Sandusky Central Catholic School officials are poised to implement a new, controversial pay scale for teachers in the upcoming school year.
The move would slice the salaries of the school's veteran employees by anywhere from 12 to 20 percent, while giving some less experienced teachers modest pay increases, according to affected teachers who spoke with the Register.
"None of us teach at a Catholic school for the money, but this is insulting and demoralizing," said one teacher, who did not want to be identified for fear of consequences.
Some fear the low pay rates could turn the institution into a "public school teacher training ground," said another, who also asked not to be named.
The Register obtained a copy of the pay scale Tuesday.
A copy of Sandusky Central Catholic School's new pay scale is available below.
Teachers on the lowest end of the scale, with a bachelor's degree and one year of experience, will receive $25,000 a year, according to the document.
Teachers on the highest end of the scale, with a bachelor's degree and 30 years of experience or more, will not receive more than $40,000 a year. A master's degree tacks on an extra $2,000 annually.
Sandusky Central Catholic School awards all its employees a one-year contract each year.
Any Sandusky Central Catholic School teacher who received more than $42,000 in the current school year will receive a pay cut, effective for their upcoming contracts.
The teachers who spoke with the Register said they wonder if the new pay structure is designed to drive out older, more experienced teachers.
Comparatively, an average teacher salary in Erie County's five public schools is $59,046, according to the Ohio Department of Education.
Tad Windau, the school's chief financial officer, as well as other school officials, allegedly gathered the teachers in the school chapel May 29 to deliver the unanticipated news of pay cuts.
After a heated discussion, one school official told distraught teachers to "open their own school" if they thought they could manage one better, according to the teachers who spoke with the Register.
"It's discouraging to see an extension of the church showing no compassion whatsoever to people who have literally given them their lives," a teacher said.
Windau did not return two phone messages or an email Tuesday seeking comment on the matter.
Teachers and community members are reportedly emailing letters of protest to the Rev. Joe Steinbauer, pastor of Sandusky's Catholic parishes, as well as Christopher Knight, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, which includes Sandusky.
"No one will talk to us about it, and it's created an atmosphere of mistrust among everyone," a teacher said. "I love these students and I believe in this school, but I have no confidence in the people running it right now."
Note: Because Sandusky Central Catholic School is a private school and not funded by tax dollars, it is not required to release financial information the Register.