The negotiations are at a standstill over a variety of issues. The district projects a deficit of $10.8 million by 2016 if it cannot contain costs; currently, compensation packages consume nearly 90% of the district budget. The union says the district is not being truthful about the deficit. The most contentious issue is a freeze on automatic step-increases through the 2014-2015 school year. For the children, of course. Teachers are being asked to pay $200/month for the family medical plan instead of the $150 they currently pay and are being asked to pay their own share of the pension contribution — 9.3%. Currently the district is paying the teachers’ 9.3% share plus the district’s share — the 14% the state requires them to pay. Again, presumably for the children. The district even agreed to increase the teachers’ salaries so they would not see a change in their paychecks as a result of the pension adjustment.
The two sides are miles apart, and it’s understandable that tensions are high. But it’s doubtful that anyone in this all-American suburb expected the shocking behavior of the teachers. Media Trackers Ohio reported that Superintendent John Krupinski described the union’s tactics as coming out of Saul Alinsky’s playbook:
It’s like a playbook. It’s based on a book — a play-by-play replay of this book about how to strategize, and be successful in obtaining what you want. Rules for Radicals,” Krupinski said. “If you’ve read that book, that’s exactly the game plan that they’re pulling off. That’s the OEA playbook: Rules for Radicals.
Neighborhoods where the substitute teachers live were blanketed with bright pink flyers announcing, “Do you know a SCAB lives in your neighborhood?” The flyers give the names, addresses, and the phone numbers of the teachers and then rattle off a few SEA talking points, giving credence to the superintendent’s assertion that the union is using Alinsky tactics. Parents were stunned to see their friends and neighbors treated like this. “Who knows what this guy will go through?” said Dan Dubecky. “I don’t know him or his circumstances, but I’m sure he’s just a guy trying to work”