The article, "Students learn favorite teacher will lose job" (ThisWeek Upper Arlington News, April 4, 2013) highlighted three significant issues.

To the Editor:

The article, "Students learn favorite teacher will lose job" (ThisWeek Upper Arlington News, April 4, 2013) highlighted three significant issues.

The first was identified by a student who wondered why renewal of teaching contracts was based solely on tenure and not merit. I've been wondering the same thing myself.

The second issue was defined by board President Robert Arkin, who stated that cuts had to be made and contracts had to be terminated because of a failed levy.

Not so fast: The budget cuts did not determine who would be terminated. That decision was based on negotiations between the school administration and the teachers union, who chose to base retention on seniority, not merit. The taxpayers did not make that decision.

The third issue, articulated by Mr. Arkin, correctly identified that a majority of the budget is related to personnel costs. He appears, however, to overlook the fact that those costs can be reduced in ways other than staff reduction.

The administration seems intent on granting benefit plans that are virtually unattainable in the private sector, while increasing wages at more than double the rate of inflation. That is what causes the teaching staff reduction.

This approach is leading some people to conclude that the administration thinks it is relatively easy to extort the taxpayer by inflicting as much pain on the students as possible while blaming the situation on the taxpayers.

And that process takes a lot less effort than renegotiating benefit plans that are more in line with those available in the private sector, while renegotiating wage scales that are more in line with those of other school districts who achieve excellence with distinction.

If the school administration and the teachers union insist on holding wage scales sacrosanct, one might conclude that their highest priority is self-inurement.

William E. Gabel
Upper Arlington