COLUMBUS — March 29, 2011 — In Columbus and throughout Ohio, OEA members and other public employees denounced the Ohio House’s amended version of Senate Bill 5 as bad legislation made even worse. In addition to approving SB 5 in House committee action today, legislators released thousands of pages of new State Budget language, including 10%-plus cuts to both public schools and state colleges.
“Combined with this state budget proposal, SB 5 will lead to an ongoing crisis in schools and public services for every Ohio community. We believe the people of Ohio will reject SB 5 through a citizens’ referendum,” said OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks.
“We do not believe the people of Ohio elected leaders with a mandate to cut school funding, take away collective bargaining rights and privatize public schools, but that is the sum effect of legislation now moving so quickly through the Ohio General Assembly.
“Nothing is more essential than creating jobs and providing high quality educational opportunities for children. But our legislators are ignoring and short-changing these essential functions of state and local government and schools,” Frost-Brooks said.
Amendments in the House version of SB 5 are designed to restrict union funding, curb political freedoms of members and impose a one-size-fits-all approach to school districts on performance pay measures.
“These amendments really shine the light on what this bill is all about, which is silencing the voice of people who collectively bargain on behalf of their members, and, in our case, on behalf of the children we work with,” OEA Vice President Bill Leibensperger said.
SB 5 is expected to go to a House floor vote Wednesday. A Senate floor vote to concur with House changes to the bill is expected on Wednesday or Thursday. If the Senate concurs with House changes to SB 5, the bill would go to the Governor for his signature.
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The Ohio Education Association (ohea.org) represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.
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