In an attempt to inform readers about the upcoming school district operating levy, ThisWeek requested -- and received - questions. The following are some of the questions that were contributed and the best answers we could find.

In an attempt to inform readers about the upcoming school district operating levy, ThisWeek requested -- and received - questions. The following are some of the questions that were contributed and the best answers we could find.

Q: How long would current funding last if pay were frozen by the teachers' union for the upcoming contract year, but allowing step raises. For one year? Two years? This is being done in Grove City (South-Western Schools) as well as in Reynoldsburg to pass levies.

A: If Worthington teachers accepted a wage freeze for the upcoming year, the district would still need a levy; it would just change the size of the levy. South-Western teachers were at the end of their contract, which made it easier to do. (Source: Jeff McCuen, Worthington school board treasurer)

If teachers took a 0-percent raise and kept the old contract, it would also include the old health care plan. The new contract results in a 1.6-percent increase in health care costs instead of a 13-14 percent increase that was in the old contract. It is hard to separate the two issues. (Source: Melissa Conrath, Worthington superintendent of schools)

Q: Average teacher salary.

A: $66,769. (Source: McCuen)

Q: Teachers' pay range.

A: $37,930 to $89,632 this year. $39,000 to $92,187 next year. That is salary only. The cost of benefits is generally considered to add 25 percent. (Source: McCuen)

Q: How much is the increase in teachers' pay this year and for the next two, both blanket and step increases?

A: The contract calls for a 2.85 percent increase in base salary, plus step increases of between 0 and 5 percent, for this year and each of the next two years. The average step increase is 2 percent. Teachers also receive additional pay when they achieve additional hours of post-graduate education. (Source: McCuen and Conrath)

Q: How much do teachers pay for health insurance, and how much does the board pay? How much of the deductible does the board pay?

A: The board pays 90 percent of insurance premiums, the teachers 10 percent. That will change to 88-12 next year and 86-14 the following year. The board pays 67 percent of the deductible this year. That will change to 60 percent next year, 70 percent the following year. (Source: McCuen)

Q: What is the average class size in elementary, middle, and high school?

A: The average elementary class sizes are kindergarten, 18.9; first grade, 20.1; second grade, 21; third grade, 19.8; fourth grade, 23.6; fifth grade, 23.4; sixth grade, 24.8. The size of middle and high school classes vary from 24 to 27. (Source: Vicki Gnezda, Worthington Schools public information officer)

Q: What is the current cost per pupil? What is the cost based on operating expenses only, and based on operating and capital expenses?

A: Based on operating expenses only, it is $11,780 this year. According to the formula used by the state, the cost-per-pupil in 2007 was $12,148. That is the most recent state figure available. (Source: McCuen)

Q: Is it true that teachers can retire after 35 years and receive the same salary they received while teaching?

A: Teachers can retire with 25 years or more experience and the size of their pension increases with the number of years they accumulated. At 30 years, a teacher would receive 66 percent of the average of the three highest years' salary. It may be possible to retire with full pay with more than 40 years experience. (Source: Conrath)

Q: Is it true that Worthington would save millions if it paid teachers the same as teachers are paid in the Olentangy school district?

A: There would be some savings, but it would not be in the millions of dollars. Since Olentangy is a younger district, whose growth happened much more recently than Worthington's, there are more new teachers at the lower end of the salary scale. Each school district is unique according to where it is positioned according to the experience of teachers. Worthington residents continue to say in surveys that they value the experience of teachers in Worthington. (Source: McCuen, Conrath, Gnezda)