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Posted on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 5:48 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board adopts budget that cuts 90 teaching positions

By David Jesse

The Ann Arbor school board formally adopted next year's budget early today without much comment, following months of conversations about cuts needed to close a $20 million budget gap.

The cuts included eliminating nearly 90 teaching positions and several dozen other support staff and administrative positions. But whether all 90 teaching positions remain axed when school restarts in the fall is still up in the air.

Despite the $183 million budget being passed, a number of issues are yet to be resolved that will greatly impact it.

Chief among them is how much the state will give school districts in per-pupil foundation grants that make up the bulk of a district’s revenue.

In addition, the budget remains dependent on how negotiations with the teachers union concerning concessions are resolved. The board earlier voted to issue layoff notices to 191 teachers.

The district likely won't know how much it’s getting from the state until July at the earliest - or well into the school year.

Thumbnail image for Todd-roberts-layoffs.JPG

Superintendent Todd Roberts said he hopes the negotiations with the teachers union wrap up this month. - File photo

Superintendent Todd Roberts said he’s hopeful talks with the teachers union will lead to an agreement in the next couple of weeks. No details of the talks have been released by the district or the union.

“We’re very actively engaged in talks,” Roberts said.

The district is still compiling a list of teachers, administrators and staff members who are taking advantage of a state incentive to retire this school year. Filling those vacated positions will help determine how many of the 191 laid-off teachers will be called back before the start of classes.

Another factor influencing the budget is the lower than anticipated interest in Ann Arbor's schools of choice program. The school board agreed to participate in schools of choice for the first time in the fall - opening Ann Arbor up to students from other districts - in the hopes of bringing in 170 students. But only 95 applied during the application window.

Administrators have contacted the state to see whether they can open up another window for registrations in the late summer. But if no more students are added, that would cost the 2010-11 budget between $400,000 and $500,000, said Robert Allen, the district’s chief financial officer.

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



Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 8:26 p.m.

Cross posting is to be avoided, but as Edward introduced the Newsweek scam test results to this thread, it need to be stated: the Newsweek rankings are indeed a scam. They are contrived and essentially useless. Here is what is posted on the other thread: Update...this just in...(where is Edward the news guy?)... These rankings do not measure student performance in any way shape or form. What a great metric. Everyone who enters, wins. Here is a quote from the FAQ with the Newsweek article: "1. How does the Challenge Index work? We take the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge (AICE) tests given at a school each year and divide by the number of seniors graduating in May or June. All public schools NEWSWEEK researcher Amy Novak and I could find that achieved a ratio of at least 1.000, meaning they had as many tests in 2009 as they had graduates, were put on the list on the NEWSWEEK Web site. Each list is based on the previous year's data, so the 2010 list has each school's numbers for 2009" Did you get that? The # of tests given divided by the # of graduates. This is a statistic of limited value, to say the least. Yet that is how they ranked the 'winners'. But wait, it gets better: "3. Why do you count only the number of tests given, and not how well the students do on the tests? [...] "I decided not to count passing rates in the way schools had done in the past because I found that most American high schools kept those rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses. In other instances, they opened the courses to all but encouraged only the best students to take the tests. [...] And folks, this next is a stunning revelation. They actually excluded the best schools from the survey. Read that again: They excluded the top performers. Unbelievable. Here is the quote: "6. Why don't I see on the NEWSWEEK list famous public high schools like Stuyvesant in New York City or Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax County, Va., or the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill., or Whitney High in Cerritos, Calif.? We do not include any magnet or charter high school that draws such a high concentration of top students that its average SAT or ACT score significantly exceeds the highest average for any normal-enrollment school in the country. This year that meant such schools had to have an average SAT score below 1,975 or an average ACT score below 29 to be included on the list." Grade inflation-without the hassle of grades. So, there you have it. To coin a phrase, "That's value." But, what is the value of a rating like that? It's impressive. To those ignorant of the details.


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 8:17 p.m.

Edward, the money AAPS sets aside for your: "SSI Medicare Unemployment Insurance MSPERS contribution" is put there by and for you, and you alone. For you. Part of your compensation.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 5:43 a.m.

And you, alphaalpha, make the mistake (or is it an effort to decveive) of confusing "cost" with "compensation". Don't worry. You're not alone. DonBee has been dissembling in the same manner for months. Included in employer "costs" that in no way is a fair inclusion into "compensation" is: SSI Medicare Unemployment Insurance MSPERS contribution So, yes, the "cost" of a teacher might be over $100K, but to simply cite that as "compensation" is grossly misleading. It is dissembling to the highest degree. But I suspect that you and DonBee understand that. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jun 16, 2010 : 5:14 a.m.

Edward - You seem to be making the too-common mistake of confusing salary with total compensation. Salary is only a part, typically about 2/3, of total compensation. However, you likely already knew that. As Mr. Jesse stated above: "For those looking at the cost of average teacher compensation, I've heard Robert Allen, the district's CFO, say several times that they plan for the cost of a teacher being about $100,000. some are over that, others are below that, but that's the ballpark figure the district uses in their conversations." Pure fact.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

The contract between the AAPS and the AAEA can be found at: The top of the pay scale is someone with a Ph.D. and more than 14 years' experience. That person's salary is $87,774. I doubt that very many teachers in AAPS have Ph.D.s. But, using that as the TOP, salary possible, we can now see alphaalpha's numbers for what they are--pure fiction. And I note that, confronted with the true value of those teachers (their schools are in the nation's top 5%), he suddenly does not want to talk about value. Good Night and Good Luck Good No


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 9:41 p.m.

Mr. Norton - Excellent job at the BLS site. Earlier postings here regarding national average compensation used numbers from the ~September 2009 BLS Employer Costs For Employee Compensation. Let's take another look - it gets better. Using the Latest available said report (March 2010) we have: "Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $29.71 per hour worked in March 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $20.67 per hour worked and accounted for 69.6 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $9.04 and accounted for the remaining 30.4 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $27.73 per hour worked in March 2010. Total employer compensation costs for State and local government workers averaged $39.81 per hour worked in March 2010." Yikes. $39.81 per hour for government masters, er, servants, and $27.73 for lowly civilians. 39.81 / 27.73 = 1.435, so, the average government worker earns 43.5% more than the average private worker. 39.81 x 2000 = $79,620 per year. 27.73 x 2000 = $55,460 per year. AAPS teachers = $101,227.92. Amazing. AAPS teachers earn 182.5% of the average civilian wage. $101,227.92 is a trend ready for reversal if there ever was one.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 9:17 p.m.

Pioneer High School, Huron High School, and Saline High School have just been named among the top 5% secondary schools in the nation. That, alphaalpha, is value. If anything, it shows our teachers are being paid too LITTLE. Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 9:04 p.m.

Hello Mr. Norton - "to compare teacher compensation to the "average" (however calculated) is making a value judgment about what teachers should earn. It opens the question of why teachers ought to be paid less than other professions with comparable educational requirements and responsibilities. Are our children worth less than, say, our contracts?" Your contracts are too expensive. Way above average. What is wrong with making a value judgment? We all make them every day. It's OK to make value judgments. You make one when you support high teacher pay, right? The question of teacher pay needs to be opened, examined, and answered. Teacher Educational requirements and responsibilities? Average. Really. Quite average. Important, yes, but not extraordinary. "I cited the median household income to illustrate that teacher compensation is not hugely out of line." You just can't do that. You can't compare median family income to average compensation. Not without compensating for the fact that there is more than one wage earner in the average household. Your calculation blew your case. "You say "many teachers, locally and nationwide, are quite OK with compensation levels closer to the average wage." They may indeed be closer to the average wage, but are they really "quite OK" with it? Do the districts with low pay scales (for whatever reason) get the same quality of applicants? Can they retain the good ones? Do pay scales really have no effect on the long-term quality and stability of a school system?" Yes - the same quality and even better. We've heard the same tired arguments about 'applicant quality'; they are not valid. Look around, friend. In A2 alone, there are many really good-great-teachers working outside your AAPS, at wages far lower than AAPS spends. At quality, stable schools. Again, respectfully, I think you already know this. But it's an inconvenient truth. One AAPS would likely prefer be ignored. "I think that the burden is on you and others who share your opinion to show why teachers should not be paid any more than the national average wage. And this brings us back to the value we place on our schools" Guess what? The value we place on education is separate and distinct from the wage scale for teachers. We can value education, and we can value educational value. In coming days and years, we can expect a greater emphasis on value in education, because most taxpayers are not quite as wealthy as they used to be. This is obvious to most in the private sector; public employees, by and large, don't yet have a clue. The taxpayers are increasingly restless about a perceived lack of value. Tax revenues are falling; we can only cut so many teachers before they become overwhelmed. Given the choice, wouldn't you rather have more teachers 'caring' for your children than fewer? The only way that will happen is with lower wages. The tax well has run dry. With budget cuts at hand, the burden of proof is rapidly becoming yours. In summary, yes, we have a lot of good people being paid upper class wages for middle class jobs. When taxpayers were flush with cash during the long bull market, many social excesses were ignored. With the dawn of a new fiscal paradigm, excesses will likely be purged, reversion to the fiscal mean can be expected.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 6:17 p.m.

DonBee: If you want salary numbers, go to the contract. The contract makes clear what AAPS teachers earn as salary--what is reported on their W2 forms--what is reasonably understood as their income So if you want salary--cite those numbers. That would be a fair measure of what teachers earn. But your insistence in determining average teacher "compensation" (and thereby implying "income") by dividing total teacher costs by the number of teachers, thereby including employment costs (FICA, etc..)as a part of that "compensation," fundamentally and grossly misrepresents what teachers earn as pay. And I suspect you fully understand that it is a gross misrepresentation. And you've been told this before on this subject and on other discussions--somewhat like when you claimed AAPS teachers could cash in their sick time when they retired or terminated their employment. Numerous people told you that you were wrong, yet you adamantly refused to accept their statements of fact. You told them to read the contract for themselves, and they did, and you still disagreed with them. It was only when an AAPS official joined the discussion and said that you were wrong that you admitted you were wrong. So there is a pattern here. Your continuing insistence of adding in costs that no teacher ever realizes as income as a part of compensation is, as I said above, either done out of lack of knowledge or out of desire to misrepresent the facts. Only you know which it is. Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

As to cost of employees Not Apples and Oranges at all... In the private industry cost is far more than just salary and benefits. Those are some of the direct costs - but not all. Then there are indirect costs like floor space for offices (or classrooms) cleaning, telephone lines, HR support, training, supervision, and more. If I can't afford both the direct and indirect costs, I don't hire. Cost of an employee is all of this. What AAPS put up was Salary and Benefits as 1 line. So the starting number was compensation, not cost. In the world of compensation there are direct and indirect compensation pieces. Direct is salary and bonuses. Indirect is mostly benefits. The starting number used was both direct and indirect compensation (not costs). What I tried to do was to find the direct (salary portion) from another report, since AAPS did not publish salary as a separate number. If I were to look at the cost of a teacher, I could argue that each one is a percentage of the total cost of the building they are in (e.g. take the total cost of the building and divide by the number of teachers). This would be what I would do if I were looking at a sales office for a private company. Everything and everyone else is an indirect cost of having those employees. That is not where I started, nor is it what I was trying to do. So no, what I started from are not costs, but what is classified by AAPS and the State of Michigan as compensation. What I tried to do was untangle direct from indirect with the 70.4 percent should be considered salary. If you have better numbers, please post them.


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

If you have a better number for average salary, please post it. I did the best I could with the numbers available and too considerable time to try to find a fair way to separate salary from benefits.


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

@ST Lincoln contract--

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

All right, one last post: DonBee, I still think that my calculation directly off the step table is a more direct way of calculating average compensation. Employer cost and employee compensation are not the same thing. I don't work for Ford or GM, but I suspect they are lumping it all together for PR purposes more than anything. I do not think that the common definition of compensation includes employer contributions to FICA, unemployment insurance, etc. While a pension system does have value to current employees, its value as "compensation" really ought to be the net present value of whatever benefits the employee will get when they retire. The current level of employer (district) contributions to MPSERS is unrelated to the eventual level of benefits. Counting that as if current employees could turn it into cash makes no sense to me, since they cannot. The district contributions today guarantee nothing about benefits in the future, since the legislature can change that at will. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I get: National Compensation Survey Series Id: NWU260022010200000000002505000 State: Michigan Area: Detroit-Warren-Flint, MI CSA Ownership: Civilian workers Industry: All workers Estimate: Wages and salaries Datatype: Hourly mean earnings Occupation: All workers Subcell: Full time Work Level: All workers The value of "hourly mean earnings" for May 2009 (the latest) is $25.13. How to make that annual? Well, lets use 40 hours per week times 50 weeks - you get $50,260, which is even less than AlphaAlpha reports. But it's clear this is just "wages" and not total compensation. On the other hand, another data table gives this: Employer Costs for Employee Compensation Series Id: CMU1010000000000D (C) Compensation Component: Total compensation Employer/Employee Charac.: All occupations Sector: All Civilian The latest value, Q1 2010, gives $29.71 per hour worked. Using the same assumptions as above, that gives $59,420. But that's "employer costs" which is more relevant to the employer than the employee. In the final analysis, how useful is a national average that includes everyone from fast food workers to hedge fund managers? What does it mean? How can we use it as a benchmark?

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

Leann, I'm sorry you have had trouble at Skyline; others I know with kids there seem to be quite pleased with how things work there. It's worth bringing your concerns directly to the attention of the principal and talking about what might be done better. That said, AAPS has been quietly cutting administrative positions for many years now. A lot of central admin jobs have simply disappeared over the last few years - everything from a deputy superintendent for instruction to curriculum coordinators. Counselors and others have been trimmed before and are trimmed further in the current budget (but they aren't really considered administration). These cuts to administration have also made it harder to get the district to respond to problems and to engage better with the community - there simply are not enough people. So these cuts have come at a cost. If you take a close look at the district's structure now, it's hard to see too much more fat in the central admin slice of the pie.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 9:37 a.m.

AlphaAlpha, I think Ghost is correct: to compare teacher compensation to the "average" (however calculated) is making a value judgment about what teachers should earn. It opens the question of why teachers ought to be paid less than other professions with comparable educational requirements and responsibilities. Are our children worth less than, say, our contracts? I cited the median household income to illustrate that teacher compensation is not hugely out of line. You say "many teachers, locally and nationwide, are quite OK with compensation levels closer to the average wage." They may indeed be closer to the average wage, but are they really "quite OK" with it? Do the districts with low pay scales (for whatever reason) get the same quality of applicants? Can they retain the good ones? Do pay scales really have no effect on the long-term quality and stability of a school system? I think that the burden is on you and others who share your opinion to show why teachers should not be paid any more than the national average wage. And this brings us back to the value we place on our schools


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

Interesting article in the FREEP. I have to wonder if the Pittsfield scores are a typo and if not, why that has not been a story.


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

"My biggest disappointment is that it looks like teachers took the brunt of it. Too bad we didn't eliminate 90 administrative (including about 8-9 principals) position. Until that happens, it is really just business as usual." I agree with a few other posters like above. I would rather save teachers position that will have a direct impact on my child; than have administrative, administrative support, and all the counseling positions that have not been responsive or supportive at Skyine from my recent experience. Educational studies have shown majority of administrative positions do not have an impact on student achievement. Why cut teaching positions, instead of administration? I forgot, politics........

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

There you go again, DonBee, mixing apple and oranges. Whether it is out of ignorance or an effort at dissembling only you can know. However you justify it, dividing building teacher costs by the number of teachers and calling it compensation, as you continue to insist on doing, presents a fundamentally false picture. It is a "cost", not compensation. And I am certain that a businessman such as yourself understands the difference. So is your "data" based on a lack of knowledge or is an effort to dissemble? Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

Mr. Norton - Source of Numbers The $101,227.92 number comes from the building by building tables in the Easy To Use budget. Since AAPS did not break out salary separately, the only way to get an average for classroom teachers is to use the number of teachers in each building and divide that into salary and benefits provided. If you then take the state filing on total instruction salaries (I am not sure of the categories of employees that fit here) and the total benefits, you can get the 70.4 percent salary ratio. That is where the numbers come from. The building by building tables were put in a spreadsheet and posted in a prior thread, with summary numbers. Household income AlphaAlpha is right, the average number of wage earners is more than 1 and the average household income includes all wage earners in the household. According to the census bureau the average in Washtenaw County is closer to 2 than to 1, so 1.5 is a reasonable starting point in my mind. What Counts in Compensation If you got the Ford or GM salaried employee compensation form this year, Social Security - both employer and employee contributions, employer medical, dental, etc were all included in that compensation form. So, yes many private employers count all of the benefits in compensation and now tell employees what they get.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

"Once again, it would be best to focus on teacher wages only in this discussion. The pay of 'Wall Street bankers' is not relevant to teacher compensation. It is a good diversionary tactic; but it's getting old." So don't talk about what others earn except when alphaalpha wants to do so. Because it is he who keeps comparing teacher pay to other "civilian" (an interesting term) pay--what others earn. Because it is he who says teachers are making upper class "wages" (I don't know anyone on a wage scale in the upper class) for middle class jobs--a statement that invites comparison with what others earn. And in the latter comparison alphaalpha implies that there are certain classes of people who simply don't deserve to make any more money, in alphaalpha's judgment, because of their lot in life. Teachers should therefore know going into their profession that the best they will ever do in terms of income is that of a manager of a MacDonald's. Yeah, that will draw young talent into the profession. And so his statements absolutely invite comparison to other professions based on one's judgment of that profession's value. So, indeed, what is the value of a Wall Street hedge fund manager vs. that of a teacher? Why, as a society, are we willing to pay tens of millions to CEOs, to hedge fund managers, to bankers, and to sports superstars but, by comparison, pay such niggardly salaries to the professionals we hold responsible for our children's education and, thereby, our nation's future? Only teacher-bashers seem to believe that our education system will get better if we pay those responsible for that system less than they are paid now. It is illogical and makes clear that John Kenneth Galbraith was absolutely correct--sheer selfishness and little else is at operation here. Good Night and Good Luck Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 5:44 a.m.

Mr. Norton - You cite "median family income" in AA. Why? It blows your case. Median family income includes all family wage earners. How many wage earners are in the average family? About 1.5? Thus, median individual income is closer to the $57K average total compensation BLS number, not the $84K number you cite, and certainly not the $101K for teachers. Fascinating. Thank you for the independent validation. Once again, it would be best to focus on teacher wages only in this discussion. The pay of 'Wall Street bankers' is not relevant to teacher compensation. It is a good diversionary tactic; but it's getting old. Comparing teachers to teachers: many teachers, locally and nationwide, are quite OK with compensation levels closer to the average wage. One question that bears a simple direct answer: What is the vesting period?

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 1:10 a.m.

@owlnight, Yes, your 401k contributions are income you've set aside for retirement. But it also belongs to you alone. Any matching contributions your employer made to your 401k are likewise saved for you (and are portable from job to job). But as I've just argued in another post, whatever districts are required to contribute to MPSERS is not in any way being saved for current workers. It's being used to keep the system afloat today. Pension benefits, if any, for current employees are not guaranteed just because the district made contributions this year. I agree, this promise of a pension has value to teachers. How much value depends on how much faith you can put in the promise. These days, if I were a teacher I would not be banking on MPSERS to be around when I retired. Not so many years ago, the district's required contributions to MPSERS were much smaller. Why? Because retiree health care was less expensive, and the plan's assets were in better shape. Now, contributions are very high in order to keep up with the escalating cost of health care and to shore up the assets which were hammered by the market crash. But this doesn't mean that today's teachers are getting a better pension deal than their predecessors. Quite the opposite, as vesting rules and other restrictions tighten and benefits are reduced. I'm just saying that it's not fair to count MPSERS costs to the district the same as 401k contributions you make. Teachers have absolutely no claim of ownership on the money AAPS pays into the pension system, and will lose everything if they stop teaching in Michigan before vesting.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 : 12:57 a.m.

AlphaAlpha and others, Do you count the FICA payments your employer makes on your behalf as part of your compensation? My argument is that MPSERS should be treated the same way. The district makes a lump sum contribution for all employees as a percent of payroll. The district's contributions are in no way tied to or being saved for current employees. (Teachers hired in the last 10-15 years are required to make their own contributions, which they can get back out if they leave before vesting.) Like social security, current contributions go toward shoring up the assets of the system. Half of the contributions to MPSERS are for retiree health care, and go immediately out the back door to pay for current retiree benefits. The latest legislation tightening eligibility and vesting rules (and requiring the 3% added contribution, on top of current requirements) contained a statement of legislative intent that health benefits were not considered a guaranteed part of the pension plan. So, as with social security, current teachers will get whatever pension benefits are offered at the time they retire, if any. What they receive then has no connection with the contributions school districts are required by law to make to the pension system. AlphaAlpha, you repeat the statement that we are paying teachers "upper class wages for middle class work." You might want to examine your notion of "upper class" wages by looking at the business pages. Start with the hedge fund managers and work your way down. The median family income in the Ann Arbor area is $84,200, according to HUD. Teachers are not the main source of inequality in our society. But they do work that I believe is critical to the future of our children and our community. But then again, you believe "Government workers, as a group, are the new upper class." Please go back and refer to those salaries that are still being paid at financial and other institutions that were saved from bankruptcy by the American people. Finally, yes, I am very familiar with the Bureau of Labor Statistics data and have used it extensively. They have several different measures of average wages and compensation, and generally report these numbers on a dollars per hour basis. I was asking how you formulated your "average annual compensation" numbers, or which data table at BLS you used as a source.


Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 9:51 p.m.

"These [MSPERS] costs to the school district of employing the teacher, but they are in no way a fair measure of teacher compensation." Fail. Back to school for you...Good Luck With That.


Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 9:15 p.m.

I think that a school district's contributions to MPSERS should definitely be included as part of a measure of a teacher's compensation! It's their pensions, the school district's pay for it- what more correlation is necessary? From the MSPERS website: As a member of Michigan's Public School Employees Retirement System, you are eligible for one of the best public pensions around.... Throughout your working career, your employer takes care of your pension plan deductions, wage and service records, and plan contributions. Regular reports are sent to ORS to become part of your personal pension record. When it's time to retire, your employer hands off all your final records to ORS, and we become your partner in retirement.


Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 9 p.m.

Mr. Norton - We all recognize the importance of having good teachers for our future adults. The question at hand is: at what pay scale? There are many excellent teachers, locally and nationally, working for dramatically lower wages than AAPS wages. Although many AAPS teachers claim otherwise, many teachers are willing to accept lower wages, especially when given the same choice many other workers have been given, namely, lower wages or unemployment. It's likely nearly all teachers would enjoy the lower wage option. AAPS has good people earning upper class wages for middle class jobs. That may have been fine during the long bull market. Those days are now history. It is not relevant to introduce the wages of other professions to this debate. Let us focus on the wages of teachers. If you wish to practice law or medicine, go for it. Obfuscation again? Maybe just habit. No biggie. Your questions regarding total compensation seem to have been answered. Your offer of calculating compensation will, respectfully, be declined. As a teacher would say, "There is only one right answer". You do get a B for effort though. Compensation obfuscation? Quite plausible. Total compensation is total compensation. It is what it is. Whether your net pay, the cost of your benefits, the monies set aside for retirement, all of these are payments to you, and payments made in your behalf. It would be nice if these accounting concepts were taught in schools, wouldn't it...oh, wait. As for the BLS data. A bigger concern. Respectfully, you should know this stuff. It's not made up, and in fact, the calculations and links have been previously provided onsight. BLS is one of the few good unbiased sources of such data. So, it's not about your degrees, your ability to 'care' for students, your experience, your affiliations, your seniority, what other professions earn, minimum wage (?), your preferred 'straightforward' method of compensation calculation, etc. It's really just this: What is a competitive wage for the job? And the issue for many folks working at AAPS is that an increasing number of increasingly aware taxpayers are realizing that their hired hands are earning way more than they are, and way way more than most teachers do...and it's not just teachers. Government workers, as a group, are the new upper class. But, that's another story...this is about AAPS.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 3:53 p.m.

David, That figure, almost certainly, counts contribution to MSPERS, and employer contributions to SSI, to Medicare, and to unemployment insurance. These are the costs to the school district of employing the teacher, but they are in no way a fair measure of teacher compensation. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 1:47 p.m.

Does anybody know the bargaining unit contracts link for Lincoln Consolidated Schools in Ypsilanti?

David Jesse

Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 1:16 p.m.

For those looking at the cost of average teacher compensation, I've heard Robert Allen, the district's CFO, say several times that they plan for the cost of a teacher being about $100,000. some are over that, others are below that, but that's the ballpark figure the district uses in their conversations.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

Thanks for the numbers, DonBee. Let me offer a more straightforward way of calculating teacher compensation in AAPS: According to the step table in the current contract, and the information AAPS provides in the user-friendly budget about the number of staff at each step, I calculated average actual salary for 09-10 as $73,120. This number is on the higher side because nearly 70% of the teaching staff had 10 or more years of service with the district, putting them at the top of the scale (and fully 42% are at the very top, where they receive no further step increases). According to the 2009-11 contract, the district's portion of fringe benefits is $12,582 for full-time staff. This makes the total $85,702. I'm not sure where the $100K+ figure comes from. Unless, of course, you count the district's contributions to the pension plan (MPSERS), which I think is not appropriate. The district's contributions are not held in individual accounts, and they do not guarantee a certain level of benefits upon retirement. Moreover, staff who leave the public schools before meeting vesting requirements can only get their own personal contributions out, not any made by the district. In this case, the district's contributions to MPSERS are much more like an employer's contribution to Social Security than a 401k contribution - legally required but not considered part of an employee's compensation.


Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

Lawyers - The average lawyer salary in the US was pegged at $90,300 by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (2007 data). This is salary 78% have medical coverage, 49 percent dental, 31 percent vision coverage and 3 weeks vacation. Doctors - Family Doctor 136,751 average salary ( US Dept. of Labor). Again it is salary, not total compensation. 81 percent medical coverage, 58 percent dental, 41 percent vision coverage and 3.5 weeks vacation. Teachers in AAPS - If I look at last state filing for AAPS - Instruction salaries are listed as 75,026,778.51 and instruction benefits as 31,454,593.63 - so that says that the salary portion is approximately 70.4 percent in AAPS. So if Total compensation is 101,227.92 on average - the average salary is 71,264.45 As to drop out rates from a profession, engineers have similar drop out rates from teachers, only about 80 percent of the law school graduates pass the bar exam and roughly 9 percent of medical school students don't finish medical school and another 10 percent quit in the first 5 years. So your teacher numbers are not too out of line with other professions, even ones that make more money.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Mon, Jun 14, 2010 : 12:02 a.m.

AlphaAlpha, Are people shocked at what doctors or lawyers earn? Let alone hedge fund managers or bank CEOs. People who value what teachers do will not be shocked that our community has chosen to compensate them reasonably well. So what is your point? Yes, AAPS teachers earn more than the national average. They may even earn more than the average for all teachers. Why is that? Because historically, residents of AAPS put a priority on funding their schools, and the most important component of that is attracting and retaining the best teachers. It was also easier for AAPS, because we had a larger tax base. Of course, now the basic funding equation is out of our hands. I don't argue that AAPS teachers deserve to be paid more than other equally good teachers. I argue that *all* teachers ought to be paid well because of the critical importance of the work they do. Teaching may be a calling, but it also has to be a plausible career (and one where you don't have to assume you'll have a spouse who earns more). Finally, would you please share precisely which BLS data series you used to calculate the average annual compensation, and where in the AAEA contract you gathered the information to calculate AAPS average compensation? I haven't found any one place where these numbers are presented as you report them.


Sun, Jun 13, 2010 : 11:18 a.m.

The basic facts? Supported by purchased study results? No. Many such studies have been purchased; they cost little and make good press. One with an avatar such as yours ought be more selective and critical of your sources. Here are the basic BLS and contractual facts: All civilian workers average: $57,179.20 total compensation. All AAPS teachers average: $101,227.92 total compensation. AAPS teacher average is 77% more than the civilian average. Many good, longtime teachers, both locally and nationally, work for much less than AAPS teachers.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jun 13, 2010 : 6:40 a.m.

Federalist #10 describes the workings of an expansive republican democracy and is an answer to those who think every decision of government need be approved by the public. No one said anything about unions. My reply was to those who somehow think every decision made by the AAPS administration need public scrutiny before implemented. Such a system would make government (in this case, the AAPS) unsustainable, and Madison (author of #10) knew this. The purpose of a republican democracy is to elect representatives to do the business of gov't. If the electorate does not like the result, vote the bums out. What difference can union support make if the rest of the electorate is as unhappy as are the teacher-bashers? And, BTW, Madison was a supporter of a national gov't with expansive power (i.e., Hamilton's government) until he came to the realization that that very same government could threaten the institution of slavery. He the did and abrupt reversal of course. AlphaAlpha: There are dozens and dozens such articles out there if you try a google search. None, that I could find, disputed the basic fact. Believe it. Don't believe it. Doesn't matter. Stick your head in the sand if it make you feel better. Does not change basic facts. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jun 13, 2010 : 1:48 a.m.

Ghost, Federalist 10, written by Madison refers primarily to states controlling certain functions of commerce, primarily relating to customs and import duty that was controlled by coastal states like New York, South Carolina, Virginia, and the like. This made them cash rich at the expense of other states (thus the small faction, corrupt local government statemsents scattered throughout the essay). This distorted distribution of wealth made it impossible for each state to pay their fair share of the war debt off. Madison's contention was that these issues would be better handled by the "Union" which would be the "Federal" government. Of course all the Federal Papers written by Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay, were geared to getting New York to ratify the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton later created a byzantine system of interrelated economic principles which included the establishment of a Customs Dept, Federal Bank, Coast Guard, and a host of other intracacies that make up the basis of our current economy, all geared to eliminate "local" control and distribute, through the Federal government, the taxes received to all the states on a more equal basis. In my opinion, this paper has absolutely nothing to do with union bargaining. In fact, I would venture to say that Madison would be appalled at the behaviour and self interest of unions and their influence on the "corrupt" politicians they are in bed with. To even indicate that the general public is in fact represented by these elected officials in secret contract negotiations is a tragic joke since unions provide much of the campaign funding to get them elected.


Sun, Jun 13, 2010 : 12:11 a.m.

"What kind of a price tag should we put on that?" How about the national average wage? You supply interesting conversation starters, however, unfortunately for AAPS teachers, there are many great teachers, locally and nationwide, earning far less than AAPS teachers earn. So, irrespective of degrees, minimum wage (?), etc., the fact remains, a 77% difference in compensation is huge. Too huge to ignore.


Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 11:57 p.m.

Specious, Edward. Fact? No one disputes this? Uh, no. Many do. No Luck with reputable links to support your claims. Your questionable Washington Post article is, nonetheless, amusing. Here is a summary of the 'indisputable' link: "Newsflash: A 'study', bought by and for a teacher group, 'shows' teachers are underpaid." Stunning. Not. Also interesting is that the article declined to cite any teacher compensation numbers. Why not? Likely because if the average taxpayer learns their hired hands are earning 77% more than they are, support for greater teacher compensation would evaporate. Obfuscation of reality is a key enabler of unfair wage practices.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 11:53 p.m.

AlphaAlpha wrote: "Teachers are overpaid compared to the average worker. We have good people being paid upper class wages for middle class work."(emphasis added) I think that's the nub of it. What you think about teacher pay depends on what you think about teaching. Some feel teachers don't deserve to get more than the "average" wage. Others acknowledge that some teachers deserve more, but insist that there are so many poor teachers being "protected" by the union that no one should be protected from cuts until they are satisfied that teachers can be canned as easily as anyone else. Well, the "average wage" covers a lot of ground, from those earning minimum wage on up. And is the minimum wage truly a living wage? Maybe the better comparison is to other professions that require at least a college degree and eventually more. (Stats for local areas are hard to find for this.) But even more important, these are the folks who are teaching and caring for my kids, and yours, most of each day for thirteen years starting at age five. They are building the foundation for the future of our community and our local economy. What kind of a price tag should we put on that?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 9:55 p.m. Fact. No one, not even Faux Noise, disputes this. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

Speculation. Any links? Good Luck With That.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 9:05 p.m.

Thirty percent of new teachers leave the profession voluntarily after three years; fifty percent leave after five years. They're not leaving because they're overpaid to do an easy job. Cut teacher pay and more young teachers will leave and fewer college students will see teaching as a viable career. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 7:01 p.m.

Statistics suggest otherwise.


Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 6:50 p.m.

Reality check: Teachers are overpaid compared to the average worker. We have good people being paid upper class wages for middle class work. It would require a 57% compensation reduction to get them to the BLS average wage. As stated earlier onsite, BLS and AAPS data show: All civilian workers average: $57,179.20 total compensation. All AAPS teachers average: $101,227.92 total compensation. AAPS teachers are compensated 77% more than civilians.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 12:38 p.m.

sh1: If the proposed constitutional amendment is adopted, pay cuts will be capped at 5%. Schools that have cut pay since January 1 (the baseline for the amendment) will have their pay cut to a maximum of 5% including the earlier pay cut. And it is not at all clear that the amendment will be approved. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

@aataxpayer and others who want teachers to take a pay cut: Could you please lay out for us how you see this going into the next several years? You would like teachers to take greater than 4% this year (while the state will likely be taking an extra 5%). What about the following year, when Michigan again won't be able to fully fund education? And the following year? Curious how your plan works.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Sat, Jun 12, 2010 : 1:42 a.m.

aataxpayer, You do seem to place a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the AAEA. I think it's too much. As I've argued before, the district was interested at looking at privatization of busing and custodial for their own reasons. (Just as the previous privatization of food service was not at the behest of the AAEA.) Officials pointed to the experience of other districts in this region which saved a lot of money and, supposedly, received similar or improved service. I did not, and do not, like this approach very much. But AAPS made a choice to commit what money they have to continuing to attract and retain the best teaching staff possible. I understand that choice. Please note that this has less to do with what the AAEA wants than with what AAPS officials decided was their top priority. Lastly, keeping negotiations confidential is not solely, or maybe even mostly, in the interest of the AAEA. AAPS is still negotiating with several employee groups besides AAEA. Under those circumstances, I'd think that the district would prefer to keep all their negotiations out of the press. The exchange of ideas you refer to really needs to take place between the school board and their constituents. Then it's the board's job to conduct negotiations in a way consonant with the best interests of the community. As I said, the outcome of these negotiations will not change your taxes one bit. But it can make the difference between a district prepared to bounce back and one in decline. Personally, I think the best solutions come when we stop pointing fingers and work toward an acceptable, long term, solution.


Fri, Jun 11, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

Edward R Murrow's ghost. Wow. Thank you for always adding reason to these discussions. You are teaching me a lot!

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, Jun 11, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

Jack, I think that last fall, the tentative agreement became public as soon as the AAEA leadership presented it to their members. That was two or three weeks before the membership voted on it. The school board did not act until after the contract was ratified. aataxpayer, We've had a republican form of government from the very beginning; outside of some New England town meetings, that's how things work. So choose your representatives with care. In any case, there will almost certainly be more time than you assume. I'd like to point out that Ann Arbor taxpayers (by which I assume you mean property owners?) do not have the most at stake in this process. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations, it will not affect your tax bill by one penny. I know that some people expect the county-wide millage to be back on the ballot, but I have seen absolutely no signs that it's even on the table (and I like to think I'd know). But everyone here does have a stake - not so much as taxpayers, but as parents, residents, consumers, etc. Strong schools make our community a more attractive place to live (and bring jobs); a declining school system encourages people to leave and not locate here. If you've got something to say, say it to the school board now, before the tentative agreement is set. After that, it's pretty much an up or down vote, and there is too much to lose if we have to simply start over.

Jack Panitch

Fri, Jun 11, 2010 : 11:11 a.m.

Just to clarify that last question, if we took the New York reform proposal and adopted it here in Ann Arbor, would we really see anything different from what we are seeing now?

Jack Panitch

Fri, Jun 11, 2010 : 8:34 a.m.

Food for thought: Note that the reform proposal preserves confidentiality while bargaining is ongoing but then lifts the veil of secrecy once a tentative agreement is reached so that the public has time to review and comment before the contract is approved by government. So would the "reform" proposal have any effect here?


Fri, Jun 11, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

I am also wondering about cuts in administrative positions. Pioneer is crawling with administrators, but try to get one to actually help you! Their favorite trick is to forward your email to 3 or 4 other people and cross you off their list. None of them seem to have any discernable job perameters and parents never know who to contact for what. You basically have to have an inside connection in order to get anything done there. Some of these people are very rude to parents. Perhaps Margolis could address this issue? Are any administrator positions going to be eliminated?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Jun 11, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

A representative democracy is EXACTLY the right answer to your question, aataxpayer. It's called a republican form of government. Please consult the Federalist Papers, esp. Federalist #10, if you need a primer. Good Night and Good Luck

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, Jun 11, 2010 : 12:06 a.m.

@aataxpayer, Well, you may not feel this is an answer, but we do live in a representative democracy. The people elect the school board, and the school board hires the superintendent. The AAPS bargaining team is answerable to the superintendent, who is in turn answerable to our representatives, the Board of Education. You will note that the BoE has taken the opportunity many times this spring to go into executive session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining strategy. I'm not totally happy with the news blackout either, because it leaves too much room for people to speculate and make accusations. But I do understand that "negotiating in the press" is not a very productive strategy if you mainly want to get something done. @DonBee, I think the district has been pretty clear about their intentions: aside from the (large) proposed savings from custodial/maintenance and transportation, the budget proposal included a 4% across-the-board compensation reduction. Failing that, more severe cutbacks were proposed. I'm sure the AAEA would like to minimize the hit to their members, especially after the added 3% in contributions teachers are now required make to their retirement plan. Now, I do understand that there are a lot of ways to do this, which may reduce the cost to the district without feeling like such a large cut to employees. I imagine that working out the details of that has taken time. Better to do something everyone can live with than rush to pen an agreement which will simply cause bigger problems down the road.

Brit Satchwell

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 10:55 p.m.

The AAPS/AAEA master agreement is also posted on the home page of the AAEA's new website: The website is a work in progress, will be the standard for Michigan's local Education Associations when it's completed, and will eventually host a section for parents and other community members. The AAEA will announce that portion of the site when it's ready, but not until next year as it will include links directly to teacher/classroom web pages when they are posted anew next fall. But for now, the contract is (and has been for quite some time) easily accessed on the AAPS site as indicated in a previous post by Liz Margolis, and more recently on AAEA's home page as well. Just click "Master Agreement". I hope this is helpful, and I hope you will visit AAEA's web site. Brit Satchwell AAEA President

Trevor Staples

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 8:33 p.m.

DonBee said, "If it is business as usual we will have to wait for the Mackinaw Center to get their hands on a copy of the contract to find out what was agreed to. The level of secrecy on a contact between a tax payer funded institution and a union is crazy. The AAEA and Administrator's Association contacts are both hard to get." I just did two Google searches. One was "AAEA Ann Arbor," the other "Ann Arbor Education Association." In both cases the AAEA website (which has the teacher contract, as well as contact information for its officers) was the top link. That is definitely a crazy level of secrecy.

Jack Panitch

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 7:41 p.m.

DonBee and aataxpayer: Based on a quick search, it appears to me as though the confidentiality requirement stems from a "Ground Rules" agreement executed by the negotiating parties at the outset. The Ground Rules agreement is not something specific to Ann Arbor but used pretty much everywhere in collective bargaining. Whether a "breach" amounts to an unfair labor practice -- a violation of the parties' duty to bargain in good faith -- depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. This all assumes that the parties put a confidentiality clause in their Ground Rules agreement, but its a pretty safe assumption they did. Using public opinion to leverage your bargaining position would be destructive to the process. No sinister MEA tactics there. Anyway, if you enter ground rules confidentiality collective bargaining into Google, you will get a lot of relevant hits. Write back and let me know your take once you get a chance to review.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 5:29 p.m.

@Ghost - I am trying to find out what constitutes details that have to be kept secret. Other districts seem to do better at providing some information on goals of the contracts. AAPS was very open on their goals for the Custodian contract and are being open on the expectations on the bus driver contract. I want to understand the rules, not the custom. Please provide the references. Thank you.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 5:03 p.m.

Thanks for the link and information Steve. I'm so tired of all the political end games. It really is eroding the country's values in my opinion. If something has merit, it should have the ability to stand on its own worth and be debated. I'll remember all of those on the sponsorship line and will check other boxes when their names are present. Truly this is a cast of clowns.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

In my understanding, they cut the number of teachers who are retiring. Why all the anger?

Liz Margolis

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 2:45 p.m.

For those interested in learning more about the variety of options AAPS offers for high school student including online, blended and CR courses please visit this link. AAPS is the leader in the state for offering choices for high school students to complete their education.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 2:26 p.m.

DonBee: Just google "confidential collective bargaining" and you will find dozens of decisions, etc.. about the confidentiality of collective bargaining information. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 2:05 p.m.

If kids don't learn as well in a factory setting, why do we have just that at Pioneer? If smaller learning communities are so much better, why do they only exist at Skyline? why is the latest research only employed at Skyline?

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

@IJDK, In fact, AAPS's student numbers have held fairly steady for the last few years, with a downward bump when Pfizer closed their R&D facility. So we are not experiencing the drain the rest of the state is feeling. At the same time, Pioneer was the largest HS in the state before Skyline opened, and Huron was not far behind. In my view, opening Skyline has been an important step towards making our high schools more manageable, and making curriculum changes which will ensure more students succeed (smaller learning communities, and so forth). Kids don't learn as well in big factory settings.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

I think schools need to get with the rest of the world and start taking some advantage of virtual learning (Michigan Virtual School and creating virtual schools in-district). Doing this could cut back on the need for so many teachers and allow for more flex and part-time teachers who don't always need benefits but would like to teach. Why we force kids to sit in a 1950's classroom for 6 hours each day is beyond are connected digitally outside of school, why not tap into that as part of their schooling? Many less wealthy districts are doing this to balance their budgets (more part time teachers, less bus driving...etc) AND according to the study by SRI (2009) virtual learning (the best is the blended approach) has been more successful in academic achievement than traditional face-to-face. My guess is that many future jobs are going to be mobile rather than in an office cubical from 9 to 5. Let's get the students ready!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

DonBee: Just found this: I don't make things up. Good Night and Good Luck

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

@A2Reality, The legislation in question is Senate Joint Resolution U, a proposed amendment to the state constitution introduced in the state Senate. You can find more details here: The resolution was passed out of committee and is on the floor of the senate; it has been referred to the "committee of the whole," where it can sit as long as the leadership wants it to, but still be brought to a vote on short notice. The resolution would require a two-thirds vote in both houses and then be approved in a state-wide referendum. What is interesting is that the resolution specifies that it would, if passed, be presented to voters in the August election, which is when primaries are held. This appears to be a clever gambit: with a 2/3 vote required in both houses, this resolution (sponsored by Republican Senators) cannot pass without Democratic support. If the Democrats do not support it, they can be accused of torpedoing the idea of public sector wage cuts in the fall campaigns. If they allow it through, it would not be voted upon in November, where its fate would be uncertain. Instead, it would go on the ballot in August, where only committed primary voters usually turn out. And which party has the hottest primary race state-wide, with the largest number of party activists likely to turn out?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.

@DonBee: I can't cite chapter and verse. I can tell you this is the case from participating in the process numerous times on both sides of the table. Believe me, don't believe me. Suit yourself. Doesn't matter. It's the law. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 12:45 p.m.

I would like to hear opinions from other regarding closing Skyline and leasing out the space. Student enrollment is down and with out migration climbing in the state, do we really need this drain on resources? I'd also like to hear more conversations about basic education vs enhanced education that includes extras such as music/art etc. To be globally competitive, shouldn't we consider the focus on math/science/LA/history and world languages to be necessary and consider user fees for the electives?


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 12:30 p.m.

Perhaps David Jesse can comment on this... My understanding is that the state has a proposal (that has not yet been approved by vote) to cut salaries for all public school employees by 5% and then to freeze wages for 3 years. I don't understand the legality of such a proposal, but that's a different topic for another day. My questions: 1) Would the 5% wage reduction mandated by the state count as the wage concession sought by the school board... or would they ask for an additional 4% on top of the 5% wage reduction? 2) When will the state legislative body be voting on the proposal? I don't understand how any union in Michigan could negotiate without contingencies with such a proposal looming. I think that the state of Michigan has done a terrible job handling its education budget and adding this proposal in to the mix. Between this proposal and the late notice of the per-student-funding that the districts will receive, I honestly don't know how any teacher's union or school board can negotiate or plan a budget.

Cliff R

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 12:10 p.m.

The state should allow the A2 district to open another window this summer for students from other districts to register for the "schools of choice" program and attend A2 schools. The initial effort was woefully underpublicized. If the district spreads the word properly, they will have more students applying than they can handle. Also, I'm tired of the teacher bashing. Money is tight and cuts have to be made, but let's not vilify the teachers.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 11:39 a.m.

Ms. Margolis - Thank you for providing this link.

Liz Margolis

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

All bargaining unit contracts for AAPS can be found at this link: Many are in negotiations but it will show you the fringe benefits including premiums and co-pays.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 10:42 a.m.

How do you find out if a district has that in their contract? I agree that teachers need to pay for premiums and copays for health insurance like we all do............


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 10:39 a.m.

Do school districts in the area have the teachers pay health insurance premiums and copays?


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.

Ghost - Please provide links to those regulations. I would like to read the regulations you sight.

Susie Q

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 10:19 a.m.

While school employees' benefits and wages are a popular target for those who like to criticize public school employees, many of the AAPS school teachers will be paying $3900 toward their health insurance premiums, some will pay more. This is in addition to co-pays and deductibles. So....I think a $2000 deductible sounds nice! I'll bet the teachers would rather have a $2000 deductible than pay $4000 towards their so-called "free" insurance.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

Lets hope Lansing gets their act together and doesn't wait until October to pass the budget.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

Smiley? The children are going to loose no matter what. They are going to loose their favorite teacher, they are going to loose their favorite bus driver and the list goes on. I agree to letting a lot of teachers go. There is too much surplus on the teaching and education side. Time to reopen their contract and cut another 10% and add a $2000 deductible to their medical. That should get their attention. Glad to hear they are cutting teachers because some make way too much.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

"The level of secrecy on a contact between a tax payer funded institution and a union is crazy." Under federal and state labor law the details of labor negotiations cannot be revealed, for good reason. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

I feel for the teachers losing their positions, but looking at the big picture this is reality. Also, I think comments like "our children will suffer" are inappropriate as an attempt to inflate the emotions involved, as opposed directly hitting on facts. Fueling emotional reactions does nothing to solve the real problems.


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 9:03 a.m.

If it is business as usual we will have to wait for the Mackinaw Center to get their hands on a copy of the contract to find out what was agreed to. The level of secrecy on a contact between a tax payer funded institution and a union is crazy. The AAEA and Administrator's Association contacts are both hard to get. The Custodian and other blue collar contracts seem to be much more available to the public and more of the process has been in the public view.

David Jesse

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 8:37 a.m.

@aataxpayer: Neither the teacher's union or the district is talking about the details of their discussions. We keep asking about them and will post what we know as soon as we know it..


Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

Sad to hear about even more cuts! The higher than expected revenue for the school aid budget will hopefully translate to A2 being able to reduce the number of layoffs. However, if the Senate gets their way with the proposed tapping into the school aid fund to "fix" the general budget, our children will suffer.