the kids aren’t any smarter.

      The cuts in state funding are not as bad as school districts are saying they are. I’m not saying that the cuts can cause problems, but they are being the scapegoat for school boards and labor unions.

      Think about it, the State cuts $1.5 million dollars in funding from a school district. The school district then cuts $2 million dollars from their budget and then says they need more money or they will have to make even more cuts because if they don’t they will be in the red. If the State cuts were the problem the school district more than made up for them. So the real problem isn’t State funding cuts. The problem is their budgets keep growing. And if you look at what they spend on items besides wages and compensation you will see those items aren’t increasing very much.

      Step increases and raises are the cause of school districts running out of money. I don’t know what it is for Columbia schools but in Elyria each year raises / step increases and benefits increase the budget by $400,000 a year. I would imagine they also lead to the biggest increase for Columbia’s budget.

      So are you telling me the kids education will suffer if the teachers don’t get a raise? Will the teachers teach less? Is there a reserve of teaching potential they are holding back until they get a raise? How are the kids suffering? Oh they suffer because programs are cut so that the teachers can still get their pay increases. Sounds like the school board and teachers are the ones targeting the kids to get hurt.

    • Brian_Reinhardt

      Passing a levy does not guarantee a “quality education” nor does high paid teachers.

      Some of Lorain’s teachers in the worst performing schools are making $70,000+ a year.

  • Julia Blair

    The Columbia Board of Education DID in fact own their error and went public with it very quickly. It’s a shame that the “concerned citizens” who blindly sent out erroneous information cannot do the same. Hiding behind a façade only shows their lack of understanding the full picture. I know for a fact that MANY “concerned citizens” postcards have just gone in the trash with NO consideration. How and why should residents take an anonymous mailing seriously? Own your opinion and step forward! Aren’t you proud of your “work?” Obviously you have something to hide. Don’t underestimate the residents of Columbia Station- they see the need and will come together on Nov. 5th to show their support!

  • Lisa Carter

    There seems to be some misunderstanding here on how teachers are paid. Most areas districts have a grid that gives you a starting salary based off of experience and your level of education. The ‘step’ increases happen every year for usually your first 10 years in the school district. This is because most teachers who leave the profession, do so within the first 10 years of service. If a teacher leaves a district and transfers to another, they typically cannot be paid any more than their education level plus 5 years of experience. The level of education increase is a nominal amount and can sometimes continue throughout the teacher’s tenure at a school district, but some districts limit this to their first ten years before they are locked in. Until recently, all public school teachers were required to obtain a masters degree within their first 10 years in teaching or lose their license. That has since been changed at the state level and teachers can teach off just a bachelor’s degree, but then, often are not offered a continuing contract by the school district. That means their contract is year by year. After the initial 10 years, teachers only get cost of living increases if they haven’t been, A) frozen by the Board of Ed B) and are negotiated into their contracts.
    Many clubs, organizations, and coaching positions have their own contracts. Therefore a raise in wages could mean they took on an additional workload. If you do a local comparison of school district contracts, Columbia’s pay for teachers is very modest. Teachers also pay taxes towards the support of the district they live in.
    The state of Ohio’s Board of Regents controls the amount of colleges that can offer teacher licenses in the state. Ohio traditionally has graduated more teachers than they can use due to the high turnover of new teachers. If they want fewer teachers in the pool, they control the amount of people in teacher education programs.
    I apologize for the personal attacks people have made on this teacher, Ms. Plata, about her ability to make a living in a vocation she cherishes. Children deserve teachers who love what they do.

    • Brian_Reinhardt

      I’ve seen STEP increases in some teachers that amounted to over $10,000 a year in a single year and some STEP increases in 2 years in Lorain have been over 75% of the median income for residents of Lorain.

      Mrs. Plata is an adult and put herself out there when she made the statement regarding her lack of pay raises. She did further damage to her cause by attempting to use an additional duty that is compensated separately to explain a pay raise she(according to her) didn’t get. Nobody here is bashing teachers as teachers. What is being questioned is the necessity of increasing taxes on citizens and balancing finances in a school district in order to raise the pay of teachers.

    • Mark B

      If they truly loved what they do it would not be about the money!

    • Pablo Jones

      You are making some blanket assumptions. What a teacher is paid is spelled out in their contract which you can view at http://www.serb.ohio.gov/sections/research/WEB_CONTRACTS/10-MED-04-0627.pdf
      There are 20 steps for a teacher with a BA and it goes up to 30 steps for a teacher with MA +20. They even show how much a teacher will make if they coach a sport or advise a student group.
      Then on top of their pay they also get benefits with very low premiums. The school is also paying 14% of their pay into their retirement.

      But you do make a good point, if teachers leave to another school district they will only start at 5-10 years of experience. So the argument that we have to pay higher salaries to teachers or they will leave is a joke. Do you think a teacher will leave a school district because they didn’t get a 3% raise and take a 20+% pay cut?

      • jack nimble

        Pablo, I just came across this post (5 months ago) due to a post
        on face book 3/21/14 of a resident in CLSD that used the C/T article in the post. I continued to read the comments and in your
        reply to “lisa carter” you provided a link to serb, the question being,
        how did you obtain the public info. I linked onto serb directly, got the list of contracts, but the CLSD was not listed. Hope you can help.