Teacher fights back against SB5

Schools may be out for Spring Break, but one music teacher in Cincinnati has been staying busy. Katie Hofmann has been keeping up with every SB5 development, worried about its impacts on the classroom.

Hoffman says she is worried about safety standards, maintaining fair pay, and keeping good teachers and good programs in Cincinnati schools.

Hofmann was the collective bargaining chair for the city's teachers' union, and now she is worried that chair may have been pulled out from under her by SB5 and the discussion table done away with.

"Without collective bargaining, teachers' voices are gone," Katie Hoffman said. "Collective bargaining brought us to the table."

Katie Hofmann has been teaching music in Cincinnati schools for more than 30 years.

"If the teachers aren't there to have a say in what goes on; I'm afraid if people who don't know anything about education, who aren't in the classroom make all these decisions, they may not be the right decisions," Hoffman said.

Hofmann has been active in the city's teachers union for more than a decade and a half. Tuesday she was in Columbus using her spring break to speak out against SB5.

"Finally we got so outraged we stood in the rotunda and started chanting," Hofmann recalled. "Then [we went] outside the room that they were meeting and just started chanting 'Kill the bill' and whatever else we could think of."

Hofmann says she believes the bill is not about balancing the budget, but that it is rather a political move.

"They're going to basically give corporate tax breaks on my back," Hofmann said.  I'm going to be carrying around these corporations and what have they done for me? They caused this financial collapse."

Hofmann says state politicians will soon have to face the music.

"People are really getting angry about this and it's not across party lines anymore," Hofmann said. "The voting going on in the House and Senate, yes, that's right along party lines, but in the public people are outraged."

Hofmann believes the revised bill will easily pass back through the state senate. She feels it is the public, however, that will have the final say even if it takes a referendum to take down SB5.

"We have our democratic process, thank God," Hofmann emphasized.

She says they need more teachers to get involved, saying she believes they will be able to get the support they need in Cincinnati, but that it will take state-wide support to see the referendum passed.

"Teachers have sat back on this one," Hofmann said. "Yes, we had a rally last week down on Fountain Square and we had a good three thousand people coming down there, but there were not as many teachers there as there should have been."

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