Thursday, July 31, 2008

Step Increases and the Law

At the Community Conversation session held On July 23, Superintendent Dale McVey said something that I hadn't heard before. When asked about the salary increases received by teachers in their new contract, he gave the customary partial and misleading answer: 3%. Readers of this blog know that 70% of the teachers (those at 0-15, 20 and 23 years of service) also receive 'step increases,' which in both the prior and the current contract are set at 4.15%. Compounded, this works out to 7.27% annual raises.

Mr. McVey went on to say that this step increase approach is mandated by state law. That surprised me. While there is a step increase schedule in every single teachers' contract I've examined, I surmised that this structure is something championed by the Ohio Education Association (the state teachers' union, of our teachers' union, the Hilliard Education Association, is affiliated), and not a requirement set by law.

So I did a little research, and found Section 3317.13 of the Ohio Revised Code. This section contains the minimum salary structure for Ohio public school teachers. In paragraph (B), this section says: "No teacher shall be paid a salary less than that provided in the schedule set forth in division (C) of this section." That schedule looks very much like the salary grid used in the HEA contract.

But it says nothing about step increases – at least not the way I read it.

The way I would interpret the chart in the O.R.C. is that there is a minimum salary level for every combination of length of service and level of education, and that minimum for that service/degree has to be met. In other words, the minimum salary for a teacher with a Bachelors degree and 5 years of service is $23,800. Do we pay at least that for 5 years and a Bachelors degree? Yes, in fact we pay $47,009, or nearly double the state minimum.

How about a Bachelor's degree and 6 years of service? The state minimum is $24,560. We again pay double that: $48,961.

Here's the technicality I'm questioning: While the state schedule incorporates a 3.19% increase between Step 5 and Step 6 in column for teachers with a Bachelor's degree, I don't think the law says we have to meet or beat the percentage increase – we just have to meet or beat the dollar level for each service/education combination. In other words, I believe the size of the step increases in our salary structure isn't relevant in obeying the law; the question is whether we pay at least the minimum for each service/education combination. We pass that test with flying colors, paying about double the state minimum in every case.

Here's another interesting observation about the state-mandated salary minimums: the highest service/education combination on the state's minimum pay schedule is 11 years and a Masters degree. For that combination, the minimum salary is $32,460. Under the new HEA contract, the lowest service/education combination is zero years and no degree. We pay $33,371 for that combination, more than the highest minimum salary on the state grid.

If my understanding of these mechanics is correct, then it is not true that step schedules are state mandated. You just have to pay the minimums for each service/education combination. If true, it seems like we have room for a lot more creativity in our salary structure, including things like giving larger increases to young teachers and flattening out the salary growth curve a little. Or we could make the steps for teachers with Masters degrees larger than those with lesser educational credentials.

If any readers have expertise on this, please either comment on this post, or send me an email.

Please jump to this comment for additional information.


  1. I think all would get a lot of double talk from our State Board, State Rep
    State Sen, city fathers, HEA, district\ board governor,
    state board of educ. and all related special interests

    So add the step raise controversy to the list

    Will the ACT group facilitate a
    voter guide on how SPECIFICALLY
    candidates for our state rep, state sen. state board of educ, and congressmember will reduce the
    mandates, and TAX shifts to the local homeowner.

    I still believe that some compensation increases are necessary and we do need a levy

    The outcome will be based on how this levy is communicated and if
    everything related to expenses
    and compensation is put on the ta ble.

  2. I think we have to recognize that this shifting of the school tax burden to the homeowners is a problem of only those suburbs that the state leaders view as 'wealthy.' It's not a problem in the urban and rural districts - they're the ones getting the money that's no longer coming back to us.

    I friend of mine who is a former School Board member in a highly regarded Franklin County district says he thinks it will take the economic collapse of a large and respected district to get the attention of the Governor and the General Assembly.

    I think the question is whether that district will be South Western or Hilliard....


  3. Drive through any small town in Scioto County, one of the poorest counties in Ohio, and you will not see a school over 8 years old. You will also not find a school that wasn't paid for by "wealthy" districts such as ours.

    We are talking $16 to $20 Million dollars a building, maybe more. There are something like 10 school districts in scioto county (forgive me I really didn't stop and count them all). That's $160 to $200 Million sunk into scioto county alone!!! That's a whole boat load of cash being taken from Peter to pay Paul (yes, I am anti-socialism).

    Sadly, I agree with Paul that it will take the collapse of a district like ours to get any attention. Even more scary is that there are several on the cusp of such collapse in Franklin County alone. Hilliard is about 2 years away, New Albany could be on their way, Olentangy, Westerville, Southwestern schools, and maybe even Dublin are at various stages of threat. All of these schools are 2 or 3 levy failures away from disaster. But, in typical American style, we bury our heads at the core issue. It's too hard or too uncomfortable to deal with. Yet when a school fails everyone will be amazed at how bad things are.

    I hope Hilliard doesn't fall victim to this flawed system. But I don't think all Franklin County suburbs will be able to sidestep this landmine.

    Cuts are merely a band-aid. While necessary and likely reasonable, they will not fix the core issue. Once we've cut all we can cut, then what? We will have poor schools and still one heck of a tax bill. Unless funding changes, our tax bills will continue to rise at a rate that is unsustainable.

    We have to keep our eye on the real ball. That doesn't mean we don't address all issues, but our real focus has to be on the root cause of this problem. Otherwise, it's a futile exercise.

  4. Paul,

    You are spot on. The proof is a review of the various negotiated agreements in the area. All districts have a slightly different set of steps. And, most notably, most districts do not have steps in all years.

  5. I don't have any expertise on the matter but I agree with your take on it, Paul. The meeting was the first time I have heard "mandated by state law" regarding the steps; Mr McVey also referred to them as "cost of living" increases (after a commenter used those words) which I have never heard used either. Well, at least he finally acknowledged that the raises were not 3%. But is it really his take that they ARE required? If so it would be interesting to hear why.

  6. Paul,

    I'm not sure your understanding of the state law regarding step increases IS accurate. You said that as long as we meet the minimum requirements, the percentage increases themselves between steps are not set by law. You may be right, but I found the following information from an OEA website that seems to imply otherwise, I think. I'd be interested to hear your interpretation of it:


    "The affect of the index is to build automatic step increases, or increments, into the single salary schedule. Thus, for a set number of years step increases are received annually. Typically, about half of the teachers in a school district are eligible for annual step increases.
    The size of step increases may be either uniform throughout the salary schedule or variable depending upon experience and academic training. Often times the size of the increment grows as experience and academic training levels increase. For instance, the state minimum salary schedule provides for 3.8 percent step increases for teachers with a bachelor’s and 4.8 percent step increases for teachers at the master’s level.
    As mentioned, the state minimum salary schedule establishes automatic annual step increases of 4.8 percent for teachers with a master’s degree for the first 11 years of experience. In practice, step increases are typically higher. Eighty-three percent of salary schedules reflect step increases that are greater than 4.8 percent. On average, teachers with a master’s receive annual step increases of 5.35 percent.
    Following the structure of the state minimum salary schedule, virtually all teacher salary schedules provide for annual step increases for each of the first eleven years of experience.
    Annual step increases beyond eleven years are determined locally."
    This information was dated April 2008.

    Keep in mind that one reason more teachers in Hilliard might receive the step increases (if that 70% number you quoted is accurate) is because we have grown so rapidly and typically hired younger teachers, who are less expensive, so we have perhaps a disproportionately large number of teachers in the main step range.

    Also keep in mind that our salaries are much in keeping with comparable suburban districts. We cannot roll back salaries to state minimum levels and expect to compete successfully with other local districts to attract highly qualified teachers. I know because I've taught in districts that pay less (both private and public) and what you get is a less stable teaching staff that leaves as soon as a "better job" opens up elsewhere. Relatively very few teachers leave Hilliard for other districts. That stability is, in general, a plus for our students. Schools with high teacher turnover are typically lower performing schools by standardized measures.

    And we certainly do not want to be the kind of district that pays the state minimum, because I assure you those are not communities whose economics we want to emulate. They are most likely poor, rural districts in the Appalachian counties of the state. Just food for thought.

  7. Paul, your reading of the statute is correct - there is no mandate for step increases as long as you stay above the state minimum guidelines.

  8. To Anon 10:38pm, please call Hilliards HR director and ask how many applicants we received for Hilliards open teaching positions this year. The answer may surprise you. If you want to start talking about Hilliard remaining competitive and thus needing to pay 7or 8% annual increases, you need to understand the supply/demand ratio for teachers.

  9. I don't need to call the HR director...I know we receive tons of applications. That only confirms my point: we ARE very competitive. It took me years to get into Hilliard. That surplus of applications allows HR and Hilliard administrators to be very picky. Isn't that a good thing for our kids? I believe it is for my kids--I want them to have teachers who worked hard to get here and are happy to stay!! I'm not saying we shouldn't make some changes, and I argued in favor of accepting the insurance premium payments. I'm just saying we don't want to change our salary schedule TOO drastically (beyond what comparable local districts are doing) or we would lose that competitive edge.

  10. Responding to kj's comments that providing for Ohio's poorest districts is socialism. I disagree. I believe if taxpayers are going to continue to fund public schools in this country, then every child should receive the same opportunity. I think we need to decide what curriculum consitutes a public education in Ohio and fund our schools so every child to provide that standard education whether it is in Hilliard or Scioto county. Children in school districts that are better able to tax themselves should not receive a better education or better opportunity than poor children. The biggest problem with our funding system is that it has fostered this feeling of I've got mine and too bad for the less fortunate. That is not the way it is supposed to be if we agree that we should continue to have a publicly funded school system. If I have no children, why should I have to pay at all?

  11. Thanks for your comments:

    To Anon 7/31 10:38 - Thanks for the link to the OEA page. Its language is clear, but it also seems to be in conflict with O.R.C. 3317.13 in several respects. For example, the OEA says: "the state minimum salary schedule provides for 3.8 percent step increases for teachers with a bachelor’s and 4.8 percent step increases for teachers at the master’s level." However, if you load the salary grid from ORC 3317.13 into a spreadsheet, you'll find while the gap between BACH/0 and BACH/1 is 3.8%, the successive gaps diminish until it is only 2.75% at the BACH/10-BACH/11 level. And in no case is the gap 4.8% at any point in the MASTERS column. The max is 4.38% between MASTERS/0 and MASTERS/1, and it drops to 3.05%.

    If the OEA claims were true, why is it that the steps in the HEA contract are uniformly 4.15% regardless of step or educational level?

    The OEA page you reference goes on to say: "In practice, step increases are typically higher. Eighty-three percent of salary schedules reflect step increases that are greater than 4.8 percent. On average, teachers with a master’s receive annual step increases of 5.35 percent." Having read through a good number of teachers' contracts for an earlier post, I don't recall any districts with step increases of this magnitude.

    So I would challenge you to find the legal authority behind the OEA's claims. I find it hard to believe that they would publish outright lies, but at this point I have to accept the O.R.C. language as the final word.

    By the way, I have never taken the position that Hilliard teachers are overpaid. However, I do object to the fact that a 20 year teacher who has retired on the job can make 50% more than a five year superstar teacher, just because seniority means more than anything else when it comes to teacher pay.

    This is the reason I'm so interested in this step pay question. I think we should look at a way to reward and retain that superstar while encouraging the retired-on-the-job teacher to go ahead and retire for real.

    That's true "it's for the kids" thinking, unlike perpetuating a flawed compensation system.

    Jim Fedako and Anon 7/31 11:16 - Thanks for your validation. I know Jim's credentials (former Olentangy School Board member). Anon, can you say something about yours?

    KJ: I don't think there is a single root cause for our situation. There is a funding component - money is taken from so-called wealthy districts and being channeled to the urban and rural districts. And there is a spending component - employee comp/benefits costs that continue to rise when the economy has softened.

    As we said, the first may not get any attention until a so-called wealthy district collapses. New Albany may actually be in the greatest danger, but their situation is not instructive, as their problem is that they have let half their funding get tied to a huge 20.7 mill temporary levy. Hilliard is the better example - a vibrant community which is seeing more and more of the state taxes paid by its residents (e.g. income, sales) going to other districts. We also suffer from the effects of municipal leaders who seem more interested in taking care of developers than being sure the schools stay on firm financial footing.

    On the spending side, the power of the OEA needs to be moderated so that legislators become less worried about taking care of the OEA's members and more worried about the other millions of Ohioans who are hurting right now. There was undoubtedly a time when teachers were underpaid, but I think those days are over. The salary/benefit growth rate for school employees needs to be recalibrated.


  12. Anon 8/1 9:41am: I disagree. People in poor economic regions should move - not expect those who have worked hard, taken risks, and found success to subsidize the lack of motivation in people who won't make the effort. Those folks aren't in these regions because their ancestors have lived there for thousands of years (other than the Native Americans). They're there because their ancestors took a chance and struck out into the wilderness to improve their lot, just as my ancestors did 200 years ago when they settled Lawrence County, arguably the poorest county in the State.

    And you know what, almost none of my family is left there. We've moved once, twice, maybe more to seek employment and a better life for our kids.

    As Sam Kinison once said about the Somalis - "If we want to help them, don't send them food, send them U-Hauls!" He was right, and the Somalis who came to America are generally prospering.

    America is diminished, not enhanced, when people are deprived of the incentive to improve their lives. No, I'm not equating money with happiness. But am connecting expectation to effort.


  13. Paul,

    Thanks for the insightful comparison of the OEA info I found and the ORC. I agree that the discrepancies are confusing and a source of concern. I don't know what to think about that. And I didn't respond to your previous blog about the new teacher merit systems, but as a teacher who works hard to stay current, I am intrigued by the ProComp system and another one that is also being tried somewhere (can't recall the name but I read about it in a previous issue of TIME magazine this year). You do a good job of discussing the nuances of that issue and the dangers of tying a merit system to standardizes scores alone. However, I believe many teachers would be willing to accept a more sophisticated system that goes beyond one set of test scores.

    I'm also intrigued with your proposal to set a higher beginning salary for teachers and flatten out later, something else that might work. Keep in mind that one way the state has tried to prevent people from "retiring on the job" is by changing from the certification to licensure systems that require much more ongoing professional development. The fact that it is no longer possible to obtain a "permanent" teaching certificate IS a sign of change in that area.

  14. P.S. to Paul -- you wrote, "So I would challenge you to find the legal authority behind the OEA's claims. I find it hard to believe that they would publish outright lies, but at this point I have to accept the O.R.C. language as the final word."

    I do wish I had the time to research and clarify this legality issue some more. However, I'll have to defer this matter to someone with more time because today is August 1, and with a new school year just around the corner, it's time for me to gear my efforts toward the students who will walk into my classroom in less than three short weeks. In fact, I'm heading into school right now. Just wanted you to know I'm not ignoring the challenge for no reason :-).

  15. Anon 10:14 -

    I appreciate your comments. We going to enter a period of intense debate about teacher comp vs performance, and the most important element may be empathy between the parties. One may not always agree with the other, but we need to be willing to get both facts and opinions on the table for discussion.

    So far the atmosphere is all emotion with few facts, and some of those facts we think we do know are turning out to be unreliable. Not a good way to engage in finding solutions.

    Licensure is probably a good step, but it doesn't say anything about the teacher's performance in the classroom. In the private sector, we accept that we work for a boss who will evaluate our performance and make compensation decisions based on hopefully agreed-upon standards.

    It's seems like that should work in the school as well. But what I consistently hear from teachers is that they don't trust their principals to be fair judges of performance - at least not in a way that affects compensation.

    Why is that? Aren't all principals former teachers? Are we making people principals because they're good politicians and not necessarily good educators and leaders?


  16. Thinking out loud. So if the
    "step" raise" has to be paid
    does that not allow for the
    3% regular raise to be adjusted?

    Didnt a Fairfield county district just settle for less of a raise and step raise to help pass a levy ?

    I am totally agree that there has to be a significant change in the funding system, and yes we need to
    fund pay increases. But our elected officials are only going to listen to those with deep campaign contribution pockets not the individual homeowner. And the HEA , the district keeps supporting the same people, same
    well known last names etc.

    I am not convinced the HCSD voters
    have a whole lot of confidence it what is going on. It seems more and more that the financial reality that we face in everyday life is not either understood or they dont care as long as the district gets their money.

    There are lists of things that need to be addressed that have been noted and the sooner EVERY single one of them are addressed to the satisfaction of the bill payers, the less likely we
    will have that "serious issues"
    down the road.

    In the private sector, there are layoffs, reductions in force, reductions in salary, less vacation and sick time, pension elimination, going on.
    In lieu of layoffs, why not compensate by reducing slightly
    those 5 to 7% raises.

  17. If Paul is correct, then why do we have a Superintendent who can continually make at least two false statements concerning a crucial issue? (i.e. 3% raises, steps mandated by law). (I won't even mention equating "inflation" with the price of home prices.)

    Don't we deserve better?

  18. Paul,

    One clarification ... when I wrote "And, most notably, most districts do not have steps in all years.", I should have written, "And, most notably, no district has steps in all years."

  19. Paul,
    RE: your first post on this thread... South-Western CSD is large, but I'm not so sure that it is well-respected. So perhaps you have your answer, now.

    Add to your list: Westerville and Pickerington. Westerville averted disaster at the 11th hour a year or so ago with the passage of a levy. I think those MIGHT be the three most well-regarded districts in our area that are close to a fiscal disaster.

  20. I'm curious how many administrators, teachers and other staff actually live in the HSD and will be affected by the levy increase. Is the guaranteed step increases set to cover the cost of the levy? Are the step increases a way to make the HSD affordable to the HSD employees?

  21. We make public education in this country available to all and we should strive that each child get equal opportunity. Otherwise the haves and have nots are separated into a collection of private school districts where the price of admission, the tuition if you will, is your ability to afford the housing in the district. I worked hard for what I have too. Why I am I forced to subsidize a school system from which I get no benefit? I have no children attending school here. Oh, it's for the public good? f Then any child anywhere should have equal facilities, equal opportunity and we should end this taxing by school district and go to a state or national system. Let teachers compete for positions in the region they would like to live and work. We woldn't have these districts that act like fiefdoms.

  22. There is a list of districts in Fiscal Emergency and Watch on the State Auditor website. It can be accessed via this link: or the link.

    Apparently, Mentor EVSD (suburban district near Cleveland) was in Fiscal Emergency for a year, several years ago. Mentor is probably the district on the list that is most similar to Hilliard, Westerville and Pickerington.

  23. Anon 2:09 -

    I'm not sure what position you're advocating, but what we have today is indeed a system where the so-called public schools are really economically segregated communities in which the price of housing is the price of admission. I've said on many occasions that we need to reshape school organization in Ohio. My preference is a 100% voucher system, which exposes the school industry to the same competition as private industry. After all, don't you think it's odd that the institution we have set up to train our kids to survive in a competitive world is not itself a competitive enterprise?

    Failing that, the next best choice might be a county-wide or state-wide school system, and complete open enrollment - any kid can attend any school.


  24. I support equal education for every child in Ohio. We have to end school funding by individual districts like we have today. We are becoming more and more a society of haves and have nots with haves saying screw the have nots. We have decided as a society to provide public education for all children. Providing for the common good is not socialism. For each child in the Hilliard schools, a large percentage of his education is paid by people who have no children in the schools. Every parent benefits from a system in which they only pay a small percent of what it costs to educate their own child. Is that socialism? Or is it socialism only when it benefits someone else's child somewhere else?

  25. It's tough to create 'equal education' by decree, hard as we might try. Some teachers are more talented than others, some administrations more competent, some buildings and settings nicer.

    What we need to do is decouple your address from the school you have to attend, and let kids attend any school they want, as long as that school, its faculity and its curriculum is properly accredited. The per-pupil funding should follow the kid.

    The consequence is that schools that serve their kids well attract both kids and funding, while failing schools are allowed to die, and quit wasting taxpayer dollars and more importantly squandering the potential of promising young minds.

    Who fears such a system the most? Education professionals who aren't used to serving customers who can easily take their business elsewhere.

    I'm not talking about a radical notion in education - we organize exactly in this way at the college level. Why wouldn't it work at the primary/secondary level as well?

  26. I'd prefer it NOT be the collapse of Hilliard CSD to get the attention of the Governor and the General Assembly. That's NOT an experiment or experience that I would want my kids to be a part of. Many parents who have kids in HCSD will consider other options if levies keep going down, teachers keep getting cut, etc.

  27. Paul is spot on.

    Friends in the UK have stated that their education has improved since going to this type of voucher system. If your school stinks it may be gone the next year. Here, the school and teachers can be bad and still enjoy raises / step. Where's the incentive to improve?

    Unfortunately, the teachers unions will fight this tooth and nail. They state they are fighting for better education, but in reality they are fighting for their survival. Despite the "it's about the kids" rhetoric, that's not at all what it's about to them. I respect the vast majority of teachers and agree that they try to do a good job, but the union makes them come across as a bunch of selfish hypocrites. It's unfortunate how the union mentality ruins the perception of good teachers in our community.

    Fortunately on a personal level I do believe most teachers make it about the kids. Honestly, the HEA should change it's slogan to "It's all about us". That's the reality, and like it or not that's the perception of most in the community, as well as how they come across in their positions on levys, raises, steps, etc.

    There will be no fundamental change in Hilliard or our country until the unions are either abolished or get more reasonable.

    Never forget, the teacher's union are not for the benefit of the kids, they are for the benefit of themselves.

    Thank you for all of the hard working teachers in Hilliard who try to rise above this. I feel bad for how bad the HEA makes you come across to those in the community.

  28. I will abdicate to the "step" auto
    raise of 4.15 if this has somehow
    become the way of the west. So we are stuck with the step and our 3% raises. For current
    purposes we probably have no choice but to hit 9 mills to keep things going.

    As I look though at what happenend
    in the Fairfield County system, cant remember which district.
    the negotiation resulted in short term adjustments to help get a levy passed. Apparently in our area
    there must be some sort of law
    against it !!!!!!!!!! LOL

    So perhaps we need someone quickly to introduce a bill repealing this
    4.15% step # to a lesser highlighted number. ACT committee
    where are you, oh forgot, in lock step with this 9.5 levy.

    So the real question is
    Which is it? No body really knows?
    and in the meantime our tax rate will go up 7 to 8% per year with no end in sight

    The sad part is the HEA< and the district could really care less
    about the students, the parents
    the taxpayer. They want their money,they are going to get it, and by the way dont ever question what they do !

    I have allways been pro public school, anti charter school, as
    I firmly believe in the public system. The actions of the HEA
    its memmbers, and the school district as a whole with their absolute contempt for the public
    is making me think perhaps good
    charter schools may not be such a bad idea to move to.

    As Hilerdite noted, with raises, premium medical coverage school district employees can cover the tax increase without cutting anything. The rest of us will make
    real cuts to our budgets, to
    afford our 9 mill increase.

    Perhaps the district will invite us all for a "teambuilding exercise"
    at Dave and Busters

  29. I believe our ship is at sea without a Captain. Man the lifeboats, there's a storm ahead!!

    In the Corporate arena, when there is mismanagement, who gets the ax? Not the secretaries, not the supervisors and not the mailroom clerks. The CEO, or President or General Manager is directly or indirectly accountable.

    The problem runs deep. Its not about the pizzas or the luncheons. Its about honesty, accountability and being diligent and responsible to the voters of Hilliard. That starts only at the top.

    I do agree with one item. Yes, there must be cuts. However they should not come from Classified or Certified Staff positions. Administration should be held accountable. Let's not sugar coat this crisis...let's just call it like we see it.

    November 4th is fast approaching and if HCS is going to make a case then they need to do it more agressively than tossing a packet on the neighbors front porch. Remember, its for our childrens education. Run with the ball or get off the field !

  30. UPDATE:

    I asked Superindentdent Dale McVey to tell me what he viewed to be the legal authority behind his statement that Ohio law required step increases. Dale asked Treasurer Brian Wilson to research this and answer. This is what I received from Brian:

    ORC has minimum salaries for teachers listed in ORC 3317.13. ORC 3317.14 requires boards of education to adopt a teacher salary schedule with increments. ORC does not require a certain percentage other than the salary at each step must be more than the minimums listed in ORC 3317.13. We are above the minimums.

    We looked back through old contracts to see how long this salary schedule has been in place. We could find contracts that went back approximately 25 years and the same salary schedule that we currently have in place was in existence with the oldest contract we found. In other words the 4.15% step increases were in existence for at least 25 years and probably much longer but I do not have any way to confirm this.

    You might also want to keep in mind that there have been legal cases decided up to the supreme court level that determine how these sections of ORC are interpreted. I believe a better source for the interpretation of these ORC sections is the Anderson's Ohio School Law Manual written by Kimball H. Carey, an attorney with Bricker & Eckler LLP.

    In other words, ORC 3317.14 does require step increases of some form, but does not require that the steps be any larger than that required to meet the minimum salaries specified in 3317.13.

    Brian also correctly states that case law may have developed in the courts which answer specific questions. However, due to the wide variability of pay schedules across various districts, I find it hard to believe that either the legislation or case law are very specific in terms of step percentages.

    So the real reason for our 4.15% step schedule is that "it's always been that way."

    It may be time to change that.


  31. I find it extremely sad that we the shareholders (HCSD residents) hired someone (Dale McVey) as CEO, to manage our $150million dollar company and he lacks the fortitude to stand up for the best interests of the shareholders that gave him the job in the first place. If this was in the private sector, Dale would have been ousted.

    When given information such as that provided by Brian about the step increases, he needs to be willing and able to make the tough calls.

    I agree that we should be compensating the teachers well, but they've already negotiated that portion in their contract. The other 4.15% should now be in the control of the McVey and the board to be used as Merit raises.

    By my estimation that's over $5million dollars this year alone. In a corporate world the CFO would advise those handing out merit raises how much they have for their department. Maybe they need to say that only $2.5million is available. It would then be up to the principals to decide who is most deserving, or if they want to continue with their socialist, non-performance based raises then they can split it equally. It makes no matter to me, but it's time academia be ushered into the real world of competitiveness. After all isn't that what they're supposed to be training our children to be ready for.

    If Dale can't do it, it's time to get him out. There you go, there's $7.5 million taken out of the budget for the next 3 years. Now lets talk about streamlining the bus system.