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Posted on Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:01 a.m.

88 employees top $100,000 salary mark at Ann Arbor Public Schools

By David Jesse

The Ann Arbor school district paid 88 employees more than $100,000 in salary each in 2009, a higher number than in the vast majority of similar-sized districts, an analysis shows.

That’s just over 4 percent of the district’s 2,082 employees.

Among those 88 Ann Arbor employees topping six figures are 22 teachers.

District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said the salaries are from 2009, when there was one more pay period than normal in the year, bringing some over the $100,000 limit.


A total of 88 employees in the Ann Arbor school district make more than $100,000 each.

The compensation report is included in financial information placed on the Ann Arbor school district’s website in response to a new state law mandating financial and compensation transparency. The law requires all school districts to post a series of financial documents online, including the wages and total compensation of all employees making more than $100,000. It also requires districts to place a prominent link to the information on the homepage of their websites.

“We’ve always provided a lot of this information,” said Robert Allen, Ann Arbor’s deputy superintendent for operations. “Truly public information ought to be readily available. This just makes sure all the books are really open and parents can get the information they need. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and this will allow parents to see for themselves. I think the salary and budget information are the things the community should be most interested in.”

The information, Allen said, allows the community to question whether the numbers are reasonable.

“It will be much easier for parents and taxpayers to make those decisions because a parent can just go district-to-district to compare,” he said. “They can see if employees are overpaid or underpaid.”

Number of employees making over $100,000

This chart looks at comparable school districts.

  • Warren: 96
  • Ann Arbor: 88
  • Farmington: 85
  • Chippewa Valley: 77
  • Troy: 59
  • Walled Lake: 53
  • L'Anse Creuse: 51
  • Dearborn: 46
  • Wayne-Westland: 44
  • Waterford : 43
  • Livonia: 43
  • Plymouth-Canton: 42
  • Rochester: 40

Source: School district websites looked at the compensation reports for the 13 metro Detroit school districts that have enrollment between 10,000 and 20,000 students. Ann Arbor has about 16,400 students, according to state records.

The only district with more employees topping $100,000 than Ann Arbor was Warren, which had 96 employees meeting that criterion. Farmington was just under Ann Arbor, with 85 employees making more than $100,000.

In Washtenaw County, a total of 134 school employees earn more than $100,000. The county’s second largest district, Saline, has 15 employees making more than $100,000.

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District is exempt from the new law because it already was required to publish that information. Six WISD employees make more than $100,000 in wages. WISD Superintendent Bill Miller makes $148,993.00 in base pay and $179,393 in total compensation.

Ann Arbor was the only local district to have teachers exceeding the $100,000 mark.

The top of the pay scale for Ann Arbor teachers is $87,774. The teachers making more than $100,000 are doing additional work and getting supplemental pay, Allen said. That work can range from coaching to being a department chair.

Number of employees making over $100,000

This chart looks at all Washtenaw County school districts.

  • Ann Arbor: 88
  • Saline: 15
  • Dexter: 7
  • Milan: 6
  • Ypsilanti: 5
  • Chelsea: 4
  • Whitmore Lake: 3
  • Willow Run: 3
  • Lincoln: 2
  • Manchester: 1
  • Total: 134

Source: School district websites

Ann Arbor parent Ericka Mosley, who has three children in the district, said she doesn’t have a problem with teachers making high salaries.

“I think it’s more a definition and scale thing,” she said. “How high is too high? I looked at the chart and the district has a teacher making more than most of the elementary principals, a couple of middle school principals and even a high school principal. That seems off to me. I wonder what value we’re getting for what we’re paying that particular person?

“I also think the benefits costs are way too high. I think the district could really save there.”

In addition to wages, the state requires districts to post the amount paid for other benefits, such as health care and retirement.

The districts aren’t required to post the names of the employees earning the money, but they do have to note the position.

In most districts, the only positions on the lists are administrators, making it easy to determine who is making how much money. Some districts in the state are including names of employees, such as Wayne-Westland.

In addition to salary information, school districts are required to post their annual budget, a chart of personnel expenditures broken down into various subcategories, a chart of district expenditures broken down into several categories, the collective bargaining agreements for all unions, all health care plans, the district’s audit report, the annual amount spend on dues paid to associations and the annual amount spend on lobbying services.

Ann Arbor didn’t spend any money on lobbying services. The district spent $38,253.65 on dues to associations, including $20 in dues to groups such as the Michigan Council for Social Studies and $9,155 to the Michigan Association of School Boards.

The law requires the data be updated every year, 30 days after a district passes its budget or no later than July 31.

DistrictSuperintendentWagesTotal compensation
Ann ArborTodd Roberts$188,480.77$247,751.43
Chelsea Dave Killips$177,079.92$215,380.41
SalineScot Graden$139,734$188,747
Whitmore LakeKim Hart$124,223$178,689
ManchesterShawn Lewis-Lakin$128,123.7$175,757.48
Ypsilanti*Dedrick Martin$169,139$169,139
Dexter**Rob Glass$135,000$155,087
MilanBryan Girbach$135,411.16$148,481.08
LincolnLynn Cleary$131,000$138,562
Willow Run***Laura Lisiscki$89,333$118,529
* Was hired midway through 2009-10 school year   
** Is no longer Dexter superintendent   
*** Is the acting superintendent  

David Jesse covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Wed, Aug 25, 2010 : 5:35 p.m.

To the people who insist teachers make too much money think again. The figure of $88,000 is with a masters degree and 11+ years into the system. I left the business world making a six figure salary to help children. My first year salary with a masters degree was $40k. I can tell you that every teacher I know works non-stop during the school year, taking classes in the summer that they pay for themselves, and gives to the less fortunate children who can't afford clothes, food and the like. The states ecenomic woes should not be forced onto the back of it's teachers. It is very sad that I would no longer recommend ANYONE go into the field of teacher. Why bother. And yes I will be leaving after I get my 10 years in. I will make three times what I'm making now as a counselor/therapist. And then we wonder why China and Japan are "beating us up?"


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:49 a.m.

"...Maybe we'd do better to direct our ire at those responsible for all the foregoing...." What?  Go after the huge corporations which plunder our county? Stop bashing local teachers?  Stop mocking tea partyers? We can't do that!  We must allow Wall Stree..... er, the market.... to decide!

Roger Roth

Sun, Aug 15, 2010 : 7:34 p.m.

@snapshot I'm no economist. And I haven't dug up stats on the internet to support my point. But, if you agree that the real income of Americans has drop considerably over the last decades, then isn't it true that, effectively, we're all paying more for less? Doesn't it take more money now (figuring in inflation, etc.) to buy food and housing and utilities, etc. than it did 25 years ago? Aren't we getting poorer? Isn't there a widening gulf between the rich and the poor in this country and, in fact, isn't the middle class shrinking? One of the things about this whole discussion that I find sad, for lack of a better word, is that middle class people are being pitted against one another by whom/whatever. We shouldn't be begrudging each other's relatively meager incomes when all we're all doing is trying to keep our heads above water and help our families. Maybe we'd do better to direct our ire at those responsible for all the foregoing I mentioned above.

Elizabeth Nelson

Sun, Aug 15, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

More teachers, please!! There's a struggling student in the room!


Sun, Aug 15, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

"I basically rolled my eyes and laughed at the essence of AlphaAlpha's suggestion: 'Hey, why not abolish the concept of the government providing a free and appropriate education?" You clearly misunderstood the original idea. Abolishing free & appropriate education was never suggested, was it? You fail.


Sat, Aug 14, 2010 : 10:15 p.m.

I'm tired of you teacher folks trying to make heroes out of teachers who "do a job". If it isn't a job, why did we have to legislate that they couldn't go on strike? You say the unions are to guarantee fair labor practices but don't seem to care that folks are losing their jobs. You don't care about the kids unless you get paid to care about the kids. That's a job. Quit trying to make it something it's not, or you wouldn't be refusing to negotiate compensation concessions. It's a job and you wouldn't do it if you didn't get paid. Mother Theresa's you aren't. Would you pay a store clerk twice as much for a product just because the clerk has a Masters degree? No you wouldn't would you? Start self policing yourselves and get rid of the bad teachers, incorporate an evaluation system to "prove" your worth in educating the kids, and start acting like you care about what's happening out in the "real" world of employment. Taxpayers keep paying more and more for less and less while private workers are working more and more for less and less. We want it to stop.

Elizabeth Nelson

Sat, Aug 14, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

@Roger Roth-- you're clearly a teacher, taking the time to explain the obvious. I basically rolled my eyes and laughed at the essence of AlphaAlpha's suggestion: 'Hey, why not abolish the concept of the government providing a free and appropriate education? Kick all the losers out!" We're getting down to pretty basic facts here when folks don't understand the POINT (and benefit) of providing public education to even the 'difficult' kids. There are also a few pesky federal laws about special education in the mix there, too... but then I guess it would be a simple and elegant solution to simply kick all those kids out, too (save some bucks... genius!)


Fri, Aug 13, 2010 : 12:12 p.m.

This thread will soon drop from's top-of-the-pops comment list, and it now looks like we're down to one active teacher basher. Although he or she has sadly passed on the chance to run for the school board (assuming Ann Arbor residency) and ply their anti-teacher policies at the decision-maker level, a new opportunity has publicly arisen as of today. Could it be that our district keenly awaits its first Alpha Superintendent?


Fri, Aug 13, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

Average Michigan resident salary is $36, 270. These numbers seem extremely excessive!

Roger Roth

Fri, Aug 13, 2010 : 7:28 a.m.

AlphaAlpha One of the beauties of our public ed. system is that it is 100% inclusive. Doing otherwise makes it elitist, essentially a private school. We do all we can to group kids in advantageous ways. But bottom line is, when averages are extracted, they reflect 100% of those tested, the luckiest and ablest of kids along with those with learning disabilities, psychological issues, and a hundred other roadblocks to learning. Personally, for the money spent, I wouldn't have it any other way. Education is so complex that, after nearly four decades in the business, I don't fully understand it, so it's easy for me to see how lay people might have what I think are simplistic views of it. Education is about as black and white as the world economy and we see how apparently inept the greatest economic minds in history have been both avoiding economic catastrophe or solving it when it happens. As for my C-, I got a lot of those in school, even worse in math because I simply couldn't do math. Nonetheless, I've enjoyed some measure of success and happiness in my life (I tongue-in-cheek aver that "I'm the envy of many a man".) I've long thought that the emphasis on "making the grade" that pervades our ed. system may be unnecessary and actually hurt kids. I base this on my own life, only. You're a hard grader!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Aug 13, 2010 : 7:15 a.m.

@Roger Roth wrote: "The vacation thing is troubling to a lot of people. If school were made year-round, I don't know if I could do it. I need the break and return in Sept. rejuvenated and eager to work." Question: Are our schools run for the benefit of children or the teachers? The research proves that low and moderate income children are DAMAGED by the traditional Summer break. I put my sources up days ago. No one has challenged it with RESEARCH of their own to rebut what I wrote. Nor have any discussions occurred off-line as I offered. Anyone who wants the chapter of the book I referenced please email me; I'm happy to supply a more legible table of the research results. How to solve the traditional Summer break problem is open to debate. Roger Roth notes there are many different models already deployed in public schools nationwide where students go to school year-round with various types of breaks and semester schedules. Of course all change is difficult and scary and it's just easier to ignore the truth, which is "an elephant in the room." I also note that the entire rest of the discussion thread here is between teachers and members of the public upset about Administrator (66) and Teacher (22) salaries and yet apparently no Administrators are defending their salaries. It's a great strategy to have teachers as cover in the line of fire for all of them. Everyone loves articulate teachers. In the private sector a good sales person makes a lot more than a good administrator. The highest paid people are usually sales people in any company, as they bring in the bucks that keep the doors open! Good teachers it seems to me are as valuable as good salespeople and in my opinion, ought to make MORE than good administrators. On the other hand, the CEO and his or her top few key lieutenants/department heads might make more than the best salespeople, but I scratch my head about there being 66 such people in an organization the size of AAPS. Perhaps someone can explain to us why this is a good idea and necessary to deliver excellent education to our children?


Fri, Aug 13, 2010 : 5:59 a.m.

Lisa - "So that's your goal.. " No; the goal is to find the least bad way of dealing with a serious and worsening economic crises, described just above. Constructive ideas are welcome. Good luck.


Fri, Aug 13, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

"Keep salaries level, fire personnel, increase class sizes,maybe close buildings, cut everything else to the bare bones and conserve where you can--which is exactly how systems are dealing with the financial crisis." We shall see how the status quo responses evolve. Statistics and historical economic analogies suggest our economy may worsen before improving; if true, the need to reduce public spending will rise beyond the ability of these ideas to work, unless we approximately double class size, in order to cut paid pay by half. Given that possibility, most would likely prefer cutting compensation to doubling already large workloads... "Either all that, or I'd beg ARod to help us out. Or Warren Buffet. Or Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey." Specious. "I'd also do all I could to move education further up on the Federal priority list. And perhaps try to convince congress that education might be as important to our security and defense as the Pentagon is." Also specious; Department level attention is about as high as priority gets, though clearly second to blank checks for endless wars... "I am in regular touch with my reps in congress and I hope everyone who cares about education in this country is, as well. I find our reps responsive and I'm grateful." Responsive reps? Unless you are on their finance committee, the responsiveness is generally limited to a useless form letter response. Granted the educators tend to be huge financial contributors, but even this legal influence will be unable to prevent the ultimate reductions in funding and thus pay levels which will ensue. Regrettably, economic realities today are profoundly different from those of just a few years back. We are not as wealthy as we once were. Deflationary forces are gathering. Asset prices have been dropping for several years now. Private labor rates and compensation levels have been falling as well. It's inevitable that public compensation will drop as well. You get a C-. No grade inflation here...


Fri, Aug 13, 2010 : 5:37 a.m.

John - This from way above: "But it is very difficult to teach a public school student population who cannot be asked to leave except in extreme circumstances" Can this be changed?" This question was never addressed by Ms. Nelson; you may be on to something of significance here. As asked above, what has changed over the years? Are schools afraid of litigation which could result from appropriate treatment of troublemakers and other uninterested types? It seems as though if the small percentage of uninterested or uncoorperative could be reassigned to a special section just for them, the general learning environment would be improved for all. Perhaps the special section teachers would qualify for bonus pay... If we are to reduce public teacher pay, it would be excellent if we also provide them with an improved work environment. "Why should we limit "market" and "performance" to teachers alone?" An excellent question. Deserves more research. This is yet another area where the public schools should become more competitive with private schools.

Roger Roth

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 9:38 p.m.

Alpha Alpha: Keep salaries level, fire personnel, increase class sizes,maybe close buildings, cut everything else to the bare bones and conserve where you can--which is exactly how systems are dealing with the financial crisis. Either all that, or I'd beg ARod to help us out. Or Warren Buffet. Or Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey. Bernie Madoff, it's my understanding is indisposed and may not be able to help us at this time. I'd also do all I could to move education further up on the Federal priority list. And perhaps try to convince congress that education might be as important to our security and defense as the Pentagon is. I am in regular touch with my reps in congress and I hope everyone who cares about education in this country is, as well. I find our reps responsive and I'm grateful. BTW, I financed my college education in the 60's with what was called NDEA, the National Defense Education Act. God Bless America!! Er, did I pass?

John Q

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 8:59 p.m.

I would lay off the poorest performing students or those with parents who refuse to support their child's education. Why should we limit "market" and "performance" to teachers alone? If we could boot the laggards out of the classroom, test scores would improve, we could spend less on education and class sizes would be reduced. Using your own ideas, I solved all your problems!

Lisa Starrfield

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 8:59 p.m.

Alphaalpha said, ""Again, how can you reasonably expect the quality of teachers to be BETTER if you drop our salaries to HALF of what it is currently?" This question was answered; we expect the salary reductions to make the schools more competitive. " So that's your goal.. to make us 'competitive' so that private schools and charters can compete with us? Charter schools get the same per pupil from the state, private schools get whatever they charge (some charge almost twice as much as our per pupil allotment) and yet still somehow parents overwhelmingly put their kids in public schools. Ann Arbor is a rich town by all comparison and yet, our schools are filled. Heck, Bill Ford even sent his kids to AAPS schools. Seems like despite our "over compensation" we are competing and beating the competition just fine.


Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 8:05 p.m.

Might as well let the whole class speak. Roger, Susan, Lisa, Ghost and John Q too: If you were in charge, and your revenue declined, and tax increases were declined by the customers, would you: 1. Lay off some teachers and increase class size? 2. Cut pay proportionally, keeping class sizes unchanged? 3. Or what?


Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 7:58 p.m.

"I also do not know how to determine "quality" educators, but feel that there can be some method developed that allows for this review. " Thankfully, there are easy solutions to this portrayed-as-vexing issue: these reviews occur daily at many thousands of schools around the nation, indeed around the world. It's almost comical how some members of the local school 'company' claim it would be difficult to even develop these criteria, let alone use them. It simply isn't true. Just look around... Teachers are easy to review; having the political will to do so: priceless.

Roger Roth

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

Thanks, born blu Let's remember that this conversation started because of a story in implying that administrative and other salaries in AA schools over 100K were too high and not by teachers and administrators complaining that their pay was too low. I do appreciate as I posted earlier that there are many not certified, yet qualified in my view, people who could and should be teachers. I think some day it may happen that some mechanism will be created to bring these people in to teach our kids. Many years ago, I watched a bee keeper, who was paid by the parent organization, mesmerize a gym full of elementary kids in an assembly on honey bees and bee keeping. The guy was in every way a master teacher and I think didn't have a college degree. The vacation thing is troubling to a lot of people. If school were made year-round, I don't know if I could do it. I need the break and return in Sept. rejuvenated and eager to work. More than that, I think kids and their families need the break too. There are variations on the summer vacation around the country such as 9 weeks on, 3 off, year round, etc. I don't know how these are viewed. Bottom line is, I think, if taxpayers feel strapped to pay the payroll as it now stands, they may find it impossible, without more aid, to pay for longer hours by school employees. Seems what some want is for teachers to work year-round and make less money and they have no real reason for wanting that except that it will just make themselves feel better. Maybe we should take a lesson from George Steinbrenner and tuck school financing so far into the crevices of municipal, state or federal budgets that no one can figure out exactly how much they're paying for schools and where all the money comes from. You see on your tax bill how much goes for schools. It's right out there, in black and white. That's a good thing, except it does tend to rile some people.


Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

ERMG-- dk got it right -- you seem to want to alter your point when you have stated that 'no one is running'. Lets not be Clintonian plase.


Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 5:58 p.m.

Roger, Susan, Lisa, Ghost: Let me state that I have no issue with the current level of reimbursement for "quality" teachers. Furthermore I have the utmost respect for what they provide and would never like to put some form of arbitrary limit on their income. The real issue is that there is an actual budget that our schools must live within and teachers must work with the administration and school board to determine what salaries can be, relative to all other costs necessary for the education of our children. There is simply a limited supply of money with the primary arbitrary expense being teacher salaries. I also do not know how to determine "quality" educators, but feel that there can be some method developed that allows for this review. It is simply ludicrous, and does no good, to compare income of teachers to athletes, actors, entertainers, etc. That inclusive list of specialized individuals is so limited is has no bearing or relationship to the income of "common folk". As I have indicated in prior threads, my spouse is a retired teacher and I have friends and relatives that have been/are involved in teaching. During summer (being retired) a majority of my activity is in playing golf. My routine partners include presently employed teachers with whom I schedule time when they are not either traveling or fishing. Now I know that they, if desired, could make a justifiable arguement that their time vacationing, fishing, golfing, etc. provides knowledge, insight, and life experiences that can improve their teaching ablities, but I would call this quite disingenuous. Furthermore, one of my close friends uses much of summer to attend classes at Northwestern Univ. in Traverse City, while he again vacations, fishes, etc., with his family. To imply that all (or even a majority) of teachers work on a full time basis during summer vactation is IMHO just not true. Again, that being said, they do spend significant time over summer (and during the school year) with lesson plans, learning centers, and many other activites preparing for the new year. As an aside, would I have loved to teach, yes! But at the time I would have liked to, even with a Masters, I am/was not allowed (latter in my career), although I could have substituted as not even a Bachelors is required. My inablity to teach was not because of lack of knowledge, ability, or life experience, but because of undergrad credits and student teaching not taken. Is a teacher with a Masters limited from sales, marketing, manufacturing, finance, engineering, etc. in an introductory position? I believe not, and would further suggest that if they are that unsatisfied with their income, they pursue other employment.


Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

Lisa - Regarding your comment: "People have been implying that we can replace our "bad" teachers with "good" teachers for half the price.." Some may imply that; but, from a larger perspective, it's not relevant to most; the issue is not about replacing bad teachers, it's about replacing bad teacher compensation levels. The issue of good and bad teachers...won't be addressed anytime soon, and likely should be kept as the separate issue it is. Your thoughts on that issue would be more appropriately directed toward those commenting along those lines. The issue of teacher compensation levels likely will be addressed soon, with the resolution being lower compensation for virtually all public employees. "Again, how can you reasonably expect the quality of teachers to be BETTER if you drop our salaries to HALF of what it is currently?" This question was answered; we expect the salary reductions to make the schools more competitive. "Especially when studies have shown that good teachers can earn significantly more if they leave the classroom" A genuine curiosity prompts this question: Will you please cite some of these studies? A comparison of the salary ranges therein will be fascinating. Finally, another, unrelated question: If you were in charge, and your revenue declined, and tax increases were declined by the customers, would you: 1. Lay off some teachers and increase class size? 2. Cut pay proportionally, keeping class sizes unchanged? 3. Choose your idea here? Thanks...

Roger Roth

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 4:58 p.m.

Susan, your comment wasn't directed toward me, but I do want you to know how highly I thought of it. Thanks!

Susan Montgomery

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 4:48 p.m.

Ms. Starrfield - I commend you for hanging in there among all the teacher bashing... To all the terrific teachers I have known through my interaction with AAPS - K-12 teaching is difficult, emotionally draining work, and the last thing y'all need is folks bashing you after all your efforts, particularly as you start to get ready for the upcoming school year. You'd have to pay me way more than $100K to do it myself... At least in college teaching if a student doesn't want to be there he/she is not there. K-12 teachers have to deal with those who don't want to be there while doing your best to teach those who want to learn, inspire the rest to want to learn as well, support the students who have issues at home that are affecting their performance, find the right balance to encourage those who need the help... Whew... Thanks to all of you for what you do and best wishes in the upcoming school year...

Roger Roth

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

Edward R Morrow's Ghost You said it better than I ever could. In an earlier comment I rather joked that "being a teacher is so easy, even a cave man could do it." The real point is that there's always room in our profession for great teachers. I know there are great teachers out in the lay public who have a gift to reach kids. Many are parents, whom I've long thought to be among the best teachers in the world. A guy by the name of George Kneller (sp?) (I think) once said that great teachers are born, not made. I really meant it and I think you do too: Get your degree and certification. Be a teacher. Kids need you.

Roger Roth

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 1:35 p.m.

dk So, what you're saying is that tax considerations and subsidies given professional sports are "voluntary." I think most people understand the extent to which governments dip into their pockets in order to maintain professional sports and their obscenely paid athletes. We all pay for that, often without complaint. Take the Yankee payroll for one season and inject it into the Ann Arbor school system and, BINGO!, better MEAP scores in 4th and 8th grade reading and ne'er a complaint about someone earning 100K, ARod's pay for an abbreviated day's play. But dk, this isn't about pay, is it? Surely everyone regards the education of its youth to be priceless. Our system is not perfect. I and my colleagues work tirelessly, I can assure you, with our students, parents and with each other to make the system better. Most of all, I know that the fine people I work with have the interests of their students as their top priority. This is the reason so many kids do so well in so many of our schools. I know most people understand that and realize that it is by working closely together that we can continue to improve outcomes. That's what we want to do, always make things in education better tomorrow than they were today. I want you and all contributors here to know that I highly respect your/their input. I learn a lot from this. I want to keep learning because, I hope, it makes me a better teacher.

mom in SE Michigan

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 11:59 a.m.

I don't begrudge any of the teachers one cent of their salaries. Teaching is truly a noble profession. It saddens me to see such vitriol and pettiness about how teachers are paid. Shame on all of you who've written such negative remarks. I dare any of you to trade your jobs for just a day. It would be quite an eye-opener!


Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

"Sponsors, TV revenues contribute, as well as ticket sales, MLB wares, etc., all things for which we pay inflated prices" Roger - The difference being that these items mentioned are voluntarily paid by fans, not taxed by the government. Edward - I see you've resorted to an arguement that claims people not actively running for the school board don't have the right to complain. If this isn't the last arguement made by someone on the losing side of things, I don't know what is.


Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

local: It is my understanding that teachers who are dept heads, teach one less class. So instead of teaching 5 classes, they only teach 4. (supposedly to have extra time to handle their dept head duties) So they teach less, and get paid more. Not a bad deal. Also: having teachers as coaches costs the district double. Everytime a teacher/coach has to leave class early to 'travel'to a game, etc, not only are we paying extra for that teacher to coach, but we are also paying for that substitute teacher to stay back and teach their classes. For many teachers that are coaching, they miss hours of teaching each season they coach. When we have an outside coach, we only need to pay them,, and not the substitute teacher to cover them. As mentioned below by many people, $100k for only teaching 38 weeks a year, with all major holidays off, plus all the benefits, is not shabby. Many teachers earn more by taking jobs during their 10 week summer vacation. Who else gets 10 weeks off every summer? plus 2 weeks at Christmas, a week in february, a week in April, plus all major Holidays?

Lisa Starrfield

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.

AlphaAlpha, People have been implying that we can replace our "bad" teachers with "good" teachers for half the price.. Scylding said:"For a smart teacher (you are a teacher, right?), you sure seem to be struggling to understand the basic fact that there are hundreds of qualified and talented teachers who are out of work, hungry, and would jump at the chance, at less pay, to replace the tired and less than stellar teachers that exist among your ranks, that is if the government-union complex would allow open market conditions to prevail. " Heardoc said: "yes i do think we would get better teachers. Ones who are happy with their job and pay and truly dedicated to the students rather than themselves. They would be younger, better educated and more motivated to teach. " and you claimed this (without evidence):"Statistics suggest we will continue to have a large pool of qualified applicants after public teacher wages become competitive by being reduced." about the same time you demanded our salaries be cut by 1/3 to 1/2. Folks spend a great deal of time complaining how bad teachers are and how we don't perform. Again, how can you reasonably expect the quality of teachers to be BETTER if you drop our salaries to HALF of what it is currently? Especially when studies have shown that good teachers can earn significantly more if they leave the classroom and those charter school teachers so many of ya'll glorify aren't performing any better, most are doing worse. It's not rational. It's magical thinking.

thinking outside the michigan box

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 : 7:04 a.m.

After reading more about the k12 program and the Race to the Top Obama initiative, it appears in the near future local school boards could be a thing of the past. Michigan is one of 30 states that adopted national education standards which will allow states to be eligible for additional federal funds. More federal involvement will be less local control. The ultimate goal of the Race to the Top iniative is a national standard and national test. I don't agree with education being controlled at the federal level, but unless Michigan can say no the federal money, I don't see how it won't happen.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 10:20 p.m.

@ the quote "(i.e. WHEW, no one raised my taxes!)." So, why is it so bad to not want your taxes raised? I find this an interesting debate and only wish certain folks would leave out the condescending attitude--people can take different sides but there is no need for snide comments.

Roger Roth

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 9:58 p.m.

@dk Thanks for your comment. You're right--partly. You don't actually take money out of your pocket, give it to Steinbrenner (Zeus rest his soul) and George gives it to ARod. It's more involved and, may I say clever, than that. Sponsors, TV revenues contribute, as well as ticket sales, MLB wares, etc., all things for which we pay inflated prices, like a hidden tax. 32 million big ones. Then there's the new $billion + Yankee Stadium and new stadiums all over the country that are being paid for either directly by taxpayers or with taxpayer subsidies. If my memory serves me correctly, Pittsburgh asked taxpayers to build two new stadiums at the same time a few years back. I think there were complaints about that, however.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 9:01 p.m.

"The idea that cutting salaries, in any profession, will result in BETTER quality employees is ludicrous especially given the extant of cuts proposed by those here." Strange. Why would a teacher post a comment like this? No one suggested cutting salaries results in better employees, yet the implied assertion is that some one did. Odd. Normalizing compensation will (in caps?) result in a more competitive public school company, however. And the competition, scary as it sounds to many, will indeed be a good thing; it will make good schools even better.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 8:13 p.m.

"I think, as a teacher, I'm worth what ARod gets. Most disagree. But they happily pay ARod his salary, yet complain about mine.... " Roger, you can't be serious???? ARod isn't being paid by the tax payers, you are. Yet you sit here and openly wonder why tax payers are concerned about where their money is going? The level at which you (and many other teachers I'm afraid) are out of touch is mind boggling.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 5:44 p.m.

@snaphot said: "We are so backwards in education that we don't even ALLOW kids to take a second language until about 10th grade." Our "backwards" Ann Arbor schools start foreign language education in 6th grade, not 10th. Since you also indicated that no one is learning Chinese, I will also point out that Skyline High School is offering Chinese in addition to the traditional European languages. While I agree with your point that language education should come earlier in our schools, you should at least get your facts straight. And good luck finding lots of qualified foreign language teachers willing to work for $40K a year. @snapshot said: "Teacher and administrative compensation take about 80% of the revenue schools get from taxpayers. If this was a charity you would likely refuse to "donate" because your money wasn't going to the people in need. What's different with schools? The financial sector dedicates 50% of revenue to compensation. Citizens are up in arms over their high salaries. What's different about school employees taking 80% of revenues for compensation, leaving only 20% going to the kids?" I am really having a hard time understanding the logic of this comment. Teachers are paid for their labor educating students. If you hired a piano teacher to give you piano lessons, the teacher gets 100% of what you pay, and you get piano lessons in return. Using your logic, you are getting nothing. Assuming your "80% for compensation" fact is actually correct, it makes no sense at all to say that that leaves "only 20% for the kids." What is that other 20%? It's the buildings, the utility bills, etc. The kids don't get any revenues - they get an education that they could not get without a lot of highly qualified labor. When evaluating a charity (or a school system), it is reasonble to ask whether too much is spent on adminstrative costs. But teaching itself is not an administrative cost - it is exactly what we should expect our tax money to be spent on. I wonder how many of the teacher bashers here have kids in the Ann Arbor schools or have kids at all. My experience with three kids going through the AAPS, is almost completely positive. Yes, there have been two or three bad teachers, but overall my kids received an excellent education. Could there be improvements? Absolutely. Is there some money wasted? I am sure there is, as there is in any large organization, public or private. Are teachers here overpaid? No, not when you consider the overall quality of local public school education and the importance of the work they do. Do you really think that by setting a limit on teacher's salaries at $40K or $60K or the local average salary, that you won't see a decline in the overall quality of who is willing to enter the profession? A good education is the best chance your kids have to do better than you in life. Do you really want to trust that to someone whose pay is capped at those levels? Finally, I will repeat what has been said by a few others here. The lack of any opposing candidates for the School Board is very telling. It is very easy to be a keyboard warrior. If you care so much about changing things in the AAPS, get off your butts, put together a slate of candidates for the School Board, and let the voters decide what kind of change is needed.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 4:58 p.m.

"... So I'd bet that the explanation is that alternative candidates are not available because they don't have the time to give to a charitable cause that is so time consuming, complex and contentious...." Over the years, it's likely the time factor substantially limited the pool of competing candidates. Yet, unlike this year, one could nearly always expect more board aspirants than available seats, with or without contentiousness. In the discussion thread following the brief report on the Ann Arbor school board's unchallenged incumbents, former board applicant (?) Elizabeth Nelson gives an alternate perspective on the complete lack of alternative candidates. She explains why, in her view, not one single candidate has emerged from the general political milieu which stridently opposed last November's county millage proposal for schools. Read her comments here: This is a one-sentence excerpt: "The lack of candidates right now does show that their interest was purely financial -- that interest group was satisfied so long as the school didn't actually get the money (i.e. WHEW, no one raised my taxes!)." Until recent years, conservatives in the district maintained a long history of running their own candidate slates in Ann Arbor's school board elections. Lately we haven't seen that. Now they seek to defund schools, not run them. Just as it has been throughout this long discussion thread, their issue is monetary. At a time when our nation's pointless overseas wars reach the trillion mark in total costs, the local bashers demand we go OCD over salary levels and toss teachers under the yellow bus, all so that they can save a handful of tax dollars and/or gain relief from AAEA teacher salary envy.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 3:44 p.m.

I teach within the county and I agree that administrators do seem to be getting overpaid during these tough economic times. I hear it every year how great it is to get time off, but most teachers work during the summer at other jobs or are taking classes. Many people forget that we have to continue our education in order to keep up our certification. And the credits we do earn must be graduate level which is more costly. It seems that many forget how much teachers really do for their students. I currently teach middle school and would love to extend an invitation to anyone that feels my job is "easy" or that I am overpaid to come in for a week just to see what exactly I do.

John Q

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 3:40 p.m.

"There is no way a teacher should make 100K in total compensation -- no way!" Thanks again for another example of someone who claims they support "the market" deciding what people should get paid - except you don't. "Your post is exactly what it derides. It is not based on any facts", but rather just emotion, that of defensive indignation." I'm not the one claiming that my opinions are based on "facts" but then turning around and using the words "no one", "never" and similar words in reaction to the idea that teachers should make more money than they do.

thinking outside the michigan box

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 3:38 p.m.

Also, since there would be less teachers and not all the high cost benefits. We could afford to pay the remaining teachers a very good salary.

thinking outside the michigan box

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 3:33 p.m.

I just read some information regarding The Michigan Virtual Charter Academy and wanted to share the information with those who may be interested. This is an online public school that uses the award winning k12 curriculum and beginning this school year students K-8 can enroll.They offer a self paced and individualized curriculum that meets or exceeds state standards, students must take the MEAP and other tests required by the state. All supplies are delivered to your home and certified teachers make one to one contact with the students. World languages are offered in elementary,summer school is available to work ahead or catch up. Students can take advanced math (or whatever subject) and remain at or below grade level for other subjects. The students aren't placed by age, instead they are placed by ability or motivation. They have been offering 9-12 instruction and have very impressive results. Also offered is online private instruction, The International K12 Academy. There is a great deal of information on the website, I realize this is not for everyone and would require strong home support at this time. But, I do believe this is the future of what "schooling" will soon become in our global world. In relation to teachers pay, this instruction will decrease the need for so many teachers, and all the middle and upper management that is now costing us so much money. The unions are not involved and 401k's are offered in the benefits just like the private sector. I'm out of time, but this makes me very hopeful for the future.

Lisa Starrfield

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 3:13 p.m.

DonBee, We are talking about Ann Arbor, not Michigan. Out of 830 public middle schools in Michigan, we ranked: Clague 15th Tappan 33rd Forsythe 60th Ann Arbor Open 84th Slauson 97th Scarlett 270th Four out of six were in the top ten percent. Slauson wasn't far from being there. Even our worst performing school was near the top quartile. We are very far above Michigan's average on the MEAP, the ONLY standardized test that all Michigan kids take ever year. The NAEP is the national test. It is administered every other year and then only to a SAMPLE of the state. In five years, I have never given the NAEP.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 2:03 p.m.

Michigan students don't take a national test. They take the MEAP which is a Michigan test. Very mature and intelligent response Scylding.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 1:44 p.m.

@Speechless wrote: "I am also deeply impressed with the sheer number of teacher bashers who have chosen to challenge our local school board incumbents in November." Many of the lucky people I know who still have a job are working 80 hour weeks (including lots of travel out of the state to find or perform that work) just to keep their jobs and to keep their heads above water financially. So I'd bet that the explanation is that alternative candidates are not available because they don't have the time to give to a charitable cause that is so time consuming, complex and contentious. I'd turn the question around and ask why did so many former board members quit in the past year?


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

@Elise - These are national standarized tests. So the numbers are apples to apples numbers for state averages.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

Haha! Test scores don't count. Let's just line the kids up and ask them how "good they feel" about how well they read or do algebra. Then we can compare the states in terms of their kids' "subject-specific self-image". That will settle it. I'm sure that's the way they do it in Japan, Finland, Germany, and all the other places that are kicking our butts in student performance.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 12:58 p.m.

Unless we go to a nationwide test that every child in the U.S. takes, you can't compare test results from one state to another. Some states are known for having very rigorous tests while others have much easier tests. Plus, test scores are not the only way to assess student learning nor is it a very valid way.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 12:47 p.m.

@ Roger Roth - I am sorry to brust your bubble - but Michigan does not have by any measure the best educated workforce in the US. According to the US Census Table 260 On Proficiency Levels: National Average / Michigan Score Grade 4 Math 81/80 Grade 8 Math 70/66 Grade 4 Reading 66/66 Garde 8 Reading 73/72 Only in Grade 4 Reading does Michigan rise to the national average. North Dakota, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Maine, Kansas and others all do better than we do. Oh by the way - they all have a lower average teacher salary than Michigan does. This according to the National Association of Teachers (The parent Union of the MEA) website. According to the American Federation of Teachers (the Union representing Teachers in Detroit and elsewhere) Michigan is the 4th best paying state in the US for teachers based on pay vs cost of living. Both the NEA and AFT documents have been published during this calendar year. I agree that teachers should be well paid, but I can not in all of my research find a direct link between teacher pay or benefits and student achievement. I doubt it is reasonable to expect one. The place where AAPS really over does it is Administration. They have way more people on staff, than similar sized districts in the state. That is where the school board should be looking to make changes in 2011. For those of you who have access to USAToday, check out the front page story from Yesterday (Tuesday on public vs private pay).


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 12:30 p.m.

"... Roger... References to what "the market" pays are nothing more than a smokescreen.... In their minds, the fact that your salary is paid, in part, through their tax dollars means you can never earn more than they do...." John Q's point is a good one that hadn't come into my mind prior to poring over this long thread. While I don't feel salary envy is the only significant motivation on this site behind endless attacks on teacher income by a small group of angry & energetic posters, that could drive a fair amount of it. Among this group, I'll bet you'll find a few individuals who, say, like to check the Mackinac Center web site for a heads-up on the latest corporate talking points, or who loyally subscribe to the Imprimis newsletter from the ultraconservative Hillsdale College. There's nothing that prevents a strong salary envy from marinating in a cold stew of conservative ideology. What I also like about the concept of conservative locals indulging in teacher envy is that it helps bring understanding as to why most of the angry public education critics willfully and openly turn a blind eye toward the outrageous levels of compensation, subsidy and bailout found in the "private" sphere. The clear double standard and lack of basic ethics continues to astound. A-Rod richly deserves every penny he gets, it seems, while teachers should be denied freedom of association, job security, and middle class stability. I am also deeply impressed with the sheer number of teacher bashers who have chosen to challenge our local school board incumbents in November.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 12:26 p.m.

@ViSHa: I would say that the teachers in this discussion should be able to answer whether a Phoenix Online degree would count as much as a U of M credential. Hopefully, their answers will be less purposefully obtuse than Lisa Starrfield's post about salaries. Personally, I think there is a lot of bias within unions and districts in general (both at the administrator and school board level) against online education. They all have a vested interest not to welcome this new phenomenon, because it threatens their power in one way or another. It is inherently less expensive, and removes all kinds of barriers, not least of all geographical ones. I'm about to take an online course myself, and I'm looking forward to it! @Lisa Starrfield. For a smart teacher (you are a teacher, right?), you sure seem to be struggling to understand the basic fact that there are hundreds of qualified and talented teachers who are out of work, hungry, and would jump at the chance, at less pay, to replace the tired and less than stellar teachers that exist among your ranks, that is if the government-union complex would allow open market conditions to prevail.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 12:20 p.m.

@Lisa Starfield; It's not a matter of cutting salaries -- more of realigning salaries to be more realistic with the work performed. Government employees never think they are overpaid -- even face with indisputable facts. There is no way a teacher should make 100K in total compensation -- no way! It is nice to see these numbers are not out in the public domain -- much to the dissatisfaction of the MEA, Ann Arbor teachers and apparently you. We should pay on par with that of Charter schools --your main competition. I realize that government employees do not like competition -- but the rest of us who do pay the bill like to see competition as that is what makes our country great.

Lisa Starrfield

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 12:02 p.m.

The idea that cutting salaries, in any profession, will result in BETTER quality employees is ludicrous especially given the extant of cuts proposed by those here.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

Ann Arbor Borders is laying off more employees!!!! Government unions need to take notice of this real world economic phenomenon occurring with Ann Arbor's Borders. The Borders folks are dedicating talent and resources to becoming competitive in an ever competitive economic climate. They don't want to lay people off to pad their own pockets but are "forced" to reduce their costs to maintain their economic viability. Why are they struggling? Because other folks are suffering financial losses and are reducing costs so "they" can remain economically viable. This is a concept which escapes the "union" mentality which is "we don't want to suffer like everybody else" to paraphrase the UofM Lecturers union leader in another article. Unions don't seem to realize that these economically forced "austerity" measures "reduce" the taxpayer "pool" that supports government and its unionized workers. Business "as usual" is not an option anymore. These Border folks being laid off are suffering and government unions want to raise their taxes to support the status quo. Talk about unfair labor practices. It's time we all speak up and let our politicians and the government unions that we want changes made to reflect the economic realities of folks losing their jobs, pensions, and homes. Without government cost reductions we, as a nation, will not recover from this financial crisis which has become a "global" epidemic.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 11:45 a.m.

@Roger Roth. I disagree with your statement that the traditional school Summer vacation is not that important, or only one factor in the failure of our schools to educate our children. The 25% high school drop out rate is the final result of a process already set into motion by the end of 3rd grade for most of these kids. K-5 Students need to go to school year-round, and 7:30am to 5pm. My statement that K-5 students need to go to school year-round is based on the best available research data. Even President Obama and the Secretary of Education have come out in support of eliminating the traditional summer vacation at schools (see because it is now well documented that the long summer break is detrimental to the education of our youth. Talk to any teacher and you'll find out that they generally spend the first half of each school year reviewing what the students were taught the prior year. The fact that the traditional Summer vacation is a major cause of illiteracy is now known from *facts* and *observations* of scientists who have studied the matter. If you want a good overview of the issue by a non-scientist, go read Malcolm Gladwell's current best-seller "Outliers: The Story of Success" which has a chapter devoted to some of this research - it's an excellent read and I highly recommend it! His conclusion is that low and moderate income children fall behind and fail in the system because of the traditional school Summer vacation. In fact, the research shows that 100% of the achievement gap in school they suffer is driven by the traditional school Summer vacation during their primary school education. Once they start down the path towards failure it is very difficult to get them back on track. In Chapter 9 of his best-seller, from pages 257-258, Gladwell writes, "These numbers come from research led by Johns Hopkins University sociologist Karl Alexander. Alexander tracked the progress of 650 first graders from the Baltimore public school system, looking at how they scored on a widely-used math- and reading-skills exam called the California Achievement Test". Scores are broken out by high, medium and low socioeconomic class. Reading scores for example are measured at the end and beginning of each school year for each grade. This determines the total change in scores during the Traditional Summer Vacation: Class // After 1st / After 2nd / After 3rd / After 4th // Total Low // -3.67 / -1.70 / 2.74 / 2.89 // 0.26 Middle // -3.11 / 4.18 / 3.68 / 2.34 // 7.09 High // 15.28 / 9.22 / 14.51 / 13.38 // 52.49 [I apologize that the rows and columns don't format properly on] "Do you see the difference?" Gladwell writes, "Look at the first column, which measures what happens over the summer after first grade. The wealthiest kids come back in September and their reading scores have jumped more than 15 points. The poorest kids come back from the holidays and their scores have *dropped* almost 4 points. Poor kids may outlearn rich kids during the school year. But during the summer, they fall far behind." "Now look at the last column, which totals up all the summer gains from first grade to fifth grade. The reading scores of the poor kids goes up by 0.26 points. When it comes to reading skills, poor kids learn nothing when school is not in session. The reading scores of the rich kids, by contrast, go up by a whopping 52.49 points. Virtually all of the advantage that wealthy students have over poor students is the result of the differences in the way privileged kids learn while they are *not* in school." In March, I attended the 2010 Henry Russel Lecture at UofM given by Prof. Richard Nisbett, who is the Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and author of the 2009 book, Intelligence and How to Get It, a topic hes been studying through years of research. FYI, the honor of being the Henry Russel Lecturer is one of the highest academic honors bestowed by UofM on their faculty. At the conclusion of his talk during the Q&A in response to a question about content he briefly touched upon in his lecture, he agreed with the questioner (me) that if the Ann Arbor Public Schools wanted to do the right thing by the students in the district they would send children to school 7:30am to 5pm five days a week, year-round to achieve at their full intellectual potential. So, what I'd like to know is why aren't our schools stepping up to the plate to fix the school year now that we know that it is the #1 cause that hinders childhood education? We need the *process* to *improve* the system now that we have the data. We urgently need a solid strategic plan detailing what resources it will take to fix this fundamental problem. The benefit would accrue to all of us. Imagine how great our schools and MEAP scores would be if we were among the first to bite the bullet and step up to fix this problem? Imagine the positive impact on attracting jobs to our community and increases in home values if we had the strongest K-12 schools in the region on top of some of the best public universities? The money problems will be solved if we had schools that had consistent quality results for all students because that will raise the value of our homes and the non-residential properties in the city. Roger, this is a complex topic and rather than writing essays back and forth, I recommend we take this discussion off-line. Im willing to buy you breakfast (and bring along as many colleagues teachers and administrators - as youd like) to debate this point of whether or not the Traditional Summer Break is the key problem that must be addressed. You can contact me at


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 11:35 a.m.

@Scylding. Your last comment made me wonder if teachers get the same pay increases for advanced degrees whether they come from say UofM or something like the Phoenix online program? Or is it just based on having the degree?


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 11:32 a.m.

@Oscar-- yes i do think we would get better teachers. Ones who are happy with their job and pay and truly dedicated to the students rather than themselves. They would be younger, better educated and more motivated to teach. As far as where would find these individuals -- some would come from the ranks that are currently with the district -- not all think as you -- and from the unemployed teachers across the state that would appreciate a good job-- many of these unemployed teachers could not find a job in MI when they graduated from college or were let go due to budget crunch that allowed more senior, overpaid and less motivated teachers to stay due to union contracts.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 11:22 a.m.

Roger Roth, your comments to your superintendant about changing the curicuulum reflects your lack of economic understanding. I consider this aside affect of the union mentality which ignores economic realities. That we live in a "Global Economy" has been a reality for several years. Most students in other countries speak more than one language by age 10, many speak several languages so they may conduct international business. They study customs and cultures, their teachers are evaluated objectively, and compensated accordingly. In the U.S., unions have impeded this progressive educational attitude and continue to resist, why? Because like you indicated in your comments about the teacher selction process, "once competant, always competant". That you should want to teach the keds that they should consider themselves "third world" which isn't a term we use in business anymore, is appalling to me, and reflects your lack of economic knowledge. The "developing countries" have become true economic forces in this Global Economy. GM gains about 15% of its revenue from China car sales. Most of our national debt is held by China. How many of your students are speaking Chinese? Familiar with Chinese culture? We are so backwards in education that we don't even ALLOW kids to take a second language until about 10th grade. A time way to late for actually becoming fluent. In other countries they start language training at age 4 or 5 and by 10th grade the kids are speaking AND thinking in several languages. I suggest todays educators quit sitting on their laurels and depending upon their unions to protect them. Taxpayers are becoming value oriented and obviously do not feel we are getting as much value for our buck. So I recommend you stop defending your compensation and start improving our system of education to "compete" in the new Global Economy. Your union leadership is impeding this progress. The reason taxpayers are upset is because educators at all levels are not performing, contrary to what teachers and unions think, we the taxpayers, will have the final say. I suggest you take a proactive approach and start the change from within, because change is coming, with you're cooperation or without it.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 10:44 a.m.

@John Q You begin your last post by saying that references to the market are a smokescreen, and that the posters hiding behind this faade dont want their tax dollars going to anyone who makes more than they do; in other words, they are envious. Your post is exactly what it derides. It is not based on any facts", but rather just emotion, that of defensive indignation. The argument for market forces is exactly the case I make above, and I did so preemptively to take away your ability to charge that the criticism of teacher pay is based on nothing but envy (which of course, it isnt). If teachers and administrators are so confident that they can get satisfactory results, and have the courage to live by their merits, like everyone in the private sector must, then they should do what you allude to: disband the unions, and abolish tenure. If market forces will push certain teacher salaries above my or anybody elses private market income, so be it. If not, so be it. Fact is, the teachers and the administrators are the ones hiding behind a faade, that of the government-union public ed. monopoly, and cravenly, they like it that way. So, were hammering on the ramparts. Deal with it, and get used to it. Also, I agree with Heardoc. Education level is not how we should set salaries in education. There are countless people with PhD's who are working in fields totally unrelated to their degrees. Some have high paying jobs in sales and other lines of work, some wait tables. They are where their degree and their level of effort, discipline, and many other factors, have put them relative to the open market. Education level is a factor, but not the artificial criterion that it has become in public ed. The market would put a premium on it, but only insofar it is coupled with other attractive attributes.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 10:15 a.m.

Nice comments John Q.. Agree with that totally... @Heardoc -- So if the teachers go on strike and they hire replacement teachers for pennies on the dollar.. you think you would get qualified people? Where are those people now? Sitting on the "sidelines" waiting for the strike and salaries to be reduced? This is kind of interesting that there are this many posts talking about 22 people's salaries..


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

I enjoy seeing all the teachers out there trying to justify their salaries. The level of education that you have is not the way you set your salaries. It is the free market that set the salaries. We can look at other jobs that require a B.A. or B.S. degree that pay now where near what a teacher makes. There are jobs that require no education beyond High School and they make more money than teachers -- just a false argument by Gene Rye (another 'F' on this subject matter). Teachers are overpaid for the work that is performed over a 9 month period that includes some very nice vacation time. To see the whining that is coming from the teachers is quite nice as this demonstrates that they know that they are overpaid. When the union attempts to try to strangle the school district with their threats of a strike -- we should just let them go and hire ones that appreciate a job and are happy to come to work for a reasonable pay -- not the exorbitant pay that is now out there for teachers -- a rollback akin to the housing market!


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

Personally, i think teachers have a VERY hard job, especially nowadays when they have to wear many different hats and i think they do deserve to be compensated well. I think where it gets frustrating is when you see some staff (principals who play favorites, teachers who lean too heavily on student teachers and TA's, specials teachers who do the same projects year after year with no variation, name a few instances) who both parents and staff know aren't cutting it (most parents remotely involved KNOW who you "don't want to get" and who is "phoning it in") and nothing is done. It gets too political and although this happens in all other work force areas, it's different when it involves your children. It seems like nothing really changes and that is what is frustrating. I do acknowledge that MOST teachers deserve every penny they earn and then some.

John Q

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 9:08 a.m.

Roger, References to what "the market" pays are nothing more than a smokescreen for those who simply can't abide teachers making more than they or their spouse do for what they must consider inferior work. Even if the unions were disbanded, tenure abolished and teachers pay tied only to student performance, these same people still wouldn't support you getting paid more than they do even if that's what "the market" reflected you getting paid that amount of money. In their minds, the fact that your salary is paid, in part, through their tax dollars means you can never earn more than they do. It's clearly reflected in all of the comments by those who save a teacher should "never" earn more than $X. Those aren't based on any facts, just emotion.

Roger Roth

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 9:03 a.m.

Stephen, consider this: of all states, MI arguably produces the best-educated workforce, yet ranks among those hardest hit by this recession. Everyone should learn to think logically and creatively and to acquire skills. And everyone should learn to explore and exercise more and more options for self-sufficiency and sustenance and less and less on someone else or some corporation for their livelihood. And, in our new world, learn to get by on less.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 8:50 a.m.

Those of you that think that educators are overpaid, If you want to pay your educators less, than be prepared to live like people from the south and pay between 15k - 45k to send your child to a private school. Two years ago, I would not have a strong opinion about this until we lived in TN. Michigan is known for have a good public school system. This is due to having at least 3 well know colleges that produce teachers. A hundred years ago, your choice for a teacher was a girl prior to her being married or a man who was not capable of doing anything else (probably due to being kicked in the head by a horse). This was due to low pay. I have high standards for educators, because I know that they have an important job that they get paid well for. These teachers that get paid this much earned it through earning additional degrees and from experience. The Superintendent gets paid peanuts in comparison to CEOs. Regards to the charts they show, it would have added value to include the citys population. This that said.... I want to thank Ann Arbor teachers for doing a great job and I do believe you are worth more than you get paid. I pay the high taxes and endure the bikers because I feel that Ann Arbor Public Schools offers an education to my children that is priceless. This is not a traditional public school, but much better.

Roger Roth

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

Stephen, there are a lot of reasons beyond teacher/administrator salaries and summer breaks that contribute to a kid not learning to read. Educators explore those reasons continuously. I don't want to trivialize the impact education can make on the economic health of a country or its region. But, what has happened to our economy, as suggested before, has more to do with greed, government negligence, unethical behavior by people in control and mismanagement. Adults promise kids that if the kids study, work hard and get a good education, they'll do well in life. Then, either they can't get a job after graduation, can't get into college because it cost's too much or they get a job, work for years and then lose it and their nest egg because their employer found someone a world away who could do the same job for pennies on the dollar, and our government applauded the move. I think our kids are learning and they are following adult advice. But, we're not keeping our promise. I understand what you are saying and I understand the statistics. I just don't think they tell the whole story.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

For all those our there that think Ann Arbor teachers are overpaid, what would you consider to be an adequate wage for teachers? Consider that all teachers have at least a Bachelors degree (usually 5 years undergraduate study to finish a major and obtain their teaching credentials)and many have a Masters degree, some a PhD. Also consider the requirement by the State to continue taking educational courses to maintain certification (mind you this is funded out of the teacher's pocket and is not reimburseable). Here is the current pay scale: DEGREE BA BA+30 MA MA+30 ED. BA+90/ PH.D. BA+60W/MA SPEC. MA STEP 2 MA 1 $39,540 $43,053 $44,539 $45,934 $47,154 $48,476 $49,919 2 $42,199 $46,019 $47,871 $49,277 $50,513 $51,951 $53,432 3 $44,815 $48,566 $51,235 $52,667 $53,978 $55,453 $57,045 4 $47,393 $51,787 $54,678 $56,164 $57,554 $59,045 $60,738 5 $50,147 $55,448 $58,196 $59,799 $61,210 $62,765 $64,457 6 $52,901 $58,340 $61,873 $63,476 $64,930 $66,511 $68,310 7 $55,697 $62,080 $65,556 $67,285 $68,734 $70,352 $72,199 8 $58,615 $65,428 $69,275 $71,249 $72,809 $74,624 $76,704 9 $61,566 $68,745 $73,053 $75,213 $76,815 $78,948 $81,124 10 $65,662 $73,451 $78,333 $80,025 $81,760 $83,777 $86,053 L1 $66,318 $74,186 $79,116 $80,825 $82,578 $84,614 $86,913 L2 $66,975 $74,920 $79,899 $81,626 $83,395 $85,452 $87,774 L1*(1% higher than step 10. Teachers with 10 or more years of experience (calculated from seniority date)in Ann Arbor by 09/30/09 will be placed on L1). L2**(2% higher than step 10. Teachers with 14 or more years of experience (calculated from seniority date)in Ann Arbor by 09/30/09 will be placed on L2). Other benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc.) are in addition to salary. Go ahead and rework the numbers. Set the levels you think are more appropriate for someone requiring this level of education. Then go find individuals you feel are qualified to teach our future businessmen/women, doctors, managers, etc.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

@Roger Roth In the private sector, we pay more for good performance. Since the voters (most of whom work and live in the private sector) set teachers' AND ADMINISTRATORS' salaries, do you think there isn't a connection between the high failure rate of public school teaching (21-23% illiteracy outcome) and the voters' lack of willingness to increase millages to support the current level of teacher AND ADMINISTRATOR pay? Personally, I think it's wonderful we pay our teachers AND ADMINISTRATORS so well and hopefully that attracts the best and the brightest nationwide to Ann Arbor. However, even the best people cannot produce quality results in a broken system. We should be able to graduate 99% literate students from our public schools, but we - even here in Ann Arbor - fall well far short due first and foremost to the structure of the teaching year and the long traditional Summer Break. Even by 3rd grade we've irretrievably condemned 6% of the kids in Ann Arbor to a life of poverty and illiteracy and it gets worse with each additional grade (see my first post above for the data). It is scandalous that this is allowed to persist! As noted earlier, solving the problem earlier than the rest of the country would bring substantial wealth and success to our city and its residents (and facilitate the continuance of the higher salary and benefits of the employees of the AAPS).

Roger Roth

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 6:39 a.m.

Criticism accepted! But I stand by my comment. Anyone can complain about how much any other earns. I insist that the 100K threshold is arbitrary. Alex Rodriguez makes that in a two-hour day. I'm asking complainers to justify their complaint and they can only come up with something about the "market." Convenient, but not logical. It has more to do with their own control over their money and little to do with how much they deem the employee to be worth. I think, as a teacher, I'm worth what ARod gets. Most disagree. But they happily pay ARod his salary, yet complain about mine, which happens to be somewhat less. WHY IS THAT? It says far more about the complainer than it does about me and about how society values workers and their services. Thanks for your criticism. I'll think more about it. I'm still trying to be a better person.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 6:29 a.m.

@Amelia: If you search the web, you can easily find the U.S. Census report. Here is another one for you to read from the U.S. Department of Education: and then click on the pdf to download the document. It's footnote 6 of the same Wikipedia page. "The 2003 NAAL assessed the English literacy skills of a nationally representative sample of 18,500 U.S. adults (age 16 and older) residing in private households. NAAL is the first national assessment of adult literacy since the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). Results from the main literacy assessment are reported as averages and as the percentage of adults in each of four literacy levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient." Page 4 of the 2003 NAAL report indicates that, based on their different criteria, 13-23% of U.S. adults are "Below Basic" literacy. Note: you have to read the footnotes to see that the numbers in the table presented there exclude 1% of the adult population who are mentally impaired. The FAQs ( indicate: "What is the illiteracy rate among U.S. adults? While NAAL does not measure "illiteracy" per se, adults who cannot read well enough to attempt or to correctly answer the minimum number of basic literacy questions in the 2003 NAAL may be classified as not literate in English." Locally, you only need to see the MEAP scores (see the article I referenced earlier to link to those) to understand that illiteracy is in this 21-23% range that I mentioned earlier and which you challenged as inaccurate.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 6:06 a.m.

Hello groggie - The ~$104,000 per year number represents total compensation. The lower figures only include 'salary'. The best metric is total compensation...if one drew a yearly salary of $1 and yet earned deferred compensation of $10 million, most would believe the compensation would be considered $10 mil. Too bad this concept isn't better taught in schools. Then again, many schools don't address financial savvy at all. The ~$103-104 (varies with date as compensation has been rising about forever) figure can be found in the following excellent, link rich article: Thank you for the link. Likely we all are happy to pay teachers well; the only question is how well. The market rate for experienced, educated, etc., teachers seems to be much less than what we are paying our AAPS (e.g.) teachers, suggesting that perhaps we could indeed lower their wages and yet continue to offer compensation packages that are outstanding. Good luck.


Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 6:04 a.m.

@roger. i don't think your dig that those who are questioning how their tax money is spent need therapy is very fair. i have seen many educators on this website get just as "riled". and on that note, i can honestly say there are a few that post that i would definitely request my child not be in their class based on their behavior on this site.

Roger Roth

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 5:42 a.m.

Perhaps we could discuss why it is that there seems to be some arbitrary pay threshold for teachers and administrators that riles up some people and why they get riled up. I'd find that to be productive. As one poster suggested earlier, that threshold is probably close to what the person complaining earns. I think everyone should make a lot of money. The world would be a happier place, mostly because people would stop arguing over, and obsessing about, money. (Maybe not :) ) This is all understandable, though, since the thrust of public education is to make a person marketable in our economy, which may not mean educating him/her. This may be a time for introspection and maybe therapy.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 11:55 p.m.

alpha alpha, why do you insist continuing with the statement that so many teachers earn more than $100k? It's only 22 out of the 88 on the list, 88 being a total of 4 percent out of the total of the AAPS employees. This appears to be a case of too much back office overhead, not that every teacher is overpaid. Looks like Ann Arbor, an affluent community, pays the average teachers at a higher scale than the national average: Per your pointer, the average in 48109 is ~$55,000 I would expect that, given that the community places a premium on education. Level of education is about the only factor that you can count on time and again in every study as a factor towards success in life. I am happy to pay teachers more than I pay the clerk at Speedway. I'm not sure what you mean by a competitive wage in your posts; public service jobs (i.e. tax driven/funded) by definition cannot be competitive with the private sector - people go into public sector jobs, trading potential higher earnings for job security and/or intangibles like job satisfaction (profession, achievements, whatever). Do you mean competitive between themselves, enticing someone to be a fireman or police officer or teacher?


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 10:01 p.m.

Stephan, your link is broken. No srprise as you retrieved it in 2007. Still old data for any student these days.....


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 10:01 p.m.

I get kinda tired of people who like to dismiss others' comments because they use data from Wikipedia. Perhaps it should be incumbent on the person implying inaccuracy to prove said inaccuracy. (Oh, and Amelia, be careful with those aspersions, 'cause pro-teacher Speechless was crutchin' on Wikipedia pretty hard earlier, FYI. Don't want to impair Team Teacher, do you?)


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 9:47 p.m.

With all due respect to those of you who have come up with averages and studies regarding the salaries and bennies of commensurately trained people and what not, I applaud your efforts to demonstrate that public school teachers' and administrators' salaries are out of line, but you really don't need to do this. The other side knows that the rest of the world must live with market forces determining their incomes, but that they themselves hide behind the monopoly created by the government-union complex to save themselves from these same market forces, and that it is fundamentally unjust, unfair, and weak of them to do it. They know that they don't have the courage to live by their merits, and they must live with this every day. The sad thing is, even if they wanted to change this, their union that "represents" them would exclude them from any form of leadership or meaningful input.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 9:26 p.m.

And in John Q's world, it is great to be an overpaid public employee. Ka-ching!


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 9:19 p.m.

@james florey, I don't care how many athletic teams he/she coaches or if they go to music camp, the trip to Toronto ( Saline Schools) there is no way a gym teacher (Mr. Price) should be making 100 grand plus and that is just his salary, not including healthcare and pension costs.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 9:16 p.m.

@Amelia: Take a look at the link, you'll see the source for all the data I quoted is footnote 5, "Poverty Thresholds: 1993, U.S. Census Bureau,, retrieved 2007-12-11

John Q

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 9:03 p.m.

Please focus on the numbers Amelia. In AlphaAlpha's world, any teacher who takes home more pay than median/per capita/household/whatever income is grossly overpaid. Never mind their education, the experience, their other responsibilities - none of it matters. AlphaAlpha's drawn the line in the sand and anyone who falls above it must have their pay and benefits cut.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 8:52 p.m.

Roger and Oscar...goodness. "How much should we pay teachers?" The allusion to and having lots of teacher jobs at "1/2 to 2/3" the $104K value may have been confusing...for extra credit, calculate 1/2 to 2/3 of $104,000. Answer: $52,000 to $69,680 per year total compensation. That should answer your questions. You should investigate these websites, to see for the rest of the teachers in the area are paid. And, hopefully, how the AAPS teachers will be paid within a few years. You will also find that these jobs have been and are being filled by educated, experienced, qualified individuals-all the same traits some of you folks cite in an attempt to justify excess compensation.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

Amelia - let's focus; the numbers are not in dispute. The dispute is whether the teachers are worth their $104K / year average total compensation. A growing number feel that a 94th percentile income level is a bit much. Oh, 94th percentile: BLS numbers.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 8:39 p.m.

""The median family income in Ann Arbor for 2007 was above $82,000" Median family income is the total income in each household, not income per person. Households typically average a bit less than two people in a family, approximately halving the 82K value. So, compare AAPS at ~$100K / year 2007 total comp vs. ~41K /year for the average private worker. What's that, about a 2.5 to 1 ratio? Way too generous...


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 8:37 p.m.

Mr. Florey - Total compensation is the key metric, and total compensation for AAPS teachers in 2010 is just about $104,000. This may be a surprise to you, but there are many linked stories here establishing the very numbers you dispute. Perhaps you could do a research paper for your class?


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 8:32 p.m.

Any teacher in this county will tell you that Wikipedia is not a valid source. A starting point,perhaps, but certainly not valid in an intelluctual conversation.

james florey

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

Hummmph! My comment was elided. Please insert after "The number of Ann Arbor teachers whose salaries exceed $100K is" -- zero. To receive compensation >$100K an Ann Arbor teacher must be at the top of the scale and perform additional work. To be at the top of the scale a teacher must have at least 12 years of full-time teaching experience and have earned a PhD in their field. Expertise and knowledge are the two variables upon which salary is based.

james florey

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 7:31 p.m.

Returning the focus to the original news story, we need to keep a few facts in mind in our debate. The number of Ann Arbor teachers whose salary is

Momma G

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 6:42 p.m.

Wonder how many of those administrators were placed at the admin. bldg. because they couldn't do their jobs at the school buildings or had to have "consultant" to help them do their evaluation of their teachers because they couldn't do that either. The district better start weeding out these administrators by evaluating them.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

@Roger Roth wrote "Stephen, you blame our ed. system, which has been instrumental in making our country an economic giant, for now being responsible for our economic woes. How can that be, in just ten year's time?" Actually I did not blame the educational system as playing a role in the economic woes of our country and I completely agree with you that our country's leadership has led us down a very bad path (to illustrate, the $1 trillion war in Iraq or the $1 trillion war in Afghanistan or the bailout of the Wall Street Investment Banks). I think you misinterpreted the intent of my post. What I was trying to say was that however we got here, THE WAY FORWARD out of the giant mess our country (and state and county) is in, would be to bring up the quality of our public education system, so that instead of 21-23% of all adults being unable to read a paragraph of text and act on it (i.e. they are functional illiterates, see below), every adult was a literate and productive member of society. To those of you who say it can't be done, I'd just say that in Japan 99% of the adults are functionally literate despite the having to learn one of the most difficult languages to master (talking from personal experience). I've personally witnessed how on the evening news in Japan the Japanese equivalent of Dan Rather explained the acid rain problem by going through the chemical equations that cause it. Japanese students go to school a lot longer than U.S. students do. They work harder, it's part of their recipe for success. (From Wikipedia, "40 million to 44 million of the 191 million U.S. adults (21% to 23% of them) in the least literate group earned a yearly average of $2,105 and about 50 million adults (25% to 28% of them) in the next-least literate of the five literacy groups earned a yearly average of $5,225 at a time when the U.S. Census Bureau considered the poverty level threshold for an individual to be $7,363 per year. See Locally, the impact of offering excellent schools where students did not have a long summer break and where parents were assured that their children would receive a quality education would bring an economic boom. The value of our homes would rise as parents moved into the area. The number of jobs would rise as more mobile people would bring jobs with them. Let's cut some +$100,000 admin jobs and reduce the traditional summer break and make it happen!


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 5:49 p.m.

"The median family income in Ann Arbor for 2007 was above $82,000 (see wikipedia). I have no problem with teachers making the median income for their town. " Bridget, it's not just the annual salary. Teachers might make $82k, but it's for 9 months of work, not 12. Over a full year's work (like everyone else) this equates to $110k, that's absurd. Then that number gets put into la-la-land when you consider teachers have no pressure to produce. If I don't produce, I get fired, no questions asked. Teachers can go a career withut producing and their punishment is being on the low end of raises each year. Roger - I respect your tenacity! I disagree with you completely, but repect your willingness to continue the debate.

Roger Roth

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 5:19 p.m.

Nicole, my hat's off to you. Until that pay increase comes your way, try to keep in mind that what you do for your students and their parents is priceless. Keep the faith. I look back on my teaching career and am gratified that I've made the world a little better. I hold my head high and I think you deserve even more than I to do that!


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

There are multiple companies and businesses who frequently continue to increase employee wages over a period of time, and teachers should not be excluded for all of their hardwork they have done over the years. As a special education teacher, I do not make any more money than a general education teacher. I have worked for five years, with a masters, and am currently on my second year's salary. There is not a day that goes by that I don't come home with at minimal a bruise from the aggressive nature of my students. I work through lunches, prep times, and I am constantly working during my own personal time. It's a shame that people out there are so ignorant that they believe teachers are overpaid. I'd like to see you take over my job for ONE day and tell me teachers are overpaid or aren't in it for the love of teaching. Also keep in mind that teachers are expected to continue their education throughout their career. College credits and CEU's are not always covered by districts. Multiple teachers are constantly facing endless financial loans because of this.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 11:49 a.m.

"... a history class on the brilliance & superiority of Soviet economics as practiced in Cuba and East Germany? Wow!..." [posted in response to...] "... Except for employee-owned cooperatives, most workplaces are a modern continuation of feudal-era economic relations...." It's time to correct another attempted smear by far-right writers, I guess. Employee-owned cooperatives and businesses exist in small numbers throughout much of the world. They run mainly as bottom-up, grassroots, democratic organizations where employees elect board members and vote on items like pay scale ratios for high-end (managers) versus low-end pay. They rarely link directly to political parties; during the early Soviet years, organizers of independent rural cooperatives were arrested and often killed. They exist as an option to the "traditional" workplace, where employees must park most of their public, constitutional rights at the door. This basic, on-the-job suspension of citizen rights was an aspect greatly admired by Mussolini, who appropriated it to help form the basis of his fascist ideology. While unions seek to graft democratic features and practices onto the traditional workplace, employee ownership takes this a step further by merging employees with management to a significant degree. The most well-known business cooperative is the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, founded in 1941 by a young priest as a project to lift local residents out of dire poverty following the great destruction of the Spanish Civil War. It grew over time into an astonishing success story. As a start, read more here: Also see: and Both public and private sector institutions can learn a lot from cooperatives. There's no reason why a far-sighted board of education couldn't select a few of these democratic experiences and apply them to Ann Arbor schools. Paid staff can have a direct role in public education's decision-making process. ------------- At the corporate level, what some fear more than strong unions is full worker equity in a business, which removes private owners from the equation. Apparently, a few writers would regard the ICC student-owned cooperative houses near the UM campus as an organized outpost of Joe Stalin. Brilliant. Speaking of Uncle Joe (to borrow Truman's sarcasm), I'll bet those so critical of cooperatives continue to feel quite wistful over the demise of that similar-minded Uncle Joe of the same time period, the one with surname McCarthy.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

I want to be clear.. I am not a teacher.. I read through most of the postings (excepts for the small novels some wrote)... I didn't see an answer to the question that was asked several times, "If 100K is too much for 22 teachers, what is the number that we should pay our most experienced/successful teachers?" I know we are all tax payers but are we (mostly private sector workers) qualified to answer that question? After reading these posts, I am very grateful that I am not a teacher. I own my own IT consulting business and these salaries are a lot lower than mine. The reason? Supply/Demand.. Not many people can or want to do the work I do. I believe that we need to have SMART people teaching our children to ensure our future. We need SMART people to be role models to push our children to be the best they can be. In todays world, SMART people are going other places to make a HECK of a lot more money. That's what scares me about our future and my child's future. I don't know what the number is for our strongest teachers but to me 100K does not seem to be to bad for someone that invested upwards of 50K on their education (assuming our strongest teachers have a bachelors/masters degree). Just my two cents..

Roger Roth

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 10:22 a.m.

Most public employee retirement eligibility is determined by combining age and years service to meet some threshold figure, like 80. If you are 55 and have 25 years teaching, you may be eligible for some benefit, though maybe not full benefit. States place restrictions on "rehiring" retired teachers. I don't know what those are in AA or even if there are any. But it's not a given that a teacher can jump from retirement right back into teaching in the same state. This is often a condition of early retirement incentives.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 9:20 a.m.

just curious, not "bashing". so after you retire you can be rehired by aaps? what is the typical retirement age for teachers?

Roger Roth

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 6:24 a.m.

Thanks, Lisa. I've had discussions with our Superintendent about rethinking what we teach. More and more, workers are having to compete on a global level. It's not reasonable, it seems to me, to expect an American to get by on a wage that a worker in a third world, emerging economy can. But this is an increasing reality. Now, I think we need to teach kids to accept and to get by on less and maybe even how to be more self-sufficient. The opposite is happening. Kids are being taught to consume and to place their economic futures into the hands of someone else to control. The other option for them, of course, would be to emigrate to and work in one of the emerging economies in the world--outsource themselves, as it were. What has happened the last couple years in this country makes me think we are definitely in a new world and the old one isn't coming back anytime soon, if ever. I fear for our kids.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 6:11 a.m.

My last post was referring to @Roger Roth's penultimate quote (the one before the one he just posted), since he put another post up commenting on Mr. Ranzini's post just now as I hit the submit button. My comment will make a lot more sense if you look at the right post of Mr. Roth.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 6:06 a.m.

So sorry @Roger Roth! You are correct, @Speechless, another teacher, wrote that amazing quote. BTW, I liked the final point of your last quote a lot. We in Michigan spend way too much money at the Big Box retailers who source all their products from China & other low wage countries overseas. Then we wonder where all the manufacturing jobs in Michigan went (and they took 950,000 jobs from Michigan with them when they left). This then leads to the whole discussion of why the per capita private sector wages in Michigan have dropped from top 10 in the nation to the bottom 10 in the nation and that leads to the discussion of why we need to cut back public sector wages and benefits so they are in line with private sector wage levels again. The teachers have similar salaries today to what the UAW workers used to have. Problem is most of those high paying jobs all went overseas and only the public sector workers still have the wages and benefits. Everyone should just reflect for a moment what they are doing to their neighbors whenever they take their credit card out of their wallet!

Roger Roth

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Stephen, you blame our ed. system, which has been instrumental in making our country an economic giant, for now being responsible for our economic woes. How can that be, in just ten year's time? So, in your mind, greed and unethical behavior on Wall Street, deregulation of our banking system and our bloated defense budget have contributed nothing to our deteriorating economy? How about government's role in making the outsourcing by American Corporations of manufacturing and other higher paying jobs even more attractive to their bottom lines. Our own region has been profoundly affected by this. How about Big 3 management, which failed for decades to respond to the encroaching on their markets by foreign makers with better autos? I doubt there's any real correlation between low MEAP scores and irresponsible, myopic, unethical and incompetent management of our economy by people in charge. To the contrary, probably many of the people in control did pretty well on standardized tests and probably many of them even attended private schools. I'm beginning to believe as I look at where we've been brought to in our world, largely due to the work of "educated" people, that education may be overrated, at least, as we define it. Maybe an adjustment/rethinking is indicated.


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 5:26 a.m.

"the public employee Gravy Train"

Roger Roth

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 4:44 a.m.

jcj, if there's one thing about being on the public employee Gravy Train that I'm not, it's apologetic. If I could level one mild criticism against my profession it's that, as a group, they do tend to be quietly apologetic, mainly because of the guilt continually imposed on them by lay people who don't understand. I wish it weren't that way. I prepared long and well. I work hard. I make a positive difference in the lives of my students. You and the world may put an arbitrary value on that but I've gotten way beyond basing my opinion of myself and my work solely on the amount of money I am paid. One more thing. It doesn't take long to squander a few thousand dollars every year on things people don't need, like lattes, meals out, games, whatever. People are free to spend their money as they like. There is something unique to the idea of TAXES, though, that gets people riled up about how their money leaves them and about someone else getting that money. A pack-a-day smoker spends about $1500 a year on his habit, in some cases, half a real estate annual tax bill. You, yourself, can expand on this idea and see where it goes. It speaks volumes about us, I think, as a society. I just spent 1K for my computer. I spend $150/month on my phone/TV/internet, $1800/year. I just bought a Taurus which cost me considerably more than a Civic. How do all the contributors on this thread spend their money?

Roger Roth

Tue, Aug 10, 2010 : 3:40 a.m.

Lisa wrote: "I just want everyone to read a second time and reflect on what Roger Roth wrote: "Except for employee-owned cooperatives, most workplaces are a modern continuation of feudal-era economic relations." Does this individual actually teach our kids? What subject, a history class on the brilliance & superiority of Soviet economics as practiced in Cuba and East Germany? Wow!" Lisa, I didn't write that.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 10:33 p.m.

I just want everyone to read a second time and reflect on what Roger Roth wrote: "Except for employee-owned cooperatives, most workplaces are a modern continuation of feudal-era economic relations." Does this individual actually teach our kids? What subject, a history class on the brilliance & superiority of Soviet economics as practiced in Cuba and East Germany? Wow!


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 10:22 p.m.

Once again I reserve the right to monitor anyone's wages that are paid with my tax dollar! I guess the reason I get so worked up with teacher wages is they are the ones that are right in my face with their arrogance and whining. That does not mean I approve of all the others that are milking the tax payers. But maybe they realize they have a gravy train and are smart enough to keep guiet. So as not to raise the ire of the tax payers.

John Q

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 10:21 p.m.

"I am writing this for you so that you may learn that unions do create an artificial shortage of labor to increase their members wage and benefit plan." Really? All the conservative pundits tell us that the glory land is found in right-to-work states where workers are free to "negotiate" their wages and labor free of the meddling of unions. Workers are spared the pain of union dues because, we're told, that they can "negotiate" a better deal for themselves when they don't have a union interfering. You do know that by admitting that unions can get workers higher wages and benefits that you're exposing the lies of your conservative brethren?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 10:18 p.m.

@Roger Roth wrote: "Saying that our schools are failing is ridiculous. Politicians use such statements to inflame and garner support." Here are the 2009-10 3rd grade Reading MEAP scores for the numbers of students who passed the test by District, ranked highest to lowest: Manchester 99.0% Dexter 96.8% Saline 96.3% Whitmore Lake 94.1% Ann Arbor 94.0% Fortis Academy 93.8% Chelsea 92.8% South Arbor 88.8% Milan 88.0% Lincoln 85.8% Honey Creek Community 85.2% Central Academy 82.0% Ann Arbor Learning Community 80.8% Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural 80.0% Ypsilanti 76.9% Willow Run 68.3% New Beginnings 64.5% Victory Academy 54.5% Kudos to Manchester, but are any of you perturbed that between 3.2% and 45.5% of the other students are condemned to a life of poverty and government assistance already by the time they reach the 3rd grade??? If you can't read you can't be employed in the modern information era. If you fall behind you never catch up. If you don't believe me, look at the numbers for the higher grades that David Jesse assembled. The pass numbers get worse at each higher grade as fewer and fewer students pass the MEAP test. K-5 Students need to go to school year-round, and 7:30am to 5pm. The faster we fix this problem, the faster we'll turn our economy around, as the county would become a magnet for jobs if people could move here and have confidence their children would be properly educated. For more information and the background data see:


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 10:05 p.m.

Roger Roth, good to know a competant educator who begs the question with a demeaning statement. I guess yes, I think schools should be shut down if they employee many teachers such as yourself. Your naive contention that once deemed competant, always competant. And you venture to demean my questioning why 80% of tax revenue goes to employee compensation. You, sir/madaam, are your own worst enemy. Speechless, if you think unions promote free enterprise you really need to take an economics course. LisaStarfield, you ever tried to get through to a kid who was freezing, hungry, and homeless because your compensation and refusal to negotiate cutbacks is putting people out in the streets. If you lack empathy, how can you be a good educator. Your dogmatic persistance and resistance to reality is commendable if not dillusional.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:47 p.m.

To Speechless: We have come a long way since the mid 1880's. Horse and buggies were necessary for travel back in the 1880's but we no longer need horse and buggies to travel. Unions had there place at one time -- became very corrupt and now that we are 130 years down the road -- the need for horse and buggies and the MEA union is really over. Union membership has shrunk dramatically in the 20th and now 21st centuries. Your union, the MEA, is not for the children but for the membership. Just like what is happening in Milwaulkie -- teacher unions are demanding viagra coverage while at the same time there is a huge budget problem and obtaining the basics for children are being threatened by the union demands. Again another 'F' for you on this subject matter. Geez!


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:37 p.m.

RogerRoth also fails to address the artificial labor market that the union--MEA-- creates and thus artificially high salary and benefits. Capitalism works every time it is employed -- socialism has always failed. Unions, by their nature are socialist organizations and thus anti capitalism.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

For those of who are trying hard to guilt-trip Ann Arbor teachers into handing over their income, why don't you additionally direct these same questions and concerns to school administrators and the board of education? In fact, why don't you try this line of reasoning on any number of gainfully employed individuals working in the private sector who are doing very well for themselves at a time when so many others continue to struggle? I bet you won't, though, in part due to your deference to these folks, but also because you know they'll tell you, in so many words, to go jump into the nearest lake. Then they'll walk away, heads shaking and eyes rolling. ------------------------- "... Unions withhold l[a]bor, strangling the company until they capitulate...." Back in the day, the Pinkertons opened fire with Gatling guns on a camp of striking families, at the behest of local mine owners — What a nice bunch. A well-run union endeavors to bring democracy into the workplace. Except for employee-owned cooperatives, most workplaces are a modern continuation of feudal-era economic relations. No matter how nice the boss, these are technically run as small dictatorships by their ownership. This reality underlies why Mussolini proudly defined Italian fascism as an attempt to model national decision-making after the workings of the modern American business (Ford, specifically). Unions try to alter this top-down set of relations through direct democratic input of voting members on work contracts and representation, Through employee bargaining and leverage, private and public employers have to treat their employees with greater respect and show more recognition of the stake that everyone has in the organization's success. Personally, I prefer worker-owned businesses as the best alternative.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:30 p.m.

"I aver that public schools are a great bargain for the tax dollar spent" Classic. Many feel otherwise.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:29 p.m.

Dialogue like this is good because when people see the arrogance it will just make them (me) work harder to make cuts where they need to be made!


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:27 p.m.

@Roger Roth You say we have no choice! That's because teachers think the universe revolves around them. The choice is for teachers and administrators to do their part in these hard economic times! Just like so much of the rest of the population has done or will be doing. Again with the self important attitude. You think that most of these posters have not seen 1st hand with their children and grand children the good and the bad in the schools? Teachers must get their heads out of the sand and move into the 21st century! Once again. What used to be is no more!

Roger Roth

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:50 p.m.

@Snapshot wrote: "4.If it's for the kids, how come you get 80 percent and they get 20 percent of revenues? 5. With so many people out of work, businesses down, and world financial problems, how do you expect the taxpayers to keep supporting you? 6. Why do you support incompetant teachers instead of lobbying for their removal? Is this ethical on your part? You know who they are but you are silent? Why? You say administrators are overpaid but yet the unions remain silent as to what they think should be done, and to whom." I'll respond to just these few points. #4, as I read it, is silly and meaningless. #5 There's really no choice, except to find some other, fairer and more efficient way to finance public education. Do you suggest public schools be shut down? Many systems are now level funding salaries. Employees have been asked to accept this cut and unions have agreed, because there is no choice. #6. No teacher I know supports the continued employment of anyone incompetent. As I wrote earlier, many provisions are made during the application, interview and probationary period to ensure that only the best people are hired, partly because no one wants to go through the painful process of determining whether a teacher is actually incompetent or why his/her students don't perform. I bet there are highly qualified and competent teachers in towns where students don't perform up to NCLB standards and the reasons for their non-performance have little to do with the teacher. There are simply a legion of variables at play that lay people don't recognize or understand. Are you aware of the huge number of children who live in poverty and come to school every day without breakfast? Could you learn in those conditions? Would you fire a teacher who failed to get such children to perform up to an arbitrary standard? That's only one variable and there are hundreds. Lots of kids come from troubled homes every day. I have kids with anxiety disorders. I could go on for hours. Most lay people don't want to hear this stuff. To them, it's all black and white. Some kids have serious social and bullying issues they deal with every day. Some get little sleep. Some get abused at home. Be my guest. Fire any teacher who can't teach these kids. I suggest you and people like you do some deep research into the life of a public school, its students and its teachers and administrators. We have to get beyond widely held myths that I see as having impeded progress in public education. Again, flawed as they are and contrary to popularly held mythology, I aver that public schools are a great bargain for the tax dollar spent and continue to perform despite ongoing criticism and hurdles thrown at it by ambitious, divisive politicians.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

Speec hless: Let me help you. Monopolies are essentially banned in this country --Ma Bell was broken up, The oil companies were broken up-- all in an attempt to minimize monopolies and the artificial market that they create. Unions do the same thing with labor. Unions withhold lbor, strangling the company until they capitulate to their demands. This is a monopolization of labor. I am writing this for you so that you may learn that unions do create an artificial shortage of labor to increase their members wage and benefit plan. Your ideas are just plain wrong -- i hope you are not a teacher -- you would deserve an 'F' on this assignment!


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:37 p.m.

To Lisa Starfiueld: The sky is not the limit for teachers -- you are paid too much for your education level. Teachers do not deserve high salaries just because they are teachers. The union (MEA) has distorted the value of teachers arbitrarily high and we are now going to re-align this to be more realistic and in line with the private sector as well as the rest of Washtenaw county as a whole. This cash cow for teaching is ending and the whining is beginning from the fat cats at the union halls.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:30 p.m.

"... Supply and Demand is the proper economic theory. Unions distort this basic economic principle...." You got that one wrong. By their nature, unions are a pure expression of free market capitalism. It's working people forming an economic cooperative to sell their labor at a more advantageous price on the open market. As an organized business partnership among a group of individuals, unions act as a vehicle to achieve specific goals in the workplace and marketplace for their members. Claiming unions distort economics is like asserting that membership-based credit unions behave as rogue cartels which unfairly distort the banking industry. Unions mirror the many business associations formed on behalf of owners, executives and managers. They're likewise a type of industry trade group. Both unions and associations respond to, and influence, current trends in supply & demand. Any attempt to cripple unions through legislation or force represents an attack on basic freedoms that is driven by an essentially fascistic impulse.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:24 p.m.

Not sure what bearing it has but it would appear that most posters here are men. The women might be tending to their duties, giving the kids a bath, dishes, the wash. Just kidding!! But still not sure how much gender plays a part in the discourse. I am sure it does. I know it does when my wife speaks!


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:17 p.m.

I bet if teaching were a male dominated profession this discussion wouldn't even be taking place. I'm pretty sure,on average,there are more females filling the role of teacher. I wonder how many posters on this subject are male? just a thought....

Lisa Starrfield

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:08 p.m.

Snapshot said, "Teacher and administrative compensation take about 80% of the revenue schools get from taxpayers. If this was a charity you would likely refuse to "donate" because your money wasn't going to the people in need. What's different with schools? The financial sector dedicates 50% of revenue to compensation. Citizens are up in arms over their high salaries. What's different about school employees taking 80% of revenues for compensation, leaving only 20% going to the kids?" It is mind boggling that you pretend that our skill, our expertise, our effort and thus our salaries isn't going to the kids. As if the money to pay for lights, heat, books and bus fuel has a direct impact on a child's education but the person doing the instruction has none.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

@snapshot You laid it out better than I have seen. If your post does not make sense to someone then they are not being honest.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 5:41 p.m.

David Jesse - There is a preschool principal on the list too. I accept and agree with keeping someone on active duty on the payroll. Thank you for that piece of information.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

@jernalyzt So you know a whopping several people that make $150k in sales. Put your resume out there and see how many offers you get! What used to be is no more! There used to be a few auto companies building cars in Detroit. And you used to be able to get a mortgage without having to have 1/2 down. And gas used to be under $1 a gallon. And teachers used to get better contracts. In fact I think the last contract was the 1st in history without a pay increase! Unless you count step raises. Times they are a changing!


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 5:25 p.m.

All these comments indicate there is a problem with funding, distribution of funds, and perception. How we assign value to a profession is through the demand for the service they produce. Supply and Demand is the proper economic theory. Unions distort this basic economic principle. To ask anyone,"how much a teacher should make" is a "loaded" question. The question should be, "how much do we have to pay to get a qualified teacher and how many personnel do we need to educate 2,200 children? This is supply and demand economics. Here's some thoughts; 1. Teacher and administrative compensation take about 80% of the revenue schools get from taxpayers. If this was a charity you would likely refuse to "donate" because your money wasn't going to the people in need. What's different with schools? The financial sector dedicates 50% of revenue to compensation. Citizens are up in arms over their high salaries. What's different about school employees taking 80% of revenues for compensation, leaving only 20% going to the kids? 2. There is 1 employee for every 7.88 children in the Ann Arbor school district. Does anyone know of a "private" enterprise that could survive with this ratio? 3. There are hundreds of thousands of people suffering financial difficulties, losing jobs, losing pensions, taking salary reductions, and losing their homes to "property tax" and mortgage foreclosures. This reduces the tax base but unions don't want to reduce the tax supported public employees.Why? 4. Currently there are 7.8 million government union members and 7.2 million private union members. The private union sector has lost nearly 500,000 jobs in the last 2 years while the public sector has lost less than 100,000. For the first time in history public union members outnumber private union members.This constitutes a distorted percentage. What is your justification for the discreptancy? Here's my question to the unions: 1.How many people should lose their homes to support your current compenstion and numbers? 2.Are the kids getting better educated from when you were making $4,000 a year rather than the current $80,000 a year? 3. How do you compare yourself to a plumber or a carpenter? Many of them are now unemployeed or working for less. 4.If it's for the kids, how come you get 80 percent and they get 20 percent of revenues? 5. With so many people out of work, businesses down, and world financial problems, how do you expect the taxpayers to keep supporting you? 6. Why do you support incompetant teachers instead of lobbying for their removal? Is this ethical on your part? You know who they are but you are silent? Why? You say administrators are overpaid but yet the unions remain silent as to what they think should be done, and to whom. 7. If you put in as many hours as you say, then you should be willing to punch a "time card". Will you start punching a time card and document your time under penalty of perjury? 8. How much better than the general population do you think you should be treated? Government unions lost 1.2 percent of their jobs the last 2 years, private 6.8 percent, are you 5.6 percent better than your civilian union brothers? How much better than the "common" worker? 9. How many people should lose their homes to property tax foreclosures to increase revenues for you? Are you OK with that? 10. How do you feel about the fact that even your current pensions cannot be funded without tax increases. You are contributing less this year than what is being paid out to current retirees. Do you think this is fair? What do you recommend we do about "not having enough money"? 12. Do you feel justified that the burden of your debt and continued resistance to bring it in line with affordability will severely impact and reduce the quality of life for the very children you care so much about? Reading is of no use if there is nothing affordable to read. Our libraries are closing, books are becoming an unaffordable luxury, and internet availability costs more money than many can afford, newspapers are dissappearing at an alarming rate. Why do you think that is? Because people want them to? It's cost. Simple economics of supply and demand, a concept that escapes the union mentality and is substituted with union entitlements. Think about it.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 4:56 p.m.

@jci I don't watch infomercials,but I know several people in sales who make more than $150K a year. As @bridge bly said, "I am always surprised to hear middle class Americans attack public education." As someone else pointed out, the average income of a family in Ann Arbor is higher than other parts of Washtenaw county. Many of my kids' teachers commute in from other areas where the cost of living isn't as high. Nonetheless, American flag elephant dude, if you look at the whole county, you're leaving out lots of variables in a Washtenaw County media income vs. teacher salaries comparison.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 3:11 p.m.

I will return to my original post. 66 Administration folks on the list at a cost of $10.5 million dollars. There are a lot more administrative staff than those 66. In looking at AAPS vs Plymouth-Canton - about the best comparison available right now. AAPS spends more than Plymouth-Canton on administration according to their respective state filings. I still want to know why with 6 high schools we have 7 high school principals on the list. Then there are 22 elementary principals on the list and by my count 21 grade schools.

Roger Roth

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 3:02 p.m.

dk wrote: "Roger, this argument makes no sense, the professionals you mention, plumbers, doctors, professional athletes, earn their money in through market forces, supply and demand. Teachers do not." There are laws making strikes in the public sector illegal. There's a reason for this. If teacher's were permitted and opted to test what the market would bear by striking or by opting out of teaching altogether, then I suggest that salaries would be considerably higher than they now are. Now there may be a teacher surplus, but, if salaries don't improve, we will see how "the market" impacts teacher salaries. Minimizing the demand for new teachers by, in part, increasing class sizes, may backfire on both taxpayers and students, mostly students. Further, teachers go through a rigorous application and probationary process to help ensure they will be able to meet the challenges they will face. Many don't make it. Our local and federal governments are ever increasing the demands on teachers and schools to make them accountable. One of the problems with weeding out a teacher who may not be meeting expectations is the validity of the many criteria and variables involved in measuring performance. Same holds true for adopting a system of merit pay. For example, simply, how much of all that causes a child to not perform is due to the teacher not performing? If this were not the tough issue it is, I'm sure it would have been resolved long ago. I'm also certain that the profession would be wide open to any fix proposed by anyone not in the profession. I would even agree with privatizing education if it would make things better for kids, would be open to every kid and would be financed on public money, without additional tuition paid by the student's parents. I just don't think it can happen. Not in public schools. One more thing, I wholeheartedly believe that our public school system is a great bargain in America, that it largely does what it's supposed to do, that many of the criticisms are undeserved and that, by it's nature, it's highly vulnerable to public criticism because it's funded by their tax dollars and--this is the kicker--everyone can have unsupported opinions that are difficult to refute with hard evidence. Saying that our schools are failing is ridiculous. Politicians use such statements to inflame and garner support. Comparing one country with another is equally ridiculous. Even one town with another. You can't measure a kid's growth accurately until you know more than it may be possible to know about the kid before he starts "learning." We do the best we can and keep trying to do better. Calling us overpaid failures, essentially, is destructive to everyone concerned and grossly untrue.

John Q

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 2:51 p.m.

"I certainly think that the school administrators are getting more than they should given the economic times." Which shows that you have no interest in paying people based on the values that you claim that they should be paid, only on some arbitrary number that you think they should earn "given the economic times". The superintendent of the Ann Arbor School District oversees the operation of a $180 million dollar "company" with almost 2000 employees and 16,000+ students. What's the appropriate compensation for a person with that level of responsibility in the private sector?

Bridget Bly

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 2:28 p.m.

Inside MI GOP: The per-capita figure you cite includes children, so it's not really a figure that makes sense to compare to starting teachers' salaries. Likewise, students are included in per capita and per household figures. The median family income in Ann Arbor for 2007 was above $82,000 (see wikipedia). I have no problem with teachers making the median income for their town. I am always surprised to hear middle class Americans attack public education. The idea that you will get a better education with a voucher program seems so unlikely. It'll be like the daycare discrepancies now: high-end educational experiences for the wealthy who can pay a lot, nice enough for the middle class who can pay something, and plopped in front of a TV for the poor with only their vouchers. The free market is no place to care for children if equality matters at all.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 1:41 p.m.

@David "This is public money. Their names should be made public" says the man making a public opinion without using his full name

Roger Roth

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

John Q, thanks for your reason and insight. I agree. Inside MI GOP wrote: "Further, as a former substitute and aidr at inner city schools, the reason to not go into teaching is not the kids, but rather the sort of East German, statist culture/attitudes of the other teachers, administrators and unions." You did the right thing by opting for another line of work if this is how you feel. Let me tell you how I feel about my work. First, I'm intensely proud to be a teacher--for about 40 years, now--I'm equally proud of my work, my students, my many intelligent, creative, articulate colleagues and my profession. Teaching has been so good to and for me that I have become one of the profession's biggest promoters. If you are a parent out there, and you have a youngster unable to decide what to do with his/her life, please ask him/her to investigate teaching. I have students all over the world now and I regularly hear from them via email, thanking me for having been their teacher. If you are under 40 and want a positive change in your life, if you want to make a real difference in the world, one kid at a time, consider hopping on this "Teacher Gravy Train" yourself. If you hold a bachelor's, you could get your certificate in a couple year's time. We'd help you through those testy, challenging first five years and then you, too, could make a lot of money and, ultimately retire happy and comfortable. Heck, consider this even if you're over 40! Now, more than ever before, kids need smart, caring adults to help them.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 1:03 p.m.

John Q & Roger I certainly think that the school administrators are getting more than they should given the economic times. As I think the city administrator is getting more than he should. A number of teacher supporters here also think the administrators are getting too much. I would ask any of YOU how much should the administrators be paid? Less than the teacher? I suspect many teachers would subscribe to your argument John Q. I will say this if everybody got paid for time on the job and not days or weeks off the job the rest of the world could not touch us when it comes to productivity. That's how I managed for over 30 years!

Inside MI GOP

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

Washtenaw Countys median household income is $51,990 (2000 U.S. Census). The per capita income for Washtenaw County of $27,173. In 2000, 48.1% of Washtenaw Countys population above age 25 held a bachelors degree or higher. 2000 US Census I believe that 25% of the Washtenaw County workforce holds a Masters Degree or higher. The starting wage for an Ann Arbor teacher is $45k. Right there, they are double the per capita income and approaching the median household income of 2000. We could go on to compare the actual hours worked by those receiving the median income and additional benefits they do or do not receive as compared to what teachers receive. Further, as a former substitute and aidr at inner city schools, the reason to not go into teaching is not the kids, but rather the sort of East German, statist culture/attitudes of the other teachers, administrators and unions.

John Q

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 11:27 a.m.

"Last time, how much is a teacher worth. Give a figure and justify it, if you can. I'm eager to hear whether I've been overpaid or underpaid all my life." Great question Roger. I can tell you that for most of the people attacking the pay of teachers, it's some number less than what they or their spouse makes. The idea that someone is getting paid with "their" money and making more than take home is more than some people here can handle. It doesn't matter what the number is or whether you can justify your pay based on your education, experience or responsibilities. Those are facts and those people are responding with emotion. In their minds, anything more than they make is too much. That's why you won't get specific responses other than "what the market pays". Of course, the market pays private sector CEOs well in excess of what public sector administrators typically make but none of these people would be pushing for the superintendent or the Governor or the President to get multi-million dollar salaries even though that's what they would get paid if they were running corporations of a similar size.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

jernalyzt "Yet someone in a good sales job can easily make $150K a year." You've been watching too many infomercials!


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

What a disappointment to see people complaining about a teacher making $80,000 a year (and that's someone who has been at the job a long time). Think about what it's like to help you child with homework each night. Now, multiply that by 25 or 30. And make that homework assignment helping last seven hours, every day. Add weekends and after-hours work. Yet someone in a good sales job can easily make $150K a year. Salaries need to be decent to attract high quality people to the profession. It is unfortunate that the unions make it difficult to hire and fire based on performance rather than tenure. That needs to be fixed, but let's not undervalue the work of good teachers. By the way, I also know some teacher friendswho have lost their health benefits because of budget cuts or now find themselves paying a lot more for their share of benefits. And really, have you ever seen a teacher living a lavish lifestyle? (fyi I am not a teacher.)


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:41 a.m.

What a disappointment to see people complaining about a teacher making $80,000 a year (and that's someone who has been at the job a long time). Think about what it's like to help you child with homework each night. Now, multiply that by 25 or 30. And make that homework assignment helping last seven hours, every day. Add weekends and after-hours work. Yet someone in a good sales job can easily make $150K a year. Salaries need to be decent to attract high quality people to the profession. It is unfortunate that the unions make it difficult to hire and fire based on performance rather than tenure. That needs to be fixed, but let's not undervalue the work of good teachers. By the way, I also know some teacher friendswho have lost their health benefits because of budget cuts or now find themselves paying a lot more for their share of benefits. And really, have you ever seen a teacher living a lavish lifestyle? (fyi I am not a teacher.)

Roger Roth

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

@Stunhsif So you believe teachers should earn 60K/year. How did you arrive at that figure? We all saw what Wall St. and the banking industry did to people's hard-earned savings so I'd probably be the last one to agree with privatizing retirement savings. If our government chooses to jeopardize people's $$ by deregulating financial markets and looking the other way while those markets gamble--if you want to call it that--with investors' money, then they should, as well, secure peoples' retirement investments with mechanisms like SS and public retirement systems, of which I'm a beneficiary. This isn't just safe; it's smart. The board that governs my retirement system is highly regulated and overseen by the state and, for that reason, fared quite well through the crash, all but assuring my benefit for life. I wish everyone were as fortunate--or had opted to go into teaching and payed 30+ years of "dues."

mike gatti

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

We can't have it both ways. We can't say that education is the most important thing and that we need to give our kids all the opportunities and benefits we can so that they can compete in the world and then cheap out on paying the very people to whom much of this responsibility is entrusted. Maybe there needs to be adjustment in things like the length of the school year and top heavy administration but teachers? Leave them alone and let them teach. BTW I am not nor have I ever been a school teacher


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

Reading a lot of the posts here, I do think that our education system has failed. Reading comprehension score: F. The PDF document made clear that administrators at AAPS were receiving the top salaries. Yet without reading beyond the columnists' drift over to teacher salaries and not inquiring about administrators salaries (like Mr Allen's salary for instance), the posts were rants about teachers salaries, not administrators salaries that are really the top salaries on the list. (again, see PDF) Sadly many posters have not passed the reading comprehension part of this exam.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

@Speechless How appropriate because it seems like that is what you would ask of any that don't share your thoughts. Rather than discuss an issue on its merits you insist that everyone with opposing views is a "right wing commentators. How about just backing up your position! "Their views, thankfully, barely register a pulse in Ann Arbor's many neighborhoods." If that is the case then why get your tail in a twist? We must not be a threat to the gravy train you ride! Mr Roth I don't recall anyone suggesting that A2 teachers should be paid the lowest salary in the state. But I don't believe some of them need to be the highest in the state either! "What is that worth? $20K, 30, 40, 43, 300, a 1000K, or is it worth what taxpayers believe it's worth? I think the latter." Does that mean you will accept it if the tax payers decide you are not worth as much as you think?


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

The only ones defending these high salaries for 9 months of work are other teachers. This is ut of hand. What do charter school teachers make -- they seem to be having more success with the students. OOPS! This is competition to the teachers and their union -- makes the union and their members very upset that they have to meet higher standards for less money. For all of those that think teachers are doing a great job -- how do we fare with the rest of the world? Highest pay and low quality product. As stated previously here -- Teachers are notorious for having the lowest test scores in math and verbal skills than most other college grads. Revamp the pay scale to reward success and to punish mediocrity. Are you teachers afraid of that? Are you so scared of being found incompetent that you and the MEA want nothing to do with competition? I enjoy seeing those in the public sector being held to the same standards as the private sector -- and to the same pay scale.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:55 a.m.

This is public money. Their names should be made public


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:47 a.m.

We now have around 100 comments, though not as many writers have contributed as it might seem, given the long thread length. A number of the later entries comprise serial postings, repeating a few crude talking points, coming from a fairly limited group of far-right commenters. Their views, thankfully, barely register a pulse in Ann Arbor's many neighborhoods. We are not Wyoming or Wasilla, nor white Mississippi. We can't even see Canada, let alone Russia, from our yards. Additionally, I wish to amend something I wrote earlier. The regular teacher bashers consist not only of sycophants who do the dirty work of elite corporate interests seeking to eliminate unions — especially stronger groups like the MEA and its affiliated locals — but hard-core religious conservatives as well. Some religious fundamentalists adopt anti-union, corporatist arguments as a proxy to advance notions like school vouchers and charter schools, which remain unpopular with this state's majority. They ultimately want big hunks of state cash handed over to them so that they can teach creationism to their kids at the expense of Michigan taxpayers. Those who bash on teachers demonstrate the alliance between the religious right and corporate toadies.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

@RogerRoth, First off, I agree with the teachers who point out the fact that only 25% of those making over 100 grand are teachers, most are admin folks. That is why the number of school districts must be reduced. As I said earlier, the "pay packages" of the top 7 Superintendents in Washtenaw County are ludricrous. Regarding teachers salaries, you asked what they should make. I would submit that if we keep the current defined pension benefit system plus the glamorous healthcare benefits then teacher salaries should be capped at 60k. Let's not forget that 60K for 9 months pay would equal 80 if they worked a full year. Now if we can have teachers roll over to 401K's and fund their own retirement ( like the rest of us do) plus fire the unions then I would be happy to let the market play out. The best teachers, the most sought after teachers ( science and math) could perhaps easily make over 100 grand while others ( gym, social studies etc) might make a fair bit less.

Roger Roth

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 6:32 a.m.

Fine! Pay AA teachers what the lowest payed teachers in the state earn. Does that make it fair? Or right? Again, how much is a teacher worth? One of the huge problems in public ed. is that funding is not equitable, town to town, state to state, in spite of efforts to correct the disparity. We have that right here in MI and in our own district. No one seems to be able to place a real value on the service that a teacher provides. How about UM, a public school? How much does a Prof. earn and for how much work? Is it more than 60K? Is he/she worth it? This is an emotional issue, clearly. It may be "market," but that doesn't make it right and it certainly isn't fair. If the median income in this area is X, but you have some teachers earning half again what others are paid, same ed., and experience, what's fair about that? Last time, how much is a teacher worth. Give a figure and justify it, if you can. I'm eager to hear whether I've been overpaid or underpaid all my life. I feel I've been fortunate to make a real difference in the lives of my students--they and their parents tell me, as do my colleagues. What is that worth? $20K, 30, 40, 43, 300, a 1000K, or is it worth what taxpayers believe it's worth? I think the latter.

Tom Dodd

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 6:24 a.m.

What a thrill it is to see the thoughts of so many of my former students on this issue. Their writing and problem solving skills are among the best of those posted. 50 years in the Ed Biz is certainly starting to pay off. There were not many similar sentiments when they paid me $4000 a year for the same job.


Mon, Aug 9, 2010 : 5:20 a.m.

Roger Roth - Here is an answer to your question "How much should teachers be paid?" Visit sites such as or, select teacher and notice that compensation ranges 1/2 to 2/3 what AAPS is paying. These are fair market rates, and these are rates we could be paying. Competition surely sounds scary to a public employee; but we will all benefit from a more competitive school system.

longtime AA

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:42 p.m.

The problem is that only 25% of the group receiving over $100,000 are teachers--the ones in direct contact with the students. If people want a good education for their kids, if our candidates for governor stress the importance of education, if we want to have our kids prepared for the future, and if we want a school system that will keep up our housing values and make it easier (especially these days) to sell a house, then we need the best people available in the classroom working with our children and must pay them accordingly. That being said, if teachers want to be paid well, they need to allow teachers to be evaluated, and to have the worst teachers fired--just like in any job.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:39 p.m.

There isn't a PUBLIC school teacher worth 60 thousand, let alone $100k. With unemployment in Michigan well above 10%, state employee salaries should lowered. And NO public employee should make over 90K. That includes fire and police. And no, I don't need their protection.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:28 p.m.

I am surprised there are so many teachers up this late with tomorrow being a work day. Oops I forgot its the rest of the world that is working tomorrow!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:22 p.m.

"teaching is only slightly more important than plumbing or, only slightly less important than doctoring and way less important than playing in the Major Leagues" Roger, this argument makes no sense, the professionals you mention, plumbers, doctors, professional athletes, earn their money in through market forces, supply and demand. Teachers do not. I don't think it's fair to ask how much teachers should make without any other assumptions. The kicker to these absurd salaries is that teachers are not held accountable for output. They run almost no risk of losing their job if they don't perform.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:09 p.m.

I'd rather have a good teacher that loves his/her job, inspires kids, has proven results, etc. make over $100,000 a year than the rediculous salaries some people make in the banking industry (not just the CEOs).

Roger Roth

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:08 p.m.

I've read all 86 comments on this story. Bashers seem to be saying that the solutions to public school problems are 1) pay good teachers a lot less than they are being paid and take away bennies, 2) get rid of bad teachers, 3)get rid of teacher unions and collective bargaining, 4) pay teachers according to merit, 5) privatize schools and 6) make vouchers available to everyone. Do we know if these are adopted, they'll get the desired results, or are we just hoping? Heardoc, how much do you think a teacher should be paid? When you give me your answer, I'd like you to tell me how and why you arrived at that figure. Please try not to be arbitrary. Give me solid justification for your figure, like, teachers should be paid a little more than registered plumbers who make X and in the hierarchy of professions and how important they are to society, teaching is only slightly more important than plumbing or, only slightly less important than doctoring and way less important than playing in the Major Leagues, where the average salary is 3.2 Big Ones a year--no, not thousands, MILLIONS! Now, who else do you think makes too much money? I bet your annual take is exactly the right amount, right? You get exactly what you deserve to earn, right. At the very least, you don't make MORE than you should, right? Probably, you should get a little more every year, right? And you work 50 weeks a year for your money, right? Since in your mind teachers are doing way better than they deserve, and way better than mostly everyone else, I think you should go to school and get your teaching certificate and hop on this Gravy Train. I've ridden it into a rather attractive retirement benefit and I so much loved the Gravy that I'm back on the Train, sipping again, part-time. You could be a teacher--probably. It's so easy even a cave man could do it.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:23 p.m.

Maybe the taxpayers should stand up and sue the public school system for mismanagement of public tax dollars.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:19 p.m.

I think that the salaries of public servants, Teachers, police, fire, governor, senator etc.. should be based on the economic factors of the area. If property values go down, so should their pay.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:18 p.m.

1. Too many administrators. Who needs an assistant principal anyway??? In the real world when everyone realizes there are too many cooks in the kitchen you better believe it is corrected or that company goes down. Sadly, in this case schools just ask for more money.... and worse some of the time they get it, especially in Ann Arbor (I live here) 2. Don Bee should write for He always has very good points with evidence and I have yet to see him post something that was incorrect or didn't make sense with relation to the school stuff. Thanks Don!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:16 p.m.

Craig Lounsbury, The difference Between Pfizer and Public Schools is that the Tax payers pay the salaries of the Public School Employees, Unless you want to pay extremely higher property taxes you should be disturbed by these salary figures.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:12 p.m.

Step One: Break the teachers' union. Totally. Deep six it. Bury it. No progress will be made in education while that millstone exists. Step Two: Introduce competition into the system. Bring in International standards that will highlight how we compare to the rest of the world. For the time being, I propose that we call the bluff on the teachers' union. They say that lowering salaries will result in less qualified teachers. That's hogwash, and they know it. When I look at my tax bill, the single largest whomping amount goes to education. I firmly believe that we are in a period of diminishing returns with the money spent on education. But what politician will have the guts to stand in front of his, or her, constituents and propose breaking the union? When all the rest of the world will have blown by us, it will be too late.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:11 p.m.

@TonyLivingston, That gym teacher that makes or made 100 grand plus is Mr. Price at Saline Middle School. I don't care how much he coaches, a gym teacher should not be making 100 grand. Add to that his healthcare and pension costs and he is likely being compensated around 115 grand.

Tony Livingston

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

I remember that they posted an article like this a couple years ago and they actually listed the names of the highest paid teachers. One of them was a middle school gym teacher who teaches, coaches sports, and runs the 8th grade trip (a huge undertaking). With all that he does, I doubt that he is ever home.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:31 p.m.

Um, katmando? When you said: "it hasn't goten better no matter how much they had cut, " Just what was cut? Most of us see that wages and spending have continued to increase...


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:27 p.m.

""... Education is not a utility...." Wow. That sentiment takes us back to the 19th century...." Not really. You may feel that way, but that does not make it so. How many people are happy with the legal utility monopolies they deal with? Do you feel they care about you? Do you like that they are guaranteed a profit, regardless of performance? Your opinion means approximately nothing to them. Given a free choice, most people tend to avoid monopolies, due to their uninspired customer treatment. Certainly there should be public schools; but not as a monopoly. And to call teachers utility workers? No. Teaching is far too important to be allowed monopoly status.

Jeff Richard

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:20 p.m.

What a very sad state of affairs. Remember just a few months ago the headlines read that teachers were being let go because of budget shortfalls. There are several underlying issues that need to be brought out. How many of these 100K are school counselors? The school system is a microcosm for our society... the wrong people are grossly overpaid while many teachers with more critical jobs are paid significantly less and have to show up to work everyday hoping they will keep their employment. I suppose the universal solution to union-based employment problems will eventually be applied... fire them all and rehire with "contract" workers for half the salary. They are already doing it with the bus drivers --- teachers --- your next!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:18 p.m.

"I don't want my kids being taught by the "lowest bidder." " Of course you don't. Even though you probably do select the low bidder in most other purchases. You want excellent, competitive teachers. We all do. Statistics suggest we will continue to have a large pool of qualified applicants after public teacher wages become competitive by being reduced. Most teachers earn far less than our public teachers, and there are many excellent teachers among them.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:02 p.m.

The teachers are overpaid --PERIOD. Another blogger went into the scores that teachers receive on their ETS scores. The ETS scores for teachers attempting to receive their certification to teach have been the lowest of all the groups tested --THE LOWEST! This has been the case for years. For those of you who are unaware of ETS --this is a testing service that many college grads go through in order to be able to be licensed in many different fields. This could be Dentistry or audiology or teaching etc. And teachers have had the lowest scores in math and verbal skills than any other grads from college. We need to pay teachers based on skill -- not time on job. We need to destroy the union (MEA) and create standards and goals for these teachers so that we get our fair work for the money we pay the teachers.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:46 p.m.

@ katmando I hope your field of "expertise' is not teaching English. It only takes a second to check a post for errors. That"s strange I thought sure with the "saints" teaching our youth all was well!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:39 p.m.

For decades to conservatives have sought to destroy the public educational system. First it was cheaper leaner better,it hasn't goten better no matter how much they had cut, now they say the system is broken and of little use. The voucher system is just another way of stealing money from the public schools that use to be the envy of the world until the conservatives decided to make it cheaper leaner better.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:26 p.m.

@ Cash An over site on my part. Sure I think that the vast majority of administrators are over paid. They get most of the same days off with pay. I guess the only reason I failed to mention them is that they kind of hide in the bushes and lay low so as not to stir up the same feelings towards them. While the teachers are out here crying about how the "only" reason they got into teaching is for the love of it. Hog wash! @Lisa You can choose to get out of teaching if you think you are under paid and under appreciated! The choice I have that we both failed to mention is I can choose to voice my opinion whenever and where ever I choose! "Yes, we went into this for the love of kids or for a love of teaching" No doubt in my mind that many did just that. And I have no reason to believe you did otherwise. BUT you will not convince me that job security and more time off than almost any other profession never entered into the equation for a great number of teachers. If you will agree to quit painting all teachers as saints I will agree to quit painting all teachers as self important. definition:, arrogant, egotistical,immodest, puffed up


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

"... Education is not a utility...." Wow. That sentiment takes us back to the 19th century.... No, that's not really fair to many who lived during the 19th. It goes back even further in time than that, to an era when only the well-to-do had easy access to readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetik.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:09 p.m.

As a parent, I don't want my kids being taught by the "lowest bidder." If we drive down teacher salaries to what some suggest, then the only people who go into teaching (or who stay in teaching) will be those who are not smart enough to have any other alternative. If you're a bright, efficient, hard working person with a degree in math or science, why would you accept a job teaching that tops out at $40,000 a year? Driving down salaries will result in MUCH worse eduction for our kids. Its a simple matter of economics.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

I should be The Superintendent AA public School System. first thing I would do Is Cut my salary. Second get a bunch of non Union substitute teachers. And Go to the unions and tell them that we need to renegotiate contracts. Or we will lay off and Fire teachers. Hire non union internal affairs people to watch and evaluate all the teachers and if they are breaking rules or not performing they are out and not be replaced until union contracts are redone.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

"and the quality of the service is based upon payment" Another fallacy. Any data to support that assertion, Ms. Starrfield?


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:53 p.m.

"Education is more like a utility than a traditional good or service." You are so, so wrong. A teacher should know better. Most of the public 'services' (garbage? give me a break-there are many local garbage collection companies who could collect trash) can easily be provided by the private sector, at substantial savings. What public employees lack, Ms. Starrfield, is simple basic competition. It's understandable you would want a legal monopoly on your subjects, but at least call it what it is. Education is not a utility; and there is no reason for there to be a public employee monopoly providing it.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

I have not read all the comments, but I know one of the people who is likely making 100K per year as a teacher. This individual is an excellent and well respected teacher and is one of the best coaches in the state in two sports. In fact that describes two of the people coaching two sports at Pioneer who are longtime teachers in the district. When you accomplish what these individuals have done both as teachers and as coaches you deserve to be paid a lot of money. One of these peopl was supposedly offered at least 100K to take a college coaching position several years ago and declined the offer to remaining teaching and coaching at the high school level. One of these people I think also leads a couple student groups as well as coaching two sports.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

This is why we need School Vouchers. Since the Public School system is a monopoly and gets all the tax money with no competition. They can pay themselves ultra high salaries and and we just have to grin and bear it.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

JCJ, Again, how do you feel about the fact that the top 80% of the highest paid are administrators not teachers??


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:29 p.m.

Although the headline and opening lines show care in using the term "employees" to describe the six-figure recipients, while noting that teachers comprise only 22 out of the gang of 88, later on the article shifts its emphasis to teachers. Interestingly, the article does not subsequently identify positions or job categories for the remaining 66, save for the superintendent; for those particular details, you'll need to download the Ann Arbor pdf, which also shows the 22 teachers bunched at the low end of the 88. The article states that Ann Arbor was the only local district to have teachers who reached six figures. Readers not paying full attention may reasonably assume that "local" also includes the metro Detroit districts listed in the chart just above that line in the text. Instead, it refers to the Washtenaw-only chart a little further down. On its web site, for example, the Warren district lists 49 teachers among its 96 employees who earn six-figure compensation. Of course, comments from most bashers focus relentlessly on the high-end teacher incomes, all but completely ignoring compensation for the 66 top administration personnel. Obviously, they do not treat complete payroll costs as a serious concern, since their participation here is all about trashing and defaming the teachers' union at every available, on-topic opportunity. In this, the bashers do the dirty work of the Mackinac Center and other dedicated champions of the corporate elite who wish to cripple or destroy collective bargaining, with the MEA as a plum target. Their final goal is for for Michigan to pull ahead and win the race to the bottom, defeating Mississippi.

Lisa Starrfield

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 5:13 p.m.

JCJ, You can choose to live in Michigan... or not. You can choose to live in Washtenaw County... or not. You can choose to live in Ann Arbor... or not. But once you decide to live here in Ann Arbor, you've made your choice and after that, your only other choice happens at the ballot box. To some extant, you can choose in the private sector.. McDonald's or Wendy's, this bank or that credit union, Ford or Toyota. But you can't chose your utility or trash service. Education is more like a utility than a traditional good or service. The technical term is a public good. And yes, we all pay for them and the quality of the service is based upon payment. (Odd no one is indignant about the number of folks who make 100K + at utilities) Maybe you are right. Maybe the tide is turning and we will return to the days when teachers make nothing and can be dismissed for the hideous crime of being pregnant or married. But the quality of your teaching pool will collapse because the good teachers actually do make more money when they leave teaching. Yes, we went into this for the love of kids or for a love of teaching (not always the same thing); that doesn't make us stupid and we no more deserve to be paid and treated like crap than a family practice doctor who went into medicine for the love of medicine or her patients.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

There are many overpaid workers (I use the term loosely) out there. The difference is most of them do not have there hand in MY pocket. I can choose( to some degree) which doctor I go to. I can choose which tree service to use. I can choose to go to the movies or a ball game or not. In some cases there are even employees at McDonald's that don't earn what little pay they get. But I am not mandated to pay their salaries with my taxed dollars! I reserve the right to question the salaries of any public employee that is paid with my tax dollars be they local, state or federal! To hear some of the posters hear I would expect 75% of teachers to have sainthood bestowed upon them. And to say that they all went into teaching because they loved the idea of teaching kids is not being honest. I suspect a good number went into it because they did not want to "work" year round and once hired job security used to be pretty much a given. Well the pendulum is swinging in a different direction.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

Elizabeth Nelson - Having never accused teachers of having an easy job, the commenters stating otherwise tended to be ignored, but you are correct, some do make inflammatory statements; hopefully they will scale back the distracting rhetoric-it helps nothing. Respectfully though, your comment about the cost of living in town perhaps doesn't quite acknowledge that teachers and in fact all our public employees, do in fact earn quite a bit more than the average resident, and, a teacher's job is worth less than what the public teachers are paid. That is an uncomfortable reality, to be sure, and it won't change overnight. There are many fine teachers working for dramatically lower wages, right here in town. The private sector teacher group is large, and growing. And they all make way less than their public peers. A few on this site suggest the public teacher's experience levels and educational backgrounds are superior; this is nonsense. People generally opt to pay a lot of money for these private teachers; you can be very sure they generally expect, and get, a high quality educational experience. Along these lines... annarbor28 - very interesting comments. Many here would like to rework the AAPS budget. It is so very uncompetitive, and it puts us all at significant disadvantage. One question about this comment you made: "But it is very difficult to teach a public school student population who cannot be asked to leave except in extreme circumstances" Can this be changed? Would it be an incentive for teachers to tolerate lower wages? Seems so. Many here likely have a very low tolerance for the troublemakers. Something changed over the years...why are the troublemakers treated the way they are now? Are schools afraid of litigation? If the troublemaker issue could be addressed, perhaps the work environment would be much more tolerable, even at reduced wages. And it seems as though absolutely everyone would benefit. Even the troublemaker, who would get to learn an extra lesson or two...


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 3:47 p.m.

David Jesse and - I think that many of your articles about the school budgets, millage, and negotiations have been well done... this article, unfortunately, is badly researched and presented. Quite frankly, comparing the NUMBER of teachers or employees that make X across districts and then trying to draw or incite conclusions about what district is overpaid is irresponsible and naive. I expect more from this news site. A meaningful comparison would have been to present the pay scales (pay charts with education vs. years of service) from various districts and make a determination on which districts offer the highest wages. As has presented it, it is impossible to know the reason why Ann Arbor has some of the highest paid staff. It could be that Ann Arbor has the most teachers with high education and years of service... It could be that the Ann Arbor pay scale is terrifically bloated... It could be that Ann Arbor has a significantly higher NUMBER of teachers and therefore, proportionally, has a higher NUMBER of teachers who make more than X. Unfortunately, what was offered was largely worthless. At a bare minimum, the mean, median and quartile pay rates should be presented along with the populations (teachers) for each disctrict. It would be far superior to offer the pay scales for side by side comparison. Sadly, given the types of posters on this site, this article does little more than make an effort to rile up the posters and is akin to falsely yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. Hopefully, has generated good ad revenue through the traffic generated to the article. I expect more from Ann and am disappointed.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 3:26 p.m.

If Mr. Berlin in charge, they make $150K!

Elizabeth Nelson

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

@AlphaAlpha-- At least one poster here readily admitted to teaching "bashing" and several more are minimizing the profession as undemanding (e.g. whole summers off!) and requiring little intellect (e.g. glorified security guards, babysitters). The word "bashing" is a fairly accurate word to describe what many people are doing. It is expensive to live in Ann Arbor and most people are sidestepping that issue, so the next argument in line is to somehow define the teacher's job as 'less than' the value of their salary. I appreciate that we're all taxpayers, but I'm impressed at how obnoxious people can be about this issue, just casually insulting an entire profession. I'll be the first to admit that there are crappy/lazy/incompetent teachers out there, but it's no more than (though I'd argue FEWER than) any other large organization that employs a lot of people.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 3:02 p.m.

My children went to schools where the tuition was $25,000 a year before extras. The administrators were not overpaid, and the HS had 1 principal. Actually the administrative staff was fairly small. Teachers were excellent, and accepted less pay than at public schools because it was a lot easier to teach students who are willing and able to learn. (Not all the students were brilliant, but they had to try to stay in the school.) School bus service was extra, about $1500 dollars a year. It was an incredibly great experience for my children, K-12, and they are very successful, as are their classmates. I can guarantee you that if I took the total budget of the A2 school system and ran it privately, with hiring and firing control, I would wind up with a surplus, and much more satisfied teachers, staff, students and parents. But it is very difficult to teach a public school student population who cannot be asked to leave except in extreme circumstances. That does deserve higher pay. The Ann Arbor schools are very top heavy with administrative staff, and that is where I would cut first.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

Local, you're out of touch and have been "institutionalized" by your profession. You need a reality check. I worked 45 years and I don't even know what a "holday bonus" is. Help me out Local, what is a holiday bonus? I find it interesting that there is 1 employee for every 7.88 students. Compensation for employees is about 80% of revenue. If you don't think these numbers are way out of line, then you have no concept of economic reality. the financial sector that everyone is up in arms about only dedicates an average of 50% of revenues to compensation(includes the excessive bonuses). Public welfare takes on a whole new meaning and we truly need "welfare" reform.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

"Teachers deserve to be well-paid." Perhaps you could start your own school,and pay your staff even more than AAPS's $103,000 total per year, say maybe $157,500 per year, and then set your tuition rates, and see how many customers you get. Good luck with that concept...


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

Teachers deserve to be well-paid. They have a lot of pressure on them in the classroom, from teaching to discipline, extra duties, etc. Ann Arbor is a breeze next to Detroit, but it is still hard work. Administrators are overpresent and overpaid. You don't need so many HS principals in 1 school, as A2 has. The Superintendent doesn't deserve more than teachers. For what? Going to meetings and talking to people about budgets? Teachers have one of the most important jobs of any. They deserve to be paid like lawyers and financiers and certainly like politicians, who all do far less and make far more.

Roger Roth

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 2:07 p.m.

RE: Inside MI GOP In the larger world view, I would suggest that, for example, many of the people in our congress, many on Wall Street, many in the banking industry, many corporate CEO's and many working for BP--just to mention a few--as a group, would test above, maybe well above, the median on SAT tests. Get my drift?

David Cahill

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

Thanks for the reference, David!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

This is worse than Bell, California.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 1:03 p.m.

A couple thoughts - Nobody is 'bashing' teachers. What a simplistic, hot button slogan 'bash' is. There is a huge difference between disliking teachers, and disliking their pay. Those accusing others of teacher bashing are simply grandstanding, or misinformed. Second, keep in mind: total compensation is the important metric. Most teachers are compensated over $100,000 per year, per numerous stories on this site. Total compensation includes benefits, and total compensation of over $100K each is much higher than it needs to be.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 1:02 p.m.

Patrick Haggood, "Again, going back to my years as a teacher; in DPS it wasn't the administrators making buck in a building, usually the building maintenance staff who often controlled overtime assignments," Even if that was true (need to see the actual annual payroll for the school system) it is not the case here. This article is about AAPS. The PDF gives salary by position. Please read it. Read the PDF of exact WHAT employees got the highest salaries. The highest salaries are given to the administrators. They are not janitors. Nor are they teachers.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

I am a substitute teacher and I make $75 a day and no benfits. I have been doing it for over 8 years. I like it, most of the kids are good kids a few bad ones that make life very difficult. I have a Masters degree but can't find full time work because of a disability so I supplement my SSDI check by teaching.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

Only 22 of those where teachers, and most of the rest where doing double duty. To those that think teachers are over paid get into the classroom yourselves and see what it is REALLY like! I subsitute teach and I know. You try and stand in front of the classroom of 30-35 kids all day see what it is like.

Patrick Haggood

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 12:12 p.m.

@Susan - Having both worked as a high school teacher in Detroit and an office drone with real 'empire builders', I can't say the former is more substantially more draining than the latter (tho the latter pays WAY more). @Cash - Again, going back to my years as a teacher; in DPS it wasn't the administrators making buck in a building, usually the building maintenance staff who often controlled overtime assignments, could jockey the schedules so that they and their closest cronies could make > $120K/year; WAY more than even the principal earned. @Bablat - I've volunteered for overnight trips with >50 students and I think I might have earned a years' pay in just that one night Oh, and you got the terms wrong; students call it summer vacation; teachers call it 'mental recovery' :-)

David Jesse

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.

@David Cahill: Section 18 (2) of the Public Act 94 of 1979

David Briegel

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

Bridget Bly, Silly you. These posters here want to cut the taxes for the corporate crooks!! Priorities you know. I still don't understand why we have so many school districts each with their own set of professional bureaucrats and administrators? Local control is one thing but so much duplication seems wasteful. We need overhaul from the top down.

Stephen Landes

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

@clownfish -- per your comment: "2010 contract, pay frozen, pay for 178 days but 182 days worked in class." 182 days is still only half a year. Why don't you check around to see how many days a year typical engineering and professional employees work. I'll bet it isn't less than 230. OT and weekend work is generally included in base pay these days (gone are the days of OT pay in many cases). Teachers and administrators used to be paid woefully low wages compared to the private sector, but the situation has flipped. It is unsustainable, and the sooner that public sector employees figure that out the sooner we will get our house in order.

Jeremy Hallum

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

I think it would be useful and instructive to compare the costs of living of AAPS staff and faculty vs the average cost of living of Ann Arbor, and then compare that to the average cost of living of other School Districts in Michigan. After wall, of the school districts listed above, how many have cities with comparable costs of living compared to Ann Arbor? If the average salaries of AAPS workers are considerably farther away from the statistical average of other schools districts compared to their local costs of living, then we have a legitimate complaint. In this case, I'm not convinced that the higher salaries actually mean anything, other than acknowledging the fact that it is more expensive to live in Ann Arbor than other places in Michigan.

Elizabeth Nelson

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 11:23 a.m.

I really hope that most of the teacher-bashing posts here are coming from non-parents because otherwise I truly worry about our future. Anyone who is a decent parent SHOULD know what a big job it is to teach children, even when you're faced with teaching only one, two, or three at a time. I just can't imagine how any parent could draw the conclusion that teaching is 'easy.' Didn't you teach your kid to use the toilet? ride a bike? pick up after himself? Were these things EASY? How easy would it have been to do with 20 more kids in the mix? If you're a parent who thinks teachers don't do a 'real' TOUGH job worthy of significant pay, why not invite 20 or 25 of your kids' closest friends over to teach them quadratic equations? Better yet, invite that many over and try to lead them in ANY structured seated activity for more than 20 minutes (no cheating with a movie). I'm not a teacher but I'm not stupid enough to pretend that "anyone" can do it. It's a true skill... and you aren't thinking clearly if you imagine that their working hours begin and end in the presence of your children. Do you suppose they plan lessons, grade papers, and prepare tests for 25+ kids in a single planning period?


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

I don't have a problem with the amounts here (and I'm not an educator BTW). I do have a problem with the fact that teachers don't want to be accountable for results. I also would like pay to be variable depending on expertise, so we can attract more STEM teachers, or other teachers in high demand.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

The AAPS system is top-heavy with administrators and other non-teachers. Same goes with most every school system from grade schools to universities. I'd really like to see that addressed. Benefits costs inflate teacher compensation costs. I'd like to see unsustainable pensions replaced with 401k's that we peons in the private sector get. Unions should know better than to ask for such unsustainable future burdens and administrators should know better than to give in to such reckless demands. I have no particular problem with some teachers making $100K/year. Figure a classroom of 25 students, $10K per year per student, $250K/year per classroom, that ought to leave enough money to pay teachers well... unless there's one heck of an overhead problem. Just don't whine to me about being underpaid. Compared to the IT field, where we have zero job security and downsizing is common, teachers are very well paid. When times get tough we're lucky if we only have to take pay cuts. Even during the good times, long gone, I'm pretty sure that Ann Arbor teachers were on average better paid.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

I see no problem in paying great salaries to anyone in the teaching profession, as long as it is deserved and earned. Reaching $100,000 based on seniority is no way to reward. Teacher salaries should be set per a merit system, not a straight across the board union contract arrangement. I've seen many undeserving teachers receive a salary increase when it was not deserving. The dedicated and truly professional educators of our children deserve pay recognition.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:13 a.m.

It's for 9 months + spring break+ 2 weeks Christmas! What a deal,


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

They'll all be unemployed soon enough.

Roger Roth

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

The appearance of this story in your publication in these economically troubled and challenging times was predictable. First, a little sarcasm: You mean the Ann Arbor school system has risen to be one of the best in the country and they did THAT paying most people under $100K/year???!!! The average salary in most school systems is probably closer to half that, making schools a great bargain, if all they did was babysit. $100K is an arbitrary figure. I happen to believe that what I do as a teacher and the extent of my training and experience are worth at least a couple hundred thousand/year. Maybe $300K. But, I'm a realist. Tell you what. Let's set a threshold of, say, $43K/year for any employee in public education. This is a nice, appealing figure, though probably close to poverty level, but one that would make Neanderthal-minded taxpayers happy and one that would force to look for other ways to inflame and divide hard-working people. Good job! I know for sure that most people who read this article saw right through it. Finally, I would like compliment my colleagues on the superb job they do, day in and day out, and nights, too, both administrators and teachers, with each and every student that comes to them, without reservation, but with immeasurable dedication, love and devotion. This is priceless!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.

Ann Arbor makes another top 10 list!

David Cahill

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:34 a.m., could you please provide a Michigan Compiled Laws reference to this new transparency statute for school districts?

Brian Bundesen

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.

I will speak from the perspective of an engaged parent of 2 kids who have just completed the AAPS K-12 experience. Based on a cumulative 24 years of interaction and observation, I do not have a problem with the pay scale reflected here. When the budget is balanced, it's all good. When, however, we face the economic problems of the past couple of years, the problems and accusations are amplified. As far as teachers specifically, I would say that about 75% to 80% of them are truly dedicated and wonderful stewards of our childrens' education. They deserve to be highly compensated. Unfortunately, on the other hand, there are maybe 20% to 25% who are comfortable in their union protected position, and I'm sorry to say it, are not much more than glorified babysitters. All the predictable and inevitable bickering about public vs. private, vacation days, etc are rolled out in tough times, and really never get resolved. The bottom line is the bottom line. In a deficit budget, everybody hast to take the hit. It's too bad that the good teachers have to bear the burden of the poor teachers, but that's the way it is. My vote is for equal, across the board cuts to everyone that gets a check from AAPS to balance the budget. My 2c.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:33 a.m.

I m curious why posters are talking about teacher pay in Ann Arbor Public Schools. Why isn't anyone posting about administrator's pay??? That's where we see the top salaries if we read the PDF. Teachers have become the target. I'm sure that's exactly what top paid AAPS administrators would like. Deflects attention from them. Why were there more questions to Mr Allen about administrators pay? Congratulations for playing into the hands of the public school bigwigs. They are laughing all the way to the bank. Superintendent of public school making a quarter of a million dollars? Please.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:31 a.m.

@Bridget Bly "Teachers are the backbone of middle-class society." Pretty strong statement! They are no more (or less)the backbone than any other hard working, honest, courteous, kind, tax paying citizen! I have been as guilty of teacher bashing as anyone. We don't need to vilify them and we don't need to put them on a pedestal. What we need to do is demand performance from them just as we should any other worker paid with tax dollars.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Since they are the highest paid, they must be the best! Like in sports or business. In these tough economic times, I think any mileage proposal should be shelved and maybe a few mileages removed so we can feel like we are all giving up something.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

MissM - Middle school teachers are high paid scurity guards. Little teaching occurs during the "lost" years known as Middle School.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

I don't believe the majority of teachers are overpaid. In any business there will be those that make a lot and those that barely bring in a living. I agree with AAW and would like to see an article on the teachers assistants who bring home less than $13,000 a year and in some districts, still have no benefits. From what I've seen while visiting my childs school, these women are genreally the "hands on" educators in the classroom and barely get recognition nor compensation for teaching our children. This seems to be is where schools are saving money.

Bridget Bly

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 9:08 a.m.

I was interested in INSIDE MI GOP's links, because the first line of the second link was "Research suggests that school quality is tightly linked to teacher quality (NCES 2000d.)" and goes on to say that experience, ongoing professional education, and training in the the subjects taught are correlates of teacher quality. I believe the reason AA has teachers with higher salaries is because they reward experience, professional education, and advanced training. That seems right to me. Too many college students already shy away from teaching careers because of the notoriously low salaries compared to other careers you can have with comparable education and skills. I wish teachers were paid enough so that it didn't take self-sacrifice for people choose teaching over being a biologist or a geologist or an IT guy -- all careers with higher salaries than teachers, to say nothing of lawyers and financial managers. Teachers are the backbone of middle-class society. Teachers are our neighbors, are kind to our children every day, and spend their salaries in our communities. Can't we bash the real bad guys: corrupt politicians, soul-less investment bankers, corporate thieves?

Marshall Applewhite

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:45 a.m.

I don't really have a problem with teachers being well compensated, but I'd like them to stop complaining about being "underpaid".

Susan Montgomery

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:41 a.m.

I visit a local high school one day a year to talk about engineering and I consider it my "high school teacher appreciation day" I would not have the patience and energy to deal with the number of students that our high school teachers deal with hour after hour, day after day, let alone try to teach them the course subject, prepare teaching materials, grade countless homework sets and exams, go out of their way to try to help out individual students... I work many hours too, but not in such an emotionally draining environment. I have tremendous respect for the vast majority of the elementary, middle, and high school teachers that my sons have had over the years. With their hard work, dedication and passion for teaching our children they have more than earned their salaries.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:39 a.m.

Lets focus on the other 66 high paid people. 22 are Elementary School Principals - as many as there are Teachers on the list. Most of these Principals are above the first teacher on the list. We have 6 high schools, but 7 High School Principals on the list. (Note there are also Assistant High School Principals on the list). So how do we end up with more Principals than High Schools? 6 Middle School Principals, An "administrator" unspecified, the Crew Chief for Physical Property and others are all on the list. In general more than 10.5 Million Dollars for overhead on this list (I left the 22 teachers out of this calculation). There is more overhead that is not on the list. Of the Operating Funds - the unrestricted funds that are so hard to find - that the Mr. Norton and other scream we need more of - about 7 percent is on this list - how much more overhead is not on this list? 88 titles - 22 of them "Teacher" and 4 spelling mistakes in the titles. They include: "Assitant" "Direcor" "Assitant" "Liason" This is in an official report by the people who supervise the teaching of your children.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

I am glad to see that some people read the article above. Only 22 of the 88 are teachers. It would be wonderful if an article was done on the teacher assistants within all the schools includine the WISD. Listing all that they do and there pay. How about that I know that I work very hard and don't make near that much per year. I love my job and my students.

shari k

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

I'm so dismayed by the comment that teachers do not deserve 100k, even though so few of them actually make that. My husband is a teacher, and unlike the comment that describes teachers as working 8-9 months, he regularly puts in 12 hour days. Regularly. Weekends, at least 5 hours both days grading papers. He teaches 35 students in a class, 5 writing classes. Do the math. His 'vacations' during the school year are spent catching up on his enormous workload. All this for not nearly 100k. The double standard of what we expect of teachers and what we are willing to compensate them for is disheartening.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

Good for them! Too bad more teachers are not making more than 100,000-they deserve it.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8:13 a.m.

Good to know that the principal who violated state law is probably on that list and will continue to pull in the $$, despite the damage he has caused.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 8 a.m.

@MissM, Amen. Obviously posters didn't read the list provided below the article. And union-haters aren't complaining about the fact that most of the over $100,000 employees are administrators aka non-union workers! Why not?


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

Hold on teacher bashers. Did you even read the article? Most of those making 100 grand or more are administrative people. The few teachers on the list were doing other jobs on top of teaching in the classroom. On another note, calling all teachers idiots and making blanket statements based on a quote from a Woody Allen movie, reflects poorly on your intelligence. The original phrase: He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches, comes from Man and Superman (1903), "Maxims for Revolutionists" by George Bernard Shaw. This statement was a praise to the intellect of a teacher while those with more physical ability would do the basic work. I am a teacher by the way, I have worked many jobs before becoming a teacher, there are very few jobs out there that tap a persons emotions, problem solving skills, patience and, dare I say intellect, than teaching. Please come sit in on a day of middle school and have a look. You may decide teachers are not paid enough.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:54 a.m.

"When Pfizer was in still town, the AVERAGE pay was over $90,000 per year." The when/was should be noted. Those jobs are gone and I believe most of those folks were not offered other positions. While it may be somewhat simplistic those jobs are gone in part because they were not affordable.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

The rough conservative estimate that bus drivers put together for an understanding of supervisory overhead in the transportation department (using FOIA) was approximately $600,000 per year for 1 director, 4 supervisors and about 3 FTE's under them. The director alone made a total of $157K last year. We would have liked to go into more detail with the administration to flesh out some was to reduce this (as well as how we could cooperate to find and reduce deadhead miles in the routes) but even mentioning the cost of management was taboo. As for deadhead miles, administrators preferred to pay the WISD to find the miles using our staff (routing stays with the AAPS) as opposed to meeting with actual drivers and monitors. Cogs don't need opinions and can't help with the 'thinking' parts, I guess. Not part of the transportation budget, and not part of the $600K estimate above but worth noting, Mr Allen, director of operations, made $180K. I made (trying to recall my gross income off-hand here)...what $24K (maybe less).


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:43 a.m.

One thing I cannot figure out is, why so many people that hate Ann Arbor (the "liberal" people, the taxes, the rules) continue to live here. If INSIDEGOP is doing such a great job with his kids, and the kids get little value from the school they attend, why keep his kids in that school, why continue to live in the district? 2010 contract, pay frozen, pay for 178 days but 182 days worked in class. Supplemental pay (athletics, after school etc) cut 5%. Health insurance pay outs frozen. If you love democracy, then what is the problem here? Didn't you vote for the Education Board? It is they that negotiate with the evil unions. If you don't like the contract, don't take it out on just the teachers, it takes two to tango. When you go into your bosses office to negotiate salary, don't you play hardball? If you think teaching is easy, and overpaid, why don't some of you whiners get your butts into the classroom and show the lazy union members how it is done! Or, run for the education board, and get into the negotiations. Take part in democracy. I am wondering how many people here that whine about overpaid teachers also defend Rich Rod, attend pro football, baseball, basketball or hockey games where millionaires do exactly what for our kids again? I wonder where we went wrong in a society that clamors for more pay for hitting home runs than for teaching kids how to read and do science.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:41 a.m.

Gees people, did you read the list???? It's a few teachers but mostly administrators making the big bucks and taking care of themselves!!!!! This is mimics corporate America....the big shots take all and the workers get the rest. Stop blaming workers and read the list. The big shots get the money. Wake up!!!! (and I'm not a teacher and never was a teacher.)


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:38 a.m.

This is not an exceptionally high number, nor are the salaries out range given similar school districts in the country. In fact, generally speaking, you get what you pay for and given the recent budget cutbacks, these Ann Arbor figures are actually quite competitive. Thanks. Let's give our school's a break and raise taxes!!!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

I know most people only read the sensationalist headline, but there are not 88 TEACHERS, making over 100k. There are only 22 that are teachers. I would bet if you looked at their seniority, degrees, and other outside work they do, they would be the top teachers in the district. In the private sector, if you were with your job for 20-30 years and had a masters degree, your pay would be over 100k without having to coach, or do other extra work. When Pfizer was in still town, the AVERAGE pay was over $90,000 per year. For those who say, those who can't teach, I would say that does not matter. A great example would be a sports coach (teacher). Most of the best ones were not successful on the field, or only mildly so. Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas were not very good coaches. Phil Jackson was an average player.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

Grossly Overpaid. Don't forget all the summers and holidays off. "Those who can do, those who can't teach." The wool needs to come up from the eyes people. How much do you make a year?


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:29 a.m.

But then again we're talking a city where retired firemen are pulling in over $100K annually as well. Thanks again, Neil Berlin!


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

" It is scary to think that a teacher, who works 30 thirties at there job, will top out around 88,000 a year." There are a lot of people out there who would LOVE to make $88K for 8-9 months work per year. Including a LOT of people with advanced degrees. Advanced science, math and engineering degrees. $250K total compensation for the super sounds pretty generous as well.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 7:13 a.m.

The salaries and pay packages of the top 7 Superintendents are way too high. While I also feel teacher pay is a bit high at the top of the scale, it is more about their benefit and pension costs that must be reduced. But their pay is pretty high considering they work no more than 9 months a year. For a teacher making 88k a year, they are making 29.3k every quarter. Take that times four quarter and their true full time pay is 119k. After looking at the salaries and what we pay into their retirement, I will be voting no on every millage that comes down the pike. Till all public eductaion employees ( not just the teachers) take reasonable paycuts( 5%-8%) and agree to scale back their benefit and pension packages to match the private sector, I believe the taxpayers are going to vote no for additional school funding.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:58 a.m.

"Teachers don't get holiday bonuses, they don't get performance based bonuses (like private sector), they don't get overtime period. Their pay is set..." One could turn that around and say "teachers get every Holiday off with pay (their pay is set) They may not get performance bonuses but on the flip side they don't/rarely get fired for performance. They may not get OT, but neither do most salaried workers.

Linda Peck

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:47 a.m.

It is too much money.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:37 a.m.

heardoc, you don't know the specifics of what the teacher makes in the classroom. Maybe the teacher is making the max within the district, around 88,000 a year. They could also be coaching a fall, winter, and spring sports which would put their compensation above 100,000. Unless of course, you think that teachers who coach sports, or are heads of departments shouldn't be paid more? It is scary to think that a teacher, who works 30 thirties at there job, will top out around 88,000 a year. It is actually surprising we don't hear more stories about teachers and how terrible they are considering the pay. Teachers don't get holiday bonuses, they don't get performance based bonuses (like private sector), they don't get overtime period. Their pay is set, so many use coaching to supplement, so maybe, just maybe, many of these 100,000 teachers continue to give outside the classroom, using an athletic field as another avenue to teach.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:35 a.m.

Many of these teachers have advanced degrees and specialized credentials: special ed, etc. And dealing with our bratty kids all day: PRICELESS!

Inside MI GOP

Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:27 a.m.

Those who can't do - teach. Here are links to studies showing that teachers are among the lowest performers on academic standards tests, ergo the need to use a union to institutionally discriminate against higher performers who might enter the field. Oh, I forgot - they went into teaching because they love it. ETS concluded that elementary education candidates, the largest single group of prospective teachers, have much lower math and verbal scores than other college graduates. Disclosure: my kid goes to public school, but is at the top of his class, not because of the school, but because of what is done with him outside of school. By the time he is in junior high, his SAT scores will be higher than that of most teachers.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:19 a.m.

I don't know the specifics, of course, but if it's true that most of these $100,000+ employees are doing additional work (significant additional work if they are coaching practices before and after school/during the summer and coaching games on Friday or Saturday nights, along with a full schedule of classes, for example), they deserve extra compensation. Although it is difficult to know exactly what is justified and what is not.


Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 6:10 a.m.

Teachers are really overpaid. This is way out of hand and if we do not start to reign in these ridiculous salaries we will soon be in the same shape as California -- oops -- we are in the same shape as California. When The teacher unions start to clamor for more money for the children -- that is a code word that really means more money for teachers -- not supplies -- not better books --not better technology -- just a higher salary for an already overpaid work force.