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Posted on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Ann Arbor teachers approve tentative agreement that could result in 3-percent pay cut

By Danielle Arndt

Previous story: Ann Arbor teachers union voting on tentative agreement authorizing 3-percent pay cut

The Ann Arbor Education Association ratified a tentative agreement with the school district Friday taking a 3-percent wage concession. The school board still needs to approve the agreement, before it would take effect.


Teachers interact with students in a computer lab at Scarlett Middle School in this 2012 file photo. The teachers union agreed this week to take a 3-percent pay cut for the upcoming 2013-14 academic year. file photo

According to an email obtained by, the AAEA Elections Committee reported the agreement passed with 91 percent of the union's membership participating in the voting process. The AAEA represents approximately 1,200 teachers.

How many members voted "yes" and "no" on the agreement is not known at this time. AAEA president Linda Carter said she cannot speak about the contract until the Board of Education also votes on the tentative agreement.

Union members voted at their buildings starting Wednesday after school and the election continued through Friday morning with all ballots due by noon.

According to union members, the tentative agreement includes:

  • A 3-percent salary reduction for all teachers for the 2013-14 academic year.
  • New MESSA insurance options for teachers that will coexist with the current health care offerings at no additional cost to the district. MESSA is a Michigan Education Association insurance provider.
  • A slightly revised district calendar.
  • A clause affirming the union's right to collect dues and shielding it from the Right to Work legislation that takes effect March 27.
  • The reinstatement of a curriculum council with teacher involvement.
  • The development of a science teacher and administration problem-solving group to address science class size issues and overfilled science labs.

It is the district's practice not to comment on collective bargaining until the negotiations are complete. Superintendent Patricia Green declined to comment on the tentative agreement at a school board meeting on March 20.

The Board of Education will conduct a closed executive session at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for the purpose of discussing the agreement with the teachers. A regular board meeting will follow at 7 p.m. The board could place the tentative agreement on its regular meeting agenda and conduct a vote in open session that evening if it decides the terms and conditions of the agreement are amenable and no further negotiations are required.

School officials have said they are in the process of renegotiating contracts with all of the district's employee collective bargaining units right now. Across-the-board salary reductions have been targeted as one way to help the Ann Arbor Public Schools cut $17 million to $20 million for the 2013-14 academic year budget. Green also has pledged to take a pay cut.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


A Voice of Reason

Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 3:58 a.m.

Why do the people not have the right to hear the contract discussions. When does the school board start working for the people and stop being the pocket of the teacher's union. Why is this contract being re-open vs. waiting for right to work legislation to take place.

A Voice of Reason

Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 3:56 a.m.

Why is our school board sliding this in before April 1st. We will never get rid of the bad teachers now. PUT THE KIDS FIRST FOR ONCE!!!!


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 12:27 a.m.

Across the board salary cuts? So far we have only heard of teachers taking a hit. It's about time for principals and administrators in Balas to take a hit too.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:59 a.m.

Rushing through a new Union Teacher contract at the last moment is not good managment practice. The School Board should have gained major concessions from the Union on issues such as health spending and retirement benefits. Spending in these areas are gold-plated and way above what employees with comparable skills and experience get in private business. Teachers need to be brought into line with people working in the private sector.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.


Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

"The School Board should have gained major concessions from the Union on issues such as health spending and retirement benefits." You, apparently, are unaware that retirement benefits cannot be negotiated, that they are mandated by state law? You, apparently, are unaware that, by state law, public employees are now required to contribute 20% to the health care. But this is an otherwise well-informed post! Good Job!! GN&GL


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3:21 a.m.

Where do you do your research?


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 1:50 a.m.

You clearly do not have any facts to back up what you are saying.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

What a hoot! The teachers vote to take a pay cut, saving the district money and all the corporate lackeys can do is whine about them being in a union. "More charter schools", some say. If you want Walmart schools, you'll get a Walmart education. It's no wonder that this nation ranks poorly in world wide educational rankings..


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

Reality Check: It is the nation's Public School system controlled by the Teachers' Unions that has produced such poor educational results over the past 40 years. Time to try more alternatives and greater competition.

Tom Todd

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

no freedom of information requests with charter schools

Howard Beale

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

The tentative agreement includes a slightly revised district calendar...I hope this "slightly revised" district calendar means more the kids are in school more than they are now. It seems my kids are out of school more than they're in, due to overly long summer, winter, mid-winter, and spring breaks, plus MLK day, election day, "professional development days" for the teachers, card marking days, early leave days, late start days, PSAT Testing where the kids not taking the test stay home....we never had these many days off during the school year when I was a kid and friends of ours that live in other states say their kids do not have anywhere close to as many days as we have here in Ann Arbor.....if we want to start looking to save some money this may be a place to start.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

SusieQ and A2Cat, you two are mistaken about the state requirements. There is no state requirement to schedule a day off before exams, 4 days of 2 exams / day and a make-up exam day each semester as AAPS does for it's high schools. There is no requirement for an entire week of "late winter break" or "spring break". Many school districts align their semesters and mid-semester exams to Christmas and/or their spring break to minimize the disruption to class schedules. There is absolutely no requirement from the state to have professional development, card marking or report writing days scheduled during the school year. AAPS needs to shorten the breaks and maximize hours of actual instruction, not pretend that 4 hours of potential exam time is the same as a full day of 6 or 7 classes for our high schoolers.


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

Two winter breaks is ludicrous. Totally unnecessary and very disruptive to teaching. ONE winter break and a longer summer in line with other states.

Susie Q

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

The days and hours of instruction are somewhat decided by the state of Michigan, a lot of the calendar is set by the county (so much for local control.....Lansing is micromanaging). Each district is required to provide 1098 hours of instruction during a school year. Right now there isn't a number of days requirement. Districts are also required to provide a certain number of professional development hours, some of which can be used to replace instructional hours (up to 30, I think). The state also requires the three day MME test each March. That is when most kids stay home so the staff can administer the highly regulated state test. So....when you complain about all the days off......remember most of this is because of Lansing's dictates.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Nearly all of these are mandated by the state. The mid-winter break is a choice of the school district, but one that is popular with many families. The PSAT aligns with mandated testing: ACT and MME. We get money from the Ann Arbor Education Fund to give this so that all 10th graders will have the practice and have an opportunity for scholarship money tied to this test. If they didn't take it, they would have to stay home that day due to 11th grade MME testing. Most of these are not things Ann Arbor has control over. If you'd like to start talking about changing laws, I'm all about it! Let's start school before Labor Day weekend! Let's extend further into the summer, but with breaks at the end of quarters or semesters that make educational sense. Alas, AAPS or AAEA can't negotiate these kinds of things.

Howard Beale

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

TYPO ABOVE: I meant to type: "friends of ours that live in other states say their kids do not have anywhere close to as many days OFF as we have here in Ann Arbor"


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Bring on more charter schools.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

I curious how you legally are able to "•A clause affirming the union's right to collect dues and shielding it from the Right to Work legislation that takes effect March 27" not sure you can disregard the law because of your contract wording.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

Well it was pretty ridiculous to have that technical loophole in the law. All these Unions rushing to extend their contracts early to avoid the law means that Union leaders want to deny employees the right to choose whether to fund Union political activities or not


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

I think that was actually part of the law as it was written. It only affects bargained contracts that are agreed upon by all parties after a certain date, whereas if all parties agree to it before the deadline, the RTW law doesn't apply. My question then is, what happens during the next bargained agreement?


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : noon

Would you be willing to change the title to "Ann Arbor teachers agree to 3% cut, online community decides it is still not enough."

andy kelly

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

Knowing the importance of the relationship between teachers and children, I choose for my children's teachers to be WELL PAID and happy. SpamBot1 your personal onion does not need to override all of the others belonging to the online community. In other words, do not speak for me, I will speak for myself. And, I do not agree with your short-sighted plan to cut teachers pay even more - administration, yes, principles, yes. The teachers I would pay more!!!!

Jim Mulchay

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

Correction - should read "so I'm left with the impression the teachers felt this was the only way to GET (not bet!) the district to address these two issues."

Jim Mulchay

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

To me the last two points are interesting - (5) The reinstatement of a curriculum council with teacher involvement. (6)The development of a science teacher and administration problem-solving group to address science class size issues and overfilled science labs. An outsider (me) would think these are the type of issue that would be handled in the course of normal operations - so I'm left with the impression the teachers felt this was the only way to bet the district to address these two issues. As far as the proposed cut - I'd consider it substantial to the individuals and their families; As far as "right to work" - that will be hard to judge, but I suspect new teachers (assuming there are new teachers) will be able to add the union dues "cost" to their decision of what district to work in.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

Time to outlaw public sector unions ! Good Day

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

Where, exactly, did he say they ought be outlawed? Exact turn of phrase, please. GN&GL


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public-personnel management. The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people. - FDR


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

how cute, DonBee's internet stalker came out to play, lol

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Here, let me help you: Worth noting his opposition was due to the fact that Congress had authority to set federal pay. It had nothing to do with some hint of one hand washing the other, as conservative fantasies hold. And nowhere is there an evidence, either as president or as governor of NY, that he sought to outlaw them. And there being no law prohibiting collective bargaining by federal employee unions, executive orders by JFK and by that famous lefty liberal Richard Nixon made collective bargaining possible. And it is noteworthy that those executive orders could be rescinded by . . . wait for it . . . executive orders, something Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II have not done. Gee. Wonder why? GN&GL


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

DonBee, FDR did oppose strikes by public unions but never tried to outlaw the unions themselves.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

"FDR - yes the creator of the New Deal, wanted to outlaw public sector unions. So I guess he was fascist." Can you provide a citation that shows FDR wanted to declare public sector unions illegal? Yes, he did not support them, but that's a long way from making them illegal. So please show us a source that makes clear he wanted legislation passed that made them illegal. I know you can, DonBee. GN&GL


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

sh1 - FDR - yes the creator of the New Deal, wanted to outlaw public sector unions. So I guess he was fascist, right?


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:50 a.m.

That is what they do in fascist states.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

Looks like sacrifices are disproportionally shared.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

Teachers did their part to share some of the burden of tough economic times for public schools. But wake up... the public schools are under attack from powerful forces. If you value public education, it's time to ask the state to return some funding. Educate yourselves on how funding is done, how Ann Arbor is no longer a "Hold Harmless" school district promised by our government when Proposal A was passed, and how over a billion was given from K-12 funding to higher education from the School Aid fund. If you want Michigan to be run by ineffective charter schools, or replaced by cyber education... then keep supporting the GOP's unconscionable policies.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Sorry if you can't see what the GOP is doing to public education. I feel good about my facts because they support me. I'm not ranting... I'm just extremely concerned about public education in the great state of Michigan, and with good reason.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

a2cat - A 2 percent cut is "War"? Returning it the following year is "War"? I am sorry I can't agree. Higher Ed and other parts of the state budget too far larger cuts. The first part of the budget to see an increase was K-12. But, let's not let facts get in the way of a good rant.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Don Bee- I get the pension issue. And it's my opinion that Snyder will come after them in a more aggressive manner once RTW starts to dismantle unions. However, the GOP had opportunities to fund K-12 education... to even give a slight increase in per pupil allowance, and consciously chooses to put money elsewhere. And putting it into higher education is a cut to K-12. (And K-12 can't charge tuition.) The GOP is clearly waging economic war with the schools, and it will have massive negative consequences. While not everything is perfect in the public schools, there is a lot right. But it can't be sustained without the funding.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

a2cat - In case you have not been following the news, last year's cut to K-12 has been restored in this year's budget. While the total will not rise as much as some want, the total budget for AAPS will again rise in 2013-2014. It has only fallen 1 time since 2007, that was last year. We are dealing with unsustainable legacy costs. Like it or not the state laws need to be changed. 1) The minimum retirement age has to be raised. Right now with perfect planning a school employee can retire at 47 - and most are able to at 52. 2) Even if they find another job with benefits when they retire, they get full coverage and benefits 3) The pension is defined benefit with little in the way of direct contribution from the employee - the district is responsible for almost all of the contribution right now. This has led to a $43 BILLION dollar unfunded liability for pensions that the state holds, the only solution is to keep raising the contribution from the schools under the current laws. (OBTW - $43 billion is 1 full year of state tax revenue including all the Federal transfers). Like it or not this issue has to be addressed at the state level and because it is a law, not a contract item, it is not a negotiated benefit, it is one the state set. Fixing this will go a long way in leveling the cost of schools compared to charters and private schools. Like Detroit, benefits and pensions are eating away at the basic services that the schools can offer.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

I disagree with every single thing you just said. Good Day


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

Okay I will........


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : midnight

Somebody do the math for me. 86% 0f a 200,000,000 budget is compensation costs, we need to cut 17,000,000 (8.5%); the union is offering 3% in exchange for not honoring the new law related to dues, keeping their cadillac insurance plan (very profitable for the unions), keeping the class size bonus, and I'm sure allof the details are not in this report. That doesn't count the 2.5 million that the teachers received related to class size bonuses ($300/student/semester) that the school is over budget on right now. The only big cuts I have heard about are the programs for the kids. This will be the last year we can cut much from the school system without cutting classes and putting more teachers out of work. We have an unsustainable model with legacy costs that will be imposible to honor in the future and nobody really wants to tackle it. If they do they will be targeted by the unions and personally destroyed. So we will as a community sit and wait for the implosion of the school system and then have to make extremely painful cuts in many places. I have to give the unions credit, they have done an excellent job of representing their members while the children will suffer unless their parents mortgage their futures. we're running out of stimulus dollars and gimmicks, everyone with a fifth grade education can look at the budget and pick out the biggest numbers but nobody will touch it...............


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

Mike - I have no idea where you are getting your numbers. I teach in the district and the "class size bonuses" are $68 per student over the class size limit per semester. And let me tell you, that money does not even begin to compensate us for the extra work we do when we have 40 kids in a classroom. Most of us are in this job because we love it and we love helping and teaching kids. We do not want to see our students suffer or our programs cut.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

A2Reality - you didn't spell out what inaccuracies I spelled out. The reality is that our property values HAVE declined tremendously, leaving many upside down on the homes and your solution is "Another alternative is to have the population step up and pay more." You are spoiled and out of touch with the people who pay your wages. Your comment was insensitive and demeaning, you are only considering how this all affects you and what you get out of it. Try to find a better job with the pay, benefits, retirement, and time off and I can understand why you don't leave. We're on an unsustainable course and your answer is for all of us to step up and pay more.............really?

Tom Todd

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 8:11 a.m.

Should have stayed in school man! don't be jealous.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

Perfectly said ! Good Day


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:53 a.m.

Perhaps you should be a teacher Mike. You certainly believe that you understand (although you're quoting inaccuracies) everything about what it is to be a teacher. Another alternative is to have the population step up and pay more. If you're like just about everyone else, your property value, assessed value and property taxes have greatly declined over the last several years. That's a huge part of the problem. I recommend that you either become a teacher since it is so amazingly easy and profitable in your opinion or step up and help fund great educations for our next generation.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

sh1 - you must not be paying attention; under Obamacare the reimbursement to doctors is declining..........I'm not saying you are getting rich off of class size bonuses this is just one thing many in the general public are not aware of that is packed into the contracts. Read the sick and personal day clauses, look at the pension contributions which very few of those who pay the taxes get, look at the time off in a calendar year, the holidays, the health care plan details, the education reimbursement (we have to put it on our tax returns), etc.......You are not greedy, you are spoiled. And like anyone who is spoiled, if you try to take something away from them you will get a big fight. It would have been a lot easier not to give all of these things away over the years than it is going to be taking it away when it becomes painfully obvious that must be done.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

When health care rates go up, no one tells the doctors to take a cut. Teachers are professionals, but are often not treated as such. For example, look at your comment implying those greedy teachers are getting rich off "bonuses" for having overcrowded classrooms. It's much cheaper for the district to pack a 3rd-grade class with 35 kids and give the teacher $900 in compensation rather than pay for another teacher. Do you think the teacher wants that many kids just to get a few more bucks? Everybody's hurting.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

Teachers did not take the brunt of the $17-$20M cuts. According to the 2012 AAPS budget, the district spent $188,463,522. Personnel costs represented 86.5% of this expenditure. A $17-$20M cut represents between 9% and 11% of the 2012 budget. For teachers & personnel, whose pay (again) represents 86.5% of the budget, the implication is that the rest of the budget (the other 13.5%) needs to be cut between 46% and 58% to achieve the desired savings. Personnel got off easy on this. Every other program that is a non-personnel line item on the 2013-2014 budget now faces a potential 50% cut to balance the budget. This is not how you run an organization. Rather, it's how you vote if you want to be re-elected after you've been threatened by a powerful constituency.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

GoNavy Your math is good, but you also have to consider that some cuts will come in the form of reductions of personnel. Teachers and administrators will be laid-off and those savings come from 86.5%. Will it be enough? Not enough for some. Should teachers have to take pay cuts to cover the entire deficit so that they are paying to keep every program open?


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

You are right on GoNavy................

Dog Guy

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 10 p.m.

Bah! and Baa Baa and Baaa.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

Looks like the district was able to strong arm the teachers into accepting more cuts in pay with the looming threat of shredding the entire contract (and knowing they would have the governor's blessing to do so!). I'm waiting for Dr. Green to take the $50,000 cut that the admin. union suggested. Lets see if she's willing to take one for the team. Come on, Pat. Show us what you're made of.

Susie Q

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Coupled with all the increases in health care costs, further monetary requirements by the state and inflation....most public school employees wages have gone down by well over 10%. In AAPS any employee at the top of the pay scale has not seen an increase since 2007-08 (except some of those at Balas). That is well over half the employees. Also during that time there have been many increases in insurance co-pays/deductibles, a 3% surcharge for retiree health care, a 3%-7% increase in pension contributions and several years of wage rollbacks. So, while 3% may not sound like a big reduction......on top of all the other penalties, it is easily over 10%.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

Ms. Green is not a leader.

Tom Todd

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 8:07 a.m.

Some in the private sector did! so All workers should? flawed reasoning Mike.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

Even if Dr Green takes a 50,000 hair cut that is so miniscule it's not even funny. With the financial shape of this district there needs to be an accross the board cut of 10% to make a difference and let the students keep their programs. That will never happen, but that's what needs to be done. Many in the private sector have had to do that and more, no stimulus money or bailouts for the people who pay the freight.................

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

There is no shredding or strong arming going on. AAPS and AAEA have a valid contract with conditions for early termination which were approved by both parties. And who cares what the governor thinks, he is not a party to the contract.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

Dr. Green needs to step forward at tonight's meeting with her salary reduction of a substantial amount well over the 3% taken by the teachers. Such a step might help show her as a leader. Anything less is just not good enough.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

No. It's not a union contract being done in good faith. It's a union contract demanded by the union so they can continue to collect dues. They can then re-elect their bought & owned AAPS board members. Unions are afraid to offer their members a choice. Who among the existing members had a choice when it came to joining the union? It is a closed shop and a labor union monopoly.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

The members of the union support paying dues. They ratified the agreement.

Susie Q

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

I think many citizens objected to the RTW legislation as written. It provides non-dues paying employees with all the wages, benefits and working conditions that have been negotiated by the dues paying members. It also provides them with some union protection in the event of discipline, even though they have not paid dues. It would be much fairer if the employees who choose not to join the union had to negotiate their own pay, benefits, working conditions and discipline. Right isn't fair. Some may proclaim that their freedom is being trampled upon.....but I don't buy it unless the laws are re-written to protect the unions from the freeloaders.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

Very well said! Good Day


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

The story says it was passed with 91% participation in the vote. Talking about drinking the anti-union Cool-Aid.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

How do you suppose the union can demand a contract when teachers vote anonymously?