To the Editor: Quality BG schools deserve voter support
Written by Gary and Rose Hess   
Friday, 03 May 2013 09:57
The Citizens for Financial Responsibility urges citizens to vote against the school levy. The reasons for the opposition are misleading.  For instance, the group criticizes the schools for being "downgraded" last year; true, but they were downgraded from "excellent with distinction" to "excellent"-hardly a reason to vote against a levy.  The group, and others opposing the levy, are especially critical of personnel cost.  Sounding much like the "tea partiers" assault on public employees as overpaid and coddled, the levy's opponents lament that the average teacher costs $84,000 a year (in salary and benefits)  to teach a mere 32 hours a week (plus eight hours for class preparation, grading papers, etc.) for just nine months.  These data fail to acknowledge that teachers' work typically extends into the evening and week-ends and that many teachers enroll in summer courses and workshops that enhance their knowledge and skills.
Moreover, the opponents of the levy imply that Bowling Green's personnel costs are unreasonably high.  The increase in the number of employees with total compensation of more than $80,000 results principally from an increasing number of senior faculty, and the rising cost of health care over which teachers have no control. That teachers choose to remain at Bowling Green should be seen as positive, not as a problem.  Would we rather have a high turnover of faculty?
Comparison with salaries at nearby school districts indicates that Bowling Green salaries are not out of line. The following data are from the Ohio Education Association for the year 2011-12.  At Bowling Green the entry salary for a beginning teacher with a bachelor's degree was $33,036, which was comparable to Eastwood ($32,634); Maumee ($37,250); Otsego ($31,583); Perrysburg ($35,378). At the higher end of the scale for teachers with a masters degree plus 30 years experience, the salary at Bowling Green was $64,718; which was lower than that at Eastwood,  $68,531; Maumee, $79,060 ; Otsego, $68,421; Perrysburg, $82,077.
The most valuable asset of any private or public institution is its employees. Their compensation is a major cost in any budget.  The School District allocates 78.7% of its budget to compensation; as a point of comparison, the personnel cost for the City of Bowling Green is 72.4%.
Quality government and quality schools need public support. We urge approval of the levy.
Gary and Rose Hess
Bowling Green
 

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