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To Push SB5, Gov. Kasich Is A Bully Who Tells A “Bold Face Lie” — Says School Superintendent Shreffler

Southeast Local Schools Superintendent Mike Shreffler. (Picture taken from district's web-site.)

Southeast Local Schools includes the community of Apple Creek.

In a letter to his teaching staff (see below), Southeast Local Schools Superintendent Mike Shreffler describes a meeting he attended where Governor Kasish, in defending SB-5, told a “bold face lie.”  Shreffler said, “The absolute thing that bothered me the most about the whole ordeal was that he (Kasich) lied to the people in that room. He spread a bold face lie as propaganda in order to make his bill look valid. It made me sick. This Governor is a bully and the legislature is his posse.”

Laura Bischoff verified the letter in yesterday’s DDN, “School Superintendent Blasts Kasich.” Plunderbund printed the text in its post: Kasich on public employees: “we are at war with these people”

According to Superintendent Shreffler, Kasich lied about the amount that public employees pay to their retirement funds.  Writes Shreffler, “Kasich told the audience that public employees do not pay a dime into (retirement) and they do not pay a dime for their health insurance.”

There is no video, but I can imagine the exuberance with which Kasich would emphasize such whoppers.

The secret of good propaganda is to transmit a message that is absolutely false, while saying nothing that is technically untrue. On the national stage, someone like Mitch McConnell is a master of the art, and if Kasich hopes to play in the big time — as a VP candidate — he needs to start learning from the propaganda masters. Kasich tends to show all of his cards and feelings, for example, saying the state patrol officer who gave him a ticket is an “idiot.”

Kasich needs to study the 30 second pro SB5 commercial, “The Facts,” to see how to communicate a lie about how much public workers pay for insurance and retirement:

The Facts

Ohio is hurting. People and communities are struggling.

But with Issue 2, we can save taxpayer dollars, and fix our state. Issue 2 asks government employees to help by paying 10%  for their guaranteed pension and at least 15% of their health insurance.

With many families paying far more than that, asking government employees to chip in isn’t asking a lot. Issue 2’s reasonable reforms will save taxpayers dollars and make Ohio stronger. Vote “Yes” on Issue 2.

What is great about this propaganda entitled, “The Facts,” is that it gives no facts at all — only an impression that public employees are not paying for their pensions or health insurance.

In her DDN article, Bishoff writes, “State law mandates that public workers pay 10 percent of their wages toward their pension while their employers pay between 14 percent and 26 percent. However, about 6.6 percent of public employees have union and individual contracts that call for the employer to pick up all or part of the workers’ share as well.”

In Kettering Schools, the “public workers” who got such a sweet deal — of having the local board pay all of their retirement — were not members of the teachers’ union, but were all of the administrators.  And I imagine that is the case across the state. In Kettering, this past July, the school board voted to stop paying the retirement benefits of administrators, and, instead, increased the salary of administrators to compensate for this loss of benefit.

I watched WHIO Reports this Sunday with a debate, of sorts, between Jason Mauk, of “Building a Better Ohio,” who urged a “Yes” vote, and Melissa Fazekas, of “We Are Ohio,” who urged a “No” vote. Mauk communicated this very effective propaganda, that government workers are not paying 10% for their guaranteed pensions. And Fazekas, so far as I could tell, did not contradict him — and neither did Laura Bishoff, one of the moderators. I thought from a debate standpoint, Mauk had the better showing.

I’m surprised that the “We are Ohio” web-site doesn’t deal with this issue in an in-depth way. The web-site, disappointingly, does not seem thoughtful, at all. The only cure for propaganda is education, not more propaganda.

 

Superintendent Mike Shreffler’s Letter

September 9, 2011

Dear Staff,

I wanted to send this email to you for a week now. It has taken me the better part of this week to make sure I form my words correctly and present to you absolute facts. I am trying to do this (because) it is my duty as the superintendent of a legitimate public school district to fill you in on an occurrence I had last Thursday.

I was invited to hear Governor Kasich speak at a private “invitation” only event. At first, I declined, but after more consideration, I accepted and attended the event. Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder spoke for about 5 minutes and then the Governor spoke for about 20. The majority of people in the room were affiliated with the Republican Party.

When Batchelder spoke, he told this group point blank that Ohio is in the financial shape it is in because public employees have been bilking the state out of money for years. I promised myself that I would not become outraged to the point where I had to leave, so I stayed.

The Governor spoke for about 5 of the 20 minutes on Senate Bill 5. I thought you might be interested in some of the things he said. He told the audience that public employees do not pay a dime into (retirement) and they do not pay a dime for their healthcare insurance. As you know, this is a bold face lie. The public pension systems of Ohio have noted that 98% of public employees DO pay 10% of their salary to the retirement system. I hope you know that you do as well. Ten percent of your salary goes to STRS and the school district does pay an additional 14% for you. This is no different from an employee who has a pension from his or her company or a matched 401 (k). Nearly every professional employee of any company that is worth its salt has one or both of these benefits. Additionally, many public employees pay a percentage of their health care cost. You pay 20%.

The Governor said that “we are at war with these people.” He also said that he wishes they would just accept Senate Bill 5 because he is going to spend millions in tax payer money to defend it in the campaign. He said if it goes down, he and the legislature are going to “ram it through” in other leg at his polls are showing that as many as 70% of Republicans are going to vote the bill down and he doesn’t understand why.

He also tried to tell the people that he tried to sit down with union leadership and they declined. I guess he forgot that the union leadership approached him before Senate Bill 5 passed and he had the doors of the State House LOCKED for the first time ever in history. He locked us out of our building and said he was not discussing anything. His actions made that clear.

Although many people in the room clapped when he said other things, no one clapped during this Senate Bill 5 piece. He entertained about 10 questions. No one asked anything about Senate Bill 5. They all asked about why he is selling the turnpike to a foreign nation and why he is “selling jails” to private companies which may be foreign nations when the major religions have deemed this immoral, unethical and unjust. They also asked about tax abatements, Obama Care an every single question, he turned the tables around and made a comment that public employees have caused Ohio to be in financial ruin and that is why he was doing all of these things.

I could tell you more.

I understand that Ohio is in bad financial shape. I really do. I understand that we need reform. You cannot “ram through” reform and you cannot blame the state of the economy on the hard working people of Ohio. The absolute thing that bothered me the most about the whole ordeal was that he lied to the people in that room. He spread a bold face lie as propaganda in order to make his bill look valid. It made me sick.

This Governor is a bully and the legislature is his posse. We have to stand up to this bully AND to his posse. We need to make sure that our family members, our friends, our neighbors—anyone who will listen—know the truth and know that these lies are coming from Columbus. If you don’t stand up for yourself now, this wil cause a downward turn from which we will never recover.

Additional information:

As we speak, HB 136 is moving rapidly through the Ohio house. If passed into law, this bill allows ANY student in ANY public school to take their daily funding, which is now nearly $6,000 per student, and go to the private school of their choice if the family income is less than $95,000 per year. This money is deducted from the public school of residence. There is no regard for separation of church and state. I believe federal funds would follow the student as well. The private school is free to take or turn away any student they choose for any reason. They are free to kick them out whenever they wish. They are not accountable in any way shape or form as you are as a public school. If this bill passes, MANY of you will lose your job. First of all, we will deal with two different consequences of this bill. #1. Most private schools cost more than $6,000. So who will benefit? Upper middle class m of the crop that are given scholarships by the private schools. #2. If the private school costs less than $6,000 per year, the parent gets to bank the extra money. So that means if the parochial schools in our area choose to accept this, they could charge $4,000 per student and the parent would get a check for $2,000 for each kid. The lawmakers in Columbus keep trying to crush public education and we are hanging on by a thread. This and senate bill 5 will be the final nails in the coffin.

If there ever was a time to speak up and be active in government, it is now.

Hang in there,

Dr. Mike

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2 comments to To Push SB5, Gov. Kasich Is A Bully Who Tells A “Bold Face Lie” — Says School Superintendent Shreffler

  • BOH

    As a taxpaying citizen of the state of Ohio and the Southeast Local School District, I am deeply concerned about our Superintendent engaging in what is clearly a partisan political agenda on the taxpayer’s dime. Furthermore, as the CEO of our School District who must negotiate contracts with the Teacher’s Union, this clearly represents a conflict of interest with respect to protecting the taxpayer’s interests. Now while his personal opinion regarding this subject matter is irrelevant and not a concern to the taxpayers, engaging in this type of partisan politics while at work and utilizing the school system’s computers and officially distributing his political agenda to his subordinates (who may or may not share his politics, but may now feel pressured to do so) is not only unethical and improper, but may also be in violation of his employment contracts and may also violate state laws. I am also aware that other Sups have engaged in the distribution of this email to their staff on the taxpayer expense (including one Joseph R Edinger, Superintendent of East Holmes Local Schools ). These public officials should be investigated and the appropriate actions initiated.

  • Jerry Griffin

    If ever the truth was a good defense, this is it. Superintendent Shreffler is speaking truth to power.

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