700 WLW has long been a beacon of truth in the Tri-State. Every half hour on the hour they broadcast the news as it changes and migrates throughout the day. And in between those news casts they discuss the tough issues. When a major storm strikes and tornados litter the sky seeking to destroy everything in their path, The Big One is the station everyone turns to until the storms pass. When snow threatens to cover us all with white death, The Big One is there. So it is with the same vigilance that another storm is threatening us all, an avalanche of an education system in Ohio that is crumbling under its own weight, and only one powerhouse of media has the guts to explain the situation.
A couple of the personalities of that great station Scott Sloan and Darryl Parks have valiantly stood against the forces of power that seek to propel the planned agendas of special interest and the relationship to the big business of education. But before I provide you with the very powerful clip of Scott Sloan reading the Lakota Teachers Contract on the air the reader here needs some background on the situation. (The Scott Sloan reading is at the bottom of this post)
The State of Ohio Supreme Court case of March 24, 1997.
Section 2, Article VI of the Ohio Constitution requires the state to provide and fund a system of public education and includes an explicit directive to the General Assembly:
“The general assembly shall make such provisions, by taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the State.”
And with that statement, the State Supreme Court found the current funding system being used by the State of Ohio as unconstitutional. The directive was then given to the state to properly fund all of education in the state of Ohio within the constitutional provisions.
Since 1997, nothing of any substantiality has been attempted in Columbus however, completely ignoring the Supreme Court decision. Instead, special interests have dug in and divided and conquered each school district with chaos, driving the per pupil education rate to such an extent that it makes it impossible for state legislators to attempt to tackle the problem. After all, in order to live by the state constitution, Hocking County, Ohio would need to receive the same type of funding as Butler County, Ohio. And in order to do that the cost per educated pupil would have to be determined.
The result was that from 2002 to 2010, in the Lakota School District in Butler County, Ohio for instance, the average salary of a teacher went up from $48,000 per year to a staggering $62,000 per year in just an eight year span. Other districts across Ohio have seen the same type of increase.
What is the result of this sudden jolt of salary increases? The cost per pupil in the State of Ohio was right around $6,500 in 1999 and is now just over $10,000. Since most education budgets occupy around 80% of the education expenditures, the cost per pupil is directly attached to teacher salaries and benefits.
In the State of Ohio the average teacher salary is roughly $55,000. Lakota is at $62,000. And the cost per pupil is directly connected to those wages. So what has happened is since wages have expanded nationwide for the teaching profession due to the diligent efforts of the NEA and the OEA teacher unions, along with others, the State of Ohio legislature is completely unable to determine what the cost per pupil is for teaching children, because many of them seek endorsement of the powerful unions, and therefore won’t touch the subject.
And with all this knowledge known and in print for all to see, newspapers cower away from such data in search of an easy headline. And television can’t seem to see behind the children that the powerful interests in education cower behind. There is only one place in Ohio that has the guts to tackle this issue for the complicated monster it truly is:
The Big One, 700 WLW
And with that, I present one of the most powerful moments of radio that I can remember in my lifetime. Scott Sloan actually took the time to go through over 160 pages of Lakota Teacher Contract in order to present the facts on the air to a group of Pro Levy supporters. To do such a thing required hours of preparation. Most people with much more at stake won’t read the contract because it’s too difficult, and that is how we all end up scammed, because people are reluctant to do the work. But Scott did the work and read it on the air. And for that, many people owe him a tremendous debt.
Click to listen: