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Posted on Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Saline teachers agree to $1.5 million in concessions

By Lisa Allmendinger

The Saline Board of Education agreed to teacher union concessions of about $1.5 million Tuesday night as the Saline Area Schools looks for ways to close a projected $5.95 million shortfall in its about $64 million operating budget.

The Board of Education voted 5-1 for a tentative agreement for the final year of the Saline Teacher’s Association 3-year contract, which includes returning 5.5 days of pay to the district based on the 2011-2012 pay scale. A 2.5-percent increase was included in the contract for the about 450 teachers in the district.

The agreement also requires teachers to pay 10 percent of their insurance premium and 10 percent of their dental and vision insurance costs.

For those teachers with full family medical insurance, it will cost them about $1,630 for their “Medical Option 1” health insurance per year.

For those teachers who have dental and vision insurance, it will cost them about $131 per year.

The school board also approved sending layoff notices to 68 teachers, though officials said that about 50 of those teachers are expected to keep their jobs during the next school year.

At this point, the district has “roughly cut the deficit in half,” said Tom Wall, assistant superintendent for business services.

“We have a binding agreement contract with the SEA and they didn’t have to come back to us,” said Board President Chuck Lesch, who added, “It would have been nice to get more.”

Staff costs comprise about 85 percent of the budget with 77 percent of the costs going to teachers and 16 percent to support services, Saline Superintendent of Schools Scot Graden said previously.

Board member Amy Cattell said, “I’ve run many scenarios in my mind and I look at what’s going on everywhere. I trust the parties involved in the negotiations. I really feel everyone’s committed to do what’s best for the kids.”

The lone no vote was Board Member Lisa Slawson, who said she appreciated the efforts but “for me, the biggest problem is the fund balance.” Trustee David Friese was absent.

Earlier this month, the projected fund balance was $2.9 million, and it’s anticipated that some of that money will be used to close the budget gap.

Before the vote, resident after resident appealed to the board to reject the agreement and push for more teacher concessions.

Dave Zimmer of York Township said, the “$1.3 million concessions are totally inadequate.” He suggested that teacher compensation be reduced 15 percent across the board.

“This won’t balance the budget, and it’ll hurt the teachers,” said Judy McCoy, who also suggested a “small reduction of compensation across the board,” to avoid layoffs. After the vote, she told the board she was disappointed and called the agreement “a very bad deal.”

Graden said similar to last year, the 68 teachers who were hired after August 2004 would receive layoff notices.

“These are the least senior staff,” he said.

However, once all the budget numbers are finalized, it’s expected that about 50 teachers will be called back to work, while between 18 and 20 teachers positions would be reduced.

Board member Todd Carter said that there was an “opportunity on the table” during the negotiations that would have avoided the layoffs, but it was not accepted.

Following the vote, outgoing SEA Union President Tim Heim said even though the teachers had “become funding agents” for the district with the concessions, they were being labeled as "villains" by residents who spoke. He said that's confusing.

However, resident John Waterman offered a different opinion. “This was not an easy vote,” he said. “The teachers didn’t have to come forward; they didn’t have to give back but they did.”

In addition, the board is looking at about 36 different deficit-elimination scenarios that include fees for sports and changes in busing. They will discuss those scenarios Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at Liberty School in a second community forum.

Graden said previously that the district is looking at making athletics self-funded and adjusting the district’s busing.

Lisa Allmendinger is a reporter with She can be reached at For more Saline stories, visit our Saline page.


Lac Court Orilles

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

It's easy for the wealthy ones like David Zimmer and Mitt Romney to recommend that others live on less while they have millions in their bank accounts. Look for Zimmer to sometime in the future to make a motion during a board meeting to pay teachers minimum wages and tell them he's doing them a favor that they'll thank him for in the future. Kind of like a replay of the movie "The Help," isn't it ? Elections have consequences; remember YOU teachers voted for him ! ! ! Now you teachers deserve what you voted for ....


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

Unfortunately, my kids who are at the high school have said that teachers are voicing their opinions in the classrooms about how unfair it is the community is unhappy about their wages and benefits. We need a reality check in Washtenaw County ... it all started when Pfizer left, automotive slowed down, new housing stopped, homes went into foreclosure, banks and real estate business declined and on and on all the way to the hairdresser who's clientele moved out of state. YET some folks salaries and benefits just keep on, keeping on.


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

Good grief, this article is littered with inaccurate information from the number of teachers to the operating budget. We deserve better from Todd Carter voting YES? Never knew he was in the union's hip pocket.

Jimmy Olsen

Sat, May 28, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

He accepted money from the SEA for his campaign.


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

So it seems once again we cannot resolve the deficit issue even in Saline. Only partial solutions, half measures and feeble attempts to make progress. We are stuck with legacy programs and policies and all sides have entrenched into their corners. Give a little here, a little there, but in the end not enough to make the big changes needed.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

Very interesting Article posted by Mr. Graden. While yes it may seem that the average salary is on the high side for SHS, the following article shows how pay to participate programs can get out of hand also. Give it a read: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Les Gov

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 7:35 a.m.

This is interesting.....thanks to PoorMan for the original web site link! The Average teacher salary in Michigan is $57,327. Based on Saline's payroll data the average Saline teacher makes $72,196. So Saline is paying its teachers 25% more than the average teacher in the State of Michigan. You can calculate the averages yourself using the links below. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And Michigan teachers receive better pay than most other states. The article goes on to state that &quot; The total of all benefit packages paid to government employees in Michigan is estimated to be $5.7 billion per year more generous than the benefits given to private-sector workers who pay the taxes that pay for those public employee benefits. Public school employees account for $2.5 billion of this total.&quot; So the evidence suggests to me that Saline teachers are extremely well paid compared to their counterparts. For the record I want to say that Saline teachers are among the best, of the best. You can't fault the Saline teachers for accepting the money they are given. At the end of the day the question is are Saline taxpayers getting 25% better results from their schools and are Saline taxpayers willing to continue to pay the premium salaries that Saline teachers receive? In other words, do we get enough bang for our bucks? If we the taxpayers think Saline teacher pay is out of line, we need to replace the School Board. As for the teachers.....the evidence suggests you want to teach in Michigan...and you want to teach in Saline if you want to earn a wage that is way above other teachers around the country.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

@snoopdog We also have NFL quaterbacks making 10 million dollars for 6 months &quot;work&quot;, or NHL players, or NBA players and lets not forget baseball players. The only difference ? Their salaries are paid for by ticket sales and $9 glasses of beer and TV advertisers. Not sure how much their health care costs are. But, thousands upon thousands of people plunk down hundreds and hundreds of dollars to watch grown people play a game. Yet, you'll begrudge people who are educating the next generation their salaries and benefits. These ARE hard working people. The moral center of this country is in trouble. Let's see how the millionaire NFL players end up with the billionaire NFL owners in their &quot;labor dispute&quot;. Sad.


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

Sadly, it would seem that snoopdog doesn't regard educators or what they are paid to do.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

Now they can enjoy their 2 and a half MONTHS off by patting themselves on the back.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

Right On.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

You've got middle school gym teachers and elementary teachers making more than a hundred grand a year working 9 and at the most 10 months a year and the best they can do is start paying 10% of their healthcare after paying ZERO for the past 20 years. We, the taxpayers are nothing but a bunch of chumps ! Good Day


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

What should elementary teachers earn? And, there aren't many making 100 grand...once again, you spout, but don't spout the truth.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.



Thu, May 26, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

@Salinedad Are you running Mr. Zimmer's board campaign ? I was sitting in the back and I could hardly hear him, but you are able to quote him very well. It must have been easier to hear in the front rows.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

So after seven years on the board Trustee Slawson finally decides to say NO to the SEA. How ironic. She's been talking about shared sacrifice for at least a year and when they do finally give something up (not like last years paltry paid training) she says NO, it's not enough. while that is debatable, it was something that they were contractually not having to give up. She should have voted NO years ago when this prolonged over expensive contract was approved. She also cited the numerous, e-mails and calls back then, but I guess those people meant it this time. What a joke. But we did learn her daughter got home from prom safely and she is a vegetarian. No references to Indiana or being a lawyer at this meeting.

The Wind Cries

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 12:01 a.m.

When I ask people why they moved to Saline, more-often-than-not they list the quality of education as one of their main reasons. One of the reasons I moved to here was the school system. It was good when I arrived and has continued to improve to be one of the best in the sate. In fact, several times CNN has been placed them in the top 100 in the country. I am happy to live in a community like this, if it costs a little more to get quality people teaching, so be it. Also, this level of quality education helps with home values, as the economy rebounds the housing prices in this area will reflect the quality of education. The teachers just voted to give concessions that are the same as handing almost $350 to each student in Saline. And don't say, "well I pay taxes" because teachers, administrators, and support staff pay taxes just like you. We should thank the teachers; they have just about covered Governor Snyder's axing of public education funding. I know for some of you it's still not enough. I want great schools, if you don't, feel free to move to one of the many communities in our state where the teachers make lower wages. They will be happy to provide you with an adequate education. Oh wait, you don't want to move there? You mean they don't offer a comprehensive education, not enough AP courses, their facilities are in disrepair, the don't have award winning programs, award winning teachers, great athletic opportunities, top ACT scores. Yea, that's what I thought; maybe it's not so bad here.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be TEACHERS Don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

yeah, Stun. And those who can't teach . . . . slum around working for failed trucking companies. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

&quot;Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such&quot; Too funny, you've got to get into med school and law school first !


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

must you post this on every story about education? we get it.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

This link shows 2010 salaries for Saline Area School employees via the freedom of information act. This does not include benefits. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

Hey, Saline School District Administration. Waiting for your concessions. Ball is in your court. Save teacher jobs take your cuts.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

They have the last two years. If the SEA went to the Administrator &amp; Support Union medical there would be no cuts at all.

Tony Dearing

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

Commenters are welcome to challenge each other, and in particular, any commenter is free to challenge the facts being presented by another commenter and to ask that commenter to substantiate his or her facts. However, no commenter is required to reveal personal information about himself or herself, and we ask you not to post comments that ask other commenters for such information as what they do for a living, how much they make or where they live. Thanks.

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sun, May 29, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

however, it woeuld be accomodating to be able to contact a commentator directly, with permission in advance, fo course.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

I can still wonder about it, though, can't I?!

Sherry Knight

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

Sometimes, the only thing to say is thank you. Thank you, teachers, for these concessions, for all the work you do, and for the positive attitudes you have maintained throughout it all. Your willingness to do what's right for our children -- going above and beyond, is impressive. You make Saline an extraordinary community.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

I will second that entire Thank You.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

One thing is for certain, Saline taxpayers will never approve another millage moving forward. Perhaps with Heim leaving the gavel for someone else, the union might come to their senses. Won't be fast enough for the 20 teachers that will get laid off. Typical unionists, it is all about ME,ME, ME, ME !

Les Gov

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

Only problem is we just did. Remember that vote just a few weeks back for the Washtenaw County millage? Very, very, few people voted. Most people in this community just don't care what their taxes are or how the golden benefits that the government employees receive. If people in this county cared, they would vote.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

Thank You. Right On.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

So many of these comment are very funny! Teachers wages are 85% of the budget, show me some school systems that teachers wages are not in that range. They took a hit this year and they are taking a hit next year. Why is no one going after the Board and Mr. Graden? They are the ones who ultimately approve these contracts. You've got some saying that they didn't even have to open their contract, sounds like they are ok with it all. And when it comes to sports, why should some parents taxes pay for others to play? Why shouldn't it be 100% Pay To Play, if Tommy wants to tackle and Susie wants to swim, let those who play, pay. What is the budget to keep an athletic program going? Busing is a great one to get rid of as well, kids need to start walking to school! Have you ever been around a school at dismisal time? You can barely get in the parking lot because of all the mommies and daddies picking up their little princess'. If there is a problem with a teacher who's been there 30 plus years, of course they are going to be making decent money. Show me an accountant, or lawyer who's been on the job for 30 years and you'll probably see that they are making far greater than what a teacher is making. If you want to get rid of the upper level salaries then offer a buyout. You could get 3 newbies for the price of 30 years of experience. Wake up people, if you want good teachers in a good community then you need to pay them. Go look in the parking lot at the high school and the kinds of cars our high schoolers are driving, this town has money. The blame needs to be put back on those who are approves and spends the money for Saline Schools, they need to live within their means. Take a look around at what we have, school programs that others dream about, athletic facilities that most colleges dream about, a high school theater that many cities dream about...wake up people! You obviously want the best you wouldn't have moved here and keep letting your school board approve.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

Actually Mr.Zimmer in his comments laid the fiscal shortfall on the Board rather than the SEA and it's leadership. The SEA has done a great job representing it's members, keeping pay high, benefit cost nonexistent and with increases in class size (due to layoff of teachers who no longer vote for the union leadership) the remaining teachers get additional pay for extra large classrooms. So the SEA has done a great job for its members. Regarding a buyout option, unfortunately with the level of the reserve, the district does not have the cash on hand to do a buyout. The draw down of the reserve for most of the past 9 years has eliminated that as an option. Which bring us back to Mr. Zimmer's comment that the root cause is the lack of leadership by the Board, the lack of active engagement with the fiscal issues of the district in a proactive manner rather than reactive and a lack of true stewardship of the interests of the community on the part of our Board, a situation that has existed for many years.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

Regardless of what you want to believe the the problem still lies with the cuts to education mandated by Snyder and his clones in the Republican controlled Legislature in Lansing. They took a surplus in school aid money, moved it around, and cut per pupil payments. At the same time they cut the &quot;Business Tax&quot; by $1.9 billion . This could have been phased in rather than at one time. His &quot;Best Practices&quot; are the same that were used in the Auto Industry that forced thousand of small suppliers out of business. They don't work. If business received a $1 billion tax break it would have left $.9 billion for the schools and for deficit reductions. Snyder and his clones know that their time with their fingers in the pie are limited so they don't want to wait. As far as the teachers in Saline....They're the best. That's why I have put 5 kids through Saline Schools. I chose to live here and I choose to pay for the schools.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

The correct vote was 5-1. David Friese was curiously absent perhaps not wanting a Union YES vote on his record when facing reelection in November. When the going gets tough, David Friese gets going...out of town!

Buster W.

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

Their sacrificing by paying $1,630 for full family coverage. Woweee! I pay $6,480 annually ($540/month) for full family coverage at UM.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

I actually thought $1,630 a year would be difficult. There is NO way I could pay $6,480 for full family coverage......again, unless my salary was significant.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Yeah, they act like they gave a ton. Join the real world.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

@Jake C, this is Saline Schools , not A2. Saline teachers have paid ZERO, NADA, ZILCH in the past for healthcare, the taxpayers have absored 100% of that funding. Moving forward , Saline teachers will pay 10% of their healthcare which amounts to $1630 ! Read the article before posting please.

Buster W.

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Jake C., Thank you for digging into this. A perfect example of &quot;Don't believe everything you read.&quot;

Jake C

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

FYI, I'm looking at the Open Enrollment Extension for Ann Arbor Public School teachers for the 2011-2012 school year, and the MESSA Super Care 1 will cost $8396.15/yr and MESSA Choices II PPO costs $6115.55/yr (both with 20 pays). Priority Health HMO &amp; Blue Care Network HMO are &quot;no extra cost&quot;, with minimal preventative &amp; emergency coverage. This is a significant increase from last year, and the costs have been going up at a rate comparable to or greater than the private sector.

Jake C

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

Blame that on the poorly written article. That sentence should read &quot;$1630 MORE per year.&quot; If you think a public school employee can get &quot;full family coverage&quot; (whatever that means) for a mere $135 per month, you're crazy.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

Where's The Beef? It is not in the restructuring of athletics; it is not in changing busing routes; it is not in expanding classroom sizes; it is not in nickel and diming lunchroom ladies and busdrivers; it is not in hitting up our 'rainy day fund' either. It is in step changes, it is in annuities, and it is in the best healthcare benefits in Michigan created by the MEA for the MEA!


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 3:22 a.m.

Actually Jonny Spirit you are incorrect in your understanding. The teachers gave up a increase in compensation, not a reduction in base compensation, and only if they are at the top of the range. Otherwise they will get a 3.5% increase next year. The 20 teachers laid off was due to a rejection of a number of options proposed by admin. that would have prevented any layoffs. The SEA leadership rejected these proposals. If you attend tomorrows session you will see that the fund balance will be zero as of next May. That is what Mr. Wall presented in the budget review section of the meeting last evening.

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 11:36 p.m.

Both of you are wrong. The rainy day fund will not be drained down to zero. Teachers gave back almost 2 million and also lost 20 teachers what don't you get about them not giving back. The rainy day fun has close to 5.7 million dollars in it. This was reported in an article that was written So my math says it will only cost the district 2 million. Duhhhh I hope it stops raining because 4 million will not be enough to cover this rain. Salinedad and alarictoo if you do any research you will see Willow Run is over 10 million dollars in depth, no rainy day fund, and Ypsi is right behind them. So Saline will not even be close to being taken over, so stop that garbage. If you want to be a teacher, go be one and stop your jealous crying, both of you!


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

And watch out when that negative fund balance goes past the One-Million-Dollar point, because that is when the school district is in danger of coming under the control of one of the Governor's &quot;Emergency Managers&quot;. &quot;Yes, Virginia. It doesn't only happen in towns like Detroit and Willow Run.&quot;


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

actually the rainy day fund will be empty as a result of this as well. Nothing left for a rainy day. The structural burden of the SEA contract will put the district into a negative fund balance by May of 2012 even with the changes agreed to by the Board last night. All that was done was another kick the can down the road action by the decision makers, nothing structurally was solved.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

Remember when people used to complain about how much pro basketball players were paid as compared to school teachers? Those people were shocked- SHOCKED! at the level society valued arrogant superstar athletes as compared to school teachers who raised our kids for us.. These same people complaining now about supposedly overpaid teachers are now OK with Lebron James making $x100 million, I guess? If these right wing pirates remain in control, this country is on the way to becoming Bangladesh. 20 super-wealthy industrialists and 300 million peasants.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

AA Arena seating capacity = 16,000. Half of their 82 games are away = 42 Average ticket price = $277.00 (Seriously?) Naturally, not all of that money is available to pay players but the original point was that society has put that kind of value on pro athletes versus school teachers. That mentality also leads people to ship what's left of their hard-earned pay to China every time they shop, removing that money from their own economy only to be returned later as national debt. Americans are a self-endangered species.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

James has earned it - &quot;earning something&quot; means you have generated value for all parties involved, and all parties are willing to pay the asking price. If you could fill up an arena with 45,000 fans paying about $50 each and do it say 100 times a year - every year - I would give you $100 million/yr and keep the rest as profit. And that is just tickets!

tom swift jr.

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

I sincerely believe that now is the time to just close the schools and let people babysit, parent, and educate their kids at home. It certainly isn't that hard, it shouldn't cost anything at all, and the kids will be better for it. Let's give that a try, eh? And, in a year or two we'll revisit this concept of gutting education and see how people's perspective has changed.

Will Warner

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:33 p.m.

I wish there were an emoticon for sarcasm


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

Okay, do you know of any jobs out there where one parent can earn enough to support and entire family? Are there enough for everyone with school aged children to have one of those jobs? If not, how would families keep their children at home to school them? There would be no one there. Sounds like you come from a different background than the majority of the people out there where both parents work. In addition, home schooling cannot teach many of the lessons children and teens learn in schools. Social skills are a very important part of life. Those that learn them well can adjust to many situations and get along better in life. Keeping children at home and teaching them only what the parents want is also keeping your kids ignorant of the fact that there are many viewpoints in the world. We need to support public schools with everything we can. It is the only way to ensure a safe, productive, and peaceful future for out state.

Roger Roth

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

&quot;Some see things as they are and ask 'Why?' I dream dreams that never were and ask, 'Why not'&quot;--Bobby Kennedy &quot;What the hell are we doing to ourselves??&quot;--Roger Roth

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

My breath smells like cat food.... Ralph from the Simpsons


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

&quot;I have met the enemy, and he is us!&quot; Pogo


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Roger, RFK was quoting George Bernard Shaw there...

Roger Roth

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

One commenter wrote about one room schoolhouses. I attended such a school, actually two rooms with three grades each. Two classes read/studied while the teacher taught the other class. No teaming and no para pro. There were no drop outs; all kids I started with went on to a consolidated HS and graduated. Now, how do you suppose that was possible? Think about it. There were about 16-20 kids in a class, two rows, 8-10 desks in a row. There were outdoor toilets, everyone went home for lunch and returned for the afternoon, no athletics, little arts and music, no auditorium, no gymnasium (we played Red Rover, King of the Mountain on the coal ash pile in back of the school, and made the longest downhill ice slides you can imagine in winter.) In about 1950, my 5th grade teacher got a TV, one of the first in town, and we went to her house after school to watch Howdy Doody. What a Hoot! We certainly have &quot;progressed&quot; considerably from those dark days.

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

This is why people who are this old needs to walk into a school classroom with 40 students in it and try to teach a lesson. Why are people giving there opinion when they no nothing about the subject. Yes people, times have changed, I know you old people hate to hear that bad word &quot;change&quot; but it is true. A gallon of milk is more the 10 cents now. Sign up to be a sub, and put 1 day of work as a teacher, you don't have to take anything home and put in 3-4 hours at night just one day 7-3:30 that's all, then log onto to your modem at home and let's talk.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

Technically, the teachers didn't have to agree to concessions at all, but they did, and it's still not enough? Because they haven't taken the same hit as you have? I have kids in Saline schools and it's been my experience that the ones who complain most about how great teachers have it are the parents who don't even attend conferences. These are also the same parents who complain about teacher's salaries while buying their 6th grader the latest Coach bag or iPhone. Just sayin'.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Mr. Zimmer's comment about the 15% across the board pay cut was about how to hire MORE teachers and reduce class size, it was not in reference to addressing the budget shortfall. Mr. Zimmer's comment was that the average salary of a Saline teacher is 15% higher compared to their peer districts (15 district survey). As a point of reference the pay structure of Saline teachers is higher than those of Ann Arbor, while the foundation rate of Saline is 40% lower than Ann Arbor. If we reduced the compensation of our teachers by 15% we could prevent the lay off of 18 teachers and HIRE 12 more teachers in the district, lowering class size at all levels of the district, ensure the class offerings are not impacted and no employees of the district would be unemployed. To address the budget shortfall, Mr. Zimmer recommended the following: (1) Have all staff contribute 20% toward the cost of Health Care Premiums = $883,556 in operating cost reduction for the district. (2) Purchase the Blue Cross - Blue Shield plan directly rather than through MESSA would result in a 10% premium reduction (for same coverage) = $353,442 operating cost reduction. (3) If we eliminated the annutiy (because of the lifetime pension the annunity is unusual because of this benefit already provided) it would save $209,669 in annual operating expense and (4) if we reduced the stipend and supplemental pay of our staff to the peer average of other districts (15 district survey) we would save another $383,548 in operating expense. The total of these budget shortfall actions is $1,830,195 in cost reductions. If the distrct combined part 1 AND part 2, the difference in the operating plan would be $5,313,355 plus the $1 million from the state would allow for us to pay a competitive pay for our employees, have same benefits for our employees (regardless of type of employee) and allow us to hire 12 more teachers, reducing class size and retaining of all employees. ...and that is the rest of the story

David Zimmer

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

Jimmy Olsen, So you have made contributions to Saline Schools, but you are afraid of calling me, having a dialogue with me, and feel that trying to &quot;out&quot; Salinedad was a constructive action? So far you have only shown meanspirited, distructive behavior. So if you have made contributions to the Saline School District I would think you would want to work with others who want to achieve the same things. Unlike Salinedad, who has concerns about retaliation, you have not offered any explaination about why you won't call me and have a conversation. I have not called you out in public like you errronously did with me through your Salinedad coments. For someone who says you have worked for the success of Saline, all you have done in this situation is paint a negative brush on all those who have worked for the success of Saline schools. Because of your actions now all of the past contributors to Saline schools have the same problem, people are now going to ask themselves &quot;is this the mean spirited and destructive person who claims to have done things for our school district but is now afraid of standing up and being counted. &quot; Too bad for our community, I was hoping for more than that from you.

Jimmy Olsen

Mon, May 30, 2011 : 6:50 p.m.

Mr. Zimmer, Those figures you quote were presented at the board meeting on Tuesday night. Again, re-read my posts, and point out those that exhibit destructive behavior. You won't find any. Oopps. Yet, you accuse me of hiding, but it is okay for Salinedad. You have no idea of my contributions to Saline Area Schools. This will be my last reply to you. The issue is not between me and you, but success for our students and community.

David Zimmer

Sun, May 29, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Jimmy Olsen, You may stand by every word you have blogged but your behavior is not that of a stand up guy. As it relates to my sources, they are from the Saline School District. The information about the survey's that Salinedad referenced were from survey's done by the various commitites of the Saline School District. Also of interest, if you attended the budget presentation you would have seen that the self insured plan of the district has a 10% premium reduction next year with the same coverage while the MESSA provided plan has a 10% premium increase next year. A 20% premium difference between the two insurance providers. As I said this data came from the Saline School District as well. Salinedad called me to confirm my comments before he blogged. He appears to be a stand up guy, concerned about retaliation toward his children, what is your concern about calling me and identifing who you are and engaging in a dialogue about the issues of the district? Seems like you just like to hide and do destructive things to others, not what I call a stand up guy. Too bad, our community need people who make positive contributions to our community. I encourage you to get engaged in constructive behavior, calling me and starting a dialogue about constructive actions is a good start. I await your call.

Jimmy Olsen

Sat, May 28, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

Mr. Zimmer, I can't speak for the others, but again, thanks for the offer, but I'll stand by my previous post. I'll caution the readers that many people who blog in this or any space are merely offering an opinion. Sometimes facts are presented, sometimes not. Please always check or ask the blogger for the source of their facts. I stand by every word I have posted.

David Zimmer

Fri, May 27, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

Just thought the community should be aware that I got a phone call from Salinedad who apoligized for having his comments being interpreted as being mine. He expressed concern about retaliation against his children who are students in the district, which is why he has not revealed himself. I have not heard from SalineSally nor Jimmy Olsen nor for that matter SalineMom. So it appears to me that none of them actually want to make positive contributions to the success of the Saline School District. I would encourage the readers to remember that when they blog in the future. As it relates to Salinedad's concern about retailation, it is a real issue. Many teachers have expressed numerous opinions about school matters with my children in the daily activities of their school experience. It has only been through close supervision (and occassional discussion with the teacher) that my children have not been penalized due to my comments over the years. People who try to &quot;out&quot; people should think about this reality before they try this &quot;cute&quot; trick. As we know only so painfully, many young people hurt themselves when they have been &quot;outed&quot;. This practice is not constructive, only destructive. I encourage the readers to remember that when SalineSally, Jimmy Olsen or SalineMom comment in the future. As it relates to my point of view regarding the budget challenges, let me remind the readers of that what I suggested the School Board and the SEA consider was a reduction in operating expense through the direct purchase of their existing health care plan, a reduction in the supplemental pay to the average of their peer districts, and the elimination of the annunity (which the SEA says they never wanted). I also suggested that the SEA pay the same premium percentage as the lowest paid employees of the district, which is still less than folks in the private sector.These changes are a 1.8 million real cost reduction and would prevent the lay off of

David Zimmer

Fri, May 27, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

So Jimmy it looks like I should be expecting a call from you and SalineSally with your real names to discuss how we can help our district and maybe even I can get Salinedad to join us. Did you attend the Budget forum tonight? It was obvious that the community did not support a reduction in the reserve and felt the SEA should be approached again, to save the jobs of their membership, pay the same for benefits as the staff employees do and maybe even take a pay cut to help the district meet it's responsibilities to our children. (As you might know, of the 300 members of the SEA, 123 will still get increases of 2.5% next year. The rest will get the same salary as this year because they are already at the max of the range. This number came from Mr. Graden tonight) I would love to connect with you and SalineSally and Salinedad to help bring some positive focus on the education of our children. As I have said before, my number is in the book. If you are interested in attempting to solve the problems of the district give me a call.

Jimmy Olsen

Fri, May 27, 2011 : 2:47 a.m.

Mr. Zimmer, I pre-date your arrival in this district by 5 years and have been involved in Saline Area Schools from the get go with all my children starting with Pooh Corner. Neither SalineSally nor I ever said we disagreed with you, or disputed your facts or attacked your character. We merely pointed out that over the years, your &quot;MO&quot; so to speak is fairly obvious. I've heard you speak at board and other meetings, seen your &quot;writings&quot; via the district blogs. So, over the course of Salinedad's comments, those similarities of your &quot;MO&quot; stand out. I am in no need to &quot;gain an understanding&quot; of your viewpoint - it is very well known and documented and quite possibly not all that different from mine. I just choose to go about my business in another fashion. Good Luck.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

And the main point here is hiring more teachers. That would make everyone happy - even the kids. But it is the teachers whose work environment would improve - because they would have more control over the classroom and be able to really engage with the kids. Teachers want to 'affect' the lives of kids - with proposed layoffs some classes might go to 40-1, but with some salary re-alignments that ratio would jump the other way to 25-1 - - Teachers need to choose.

David Zimmer

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

Jimmy Olsen, I offer you the same as I did SalineSally. Give a call and we can talk about the state of the Saline School District. As I said in my previous email, I have been very comfortable in discussing the various matters that impact the educational experience of our young people. As a person who has been deeply engaged in our School District for over 14 years, I can provide some context and maybe some facts and maybe I can learn the same from you. Feel free to call, but if you use Jimmy Olsen as your identifier I will know that your not genuine in your interest in talking, sharing understanding and gaining an understanding of the challenges facing us.

Jimmy Olsen

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Mr. Zimmer, I don't think SalineSally attacked your character at all. That is not allowed by the commenting rules. SalineSally merely pointed out what has been so obvious to so many for so long.

David Zimmer

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:06 a.m.

Hi SalineSally, I just got back into town from a all day out of town business meeting (and a HS lacrosse playoff game that we lost...ugh) and a friend of mine suggested I check out the blog site and your comments and those of this email stream. From looking at the dialogue it appears that Barry was asking Salinedad his views and not those of myself. It appears that Salinedad was responding to Barry's questions, Salinedad did not say what I was thinking, he was just responding to Barry's questions about Salinedad. If you have attended Saline PTO meetings, School Board meetings, Long Range Planning meetings, Coffee Klatch meetings, School Policy meetings, Sports meetings, Band meetings, fund raising meetings, Pay to Participate meetings, Pay to Play meetings, School of Choice meetings, AP and Honors Grades meetings and so many volunteer hours of fund raising, and related activities of the district over the past 12 years that I have been deeply involved with you would know that I am not afraid to express my views and bring facts into the light of public awareness. Please do not try to attack my character again. If you would like to learn what I have learned about the fiscal and educational experineces of the Saline School District since 1998 and learn of my views of many of the school issues of the Saline community, give me a call. I am in the phone book.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

Hmm, you seem to know a lot about what Mr. Zimmer thinks and yet you post under an anonymous name.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

Barry, Your pay goes up when business is good and goes down when business is bad, viewing things over the long haul is how you succeed in life. As it relates to teacher pay, yes I did support a accelerated pay structure for teachers, step increases at twice the rate of their peers and general increases at twice the rate of inflation, as well as pay to play, sinking funds, special education funding and about 4 other supplimental revenue actions over the years as the district funding increased and the market conditions warranted. And the pendelum swings both ways.... I have also supported the idea that support staff, administration and teachers should have the same benefits, pay the same as a percent of their salary for health care and get paid the market rate for what they do, something that does not exist in Saline today. Our lowest paid employees pay the most for benefits, while our highest paid pay the smallest for benefits. As it relates to reduction in pay results in reduction in performance, how about looking at Ford Motor Company as an example. The employees at all levels have taken huge pay cuts and the products have improved AFTER the cuts were made, because the employees understood that the pay cuts were necessary to improve the business and eliminating staff would not resilt in a better product. They understood the idea of shared sacrifice when the pendelum swings the opposite way.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

If you've taken 15% pay cuts multiple times in your career, you almost certainly need to find a new career. More to the point, research is pretty conclusive that if you cut someone's pay they perform their jobs at a far worse level than they did prior to the cuts. When the economy was booming and your home price was increasing, did you propose giving teachers higher wages? Wait a second - are you actually saying that teachers are highly compensated? Wow.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

BenWoodruff, Actually if you compare the k-12 academic performance of Saline compared to Rockford, Forest Hills, Chelsea as well as Ann Arbor you will find the pay of the other teachers to be about 15% lower than Saline. These distrits have similar or higher graduation rate, college acceptance rates, MEAP scores as well as ACT performance. Beyond that, most research suggests that the level of education of the parents and the income level of the community are the primary drivers of academic performance, rather than the performance of the individual teacher in the classroom. Recent research has also shown that the classic approach of teacher lecturer is not as effective as interactive learning using electronic solutions, group work and guided self discovery, with small classroom size that allow the teacher to be a facilitator of learning, which requires smaller class size to be successful. This would seem to imply that more teachers, smaller class size with technology and curriculum designed to reflect the learning style of kids who have grown up with x-box, i-pods, and laptops coupled with educated parents from stable economic conditions are stronger underlying precepts for academic excellence. The research has also shown little if any correlation between teacher pay and academic performance. The DPS is a classic example of this. Higher pay rate in the state (and among the nation) and low academic success. As the saying goes, it takes three legs of the triangle for student success, teachers who have the time to mentor, parents who are engaged with their children and the learning environment of the student.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

Salinedad, are Saline's Academic results 15% higher than those of their peer districts? If so, it seems to me that you are paying a 15% permium for a quality education...


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Barry, In response to your question would I take a 15% pay cut to do the same thing? Yes I would (and have mulitple times in my career), to save the jobs of my co-workers. That is what I learned in my many years as a unionized employee, doing what is best for the entire workforce and our customers, rather than only those at the top of the scale and with the best benefits. In the service industry that is how you stay in business and grow your business. Pay competitively and equal sharing across all employee populations results in a strong organization and success with your customers and with each employee.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

One question Salinedad: would you be willing to accept a 15% pay cut to do the exact same work?


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Teachers where under contract. It is true that they did not have to make any concessions and they did. It is normal to expect that the teachers would negotiate the smallest cut possible for themselves under those conditions and spare the most senior teachers from layoff. Still further cuts are coming in the future, so I guess that it is good that this incremental wage cut allows them time to prepare and pare down. We are in a education bubble. Just like the housing bubble, too many degrees have been given out. A college degree is no guarantee of middle class wages. 85% of all college and university graduates are moving back home to live with an average of $27,000.00 in school debt. Jobs are going overseas to cheaper labor markets and less regulation. Wages will go up when productively increases. All schemes to force wages higher, end up failing in then end. No law says that teaching is to be a 6 figure job. When I grew up, most teachers were married women who's income merely supplemented their husbands income. If you allowed market forces to set teacher pay, believe me it would be a lot less. It's a hard pill to swallow, but you can make an argument that every job is important and worth more...but they are not. If teachers are not satisfied with their pay, the will move on to other areas of the economy and maybe use their talent to create new jobs. For now, as this &quot;great recession&quot; continues on (and it will) everyone will have to cut back. Unfortunately, this concession is just the beginning for the teachers.

Marvin Face

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 1:09 a.m.

Gee, sorry SemperFi. You asked, I provided. Don't kill the messenger. Maybe this link to the HuffyPo will be more agreeable to your sensitivities: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

Marvin: OK, I'm laughing right now. I hope that you were using satire in that link. I checked it out &amp; that story was right there with stories about &quot;Croatia's Magnet Boy&quot;, &quot;San Luis Valley Is A UFO Hotspot&quot;, &amp; &quot;'Biggest Loser' Winner Cuts Weight In Half&quot;. Not what I'd consider journalistic excellence. And by the way, the poll was done by &quot;TwentysomethingInc&quot; who's main job is to find corporate jobs for Generation Y. By scaring the hell out of people, they garner clients. Just maybe they're a bit prejudiced on this issue.

Marvin Face

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.

Semper Fi: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

How many teachers have six figure jobs in Saline? How many people in the private sector? Also, when you grew up was likely twenty years ago, and the dollar was worth substantially more. But I suppose teachers should go back to being domestic helpers...


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

Please feel free to give some sources for the preposterous numbers you're throwing out there. 85% of college grads move home? Maybe for the summer. I'm not aware of any teachers that are guaranteed a 6 figure salary. You should have taken a statistics class.

DB Holden

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

Having attended the meeting this article is flawed in accepting the claim of $1.5 million in SEA concessions. The facts are: 1. Teachers will pay $1,750 for medical and dental per year. At a forecasted budget of 300 teachers that equates to $525,000. 2. The 5.5 day &quot;giveback&quot; is a shell game as the union will still get the contracted 2.5% raise. This does not yield any savings as they cancel each other out. 3. Per the union agreement teachers still qualify for step change increases and that equates to an increase of $400,000. The real giveback is $125,000 which is less than .005% of the total cost of the SEA contract. All figures used are either i the Tentative Agreement or have been provided by the District administration. Before SEA President Tim Heim annoints himself the &quot;Savior of Saline&quot; we all need to understand the numbers and do the math.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

I think the union should not let any teacher be laid off and instead should re-arrange the salaries so that all the teachers can stay on to teach. If that means a year or two of freezing salaries - so be it. That would show the voters that the Union is thinking of the kids first and cash second. But we know that isn't going to happen. raises will continue, forcing a some teachers to be laid off, and increasing class size for the remaining teachers. Hurting the kids all the way.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

Ben, Ben, Ben - I don't think logic will work here . . .


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

So if a teacher spent the last two years going to school, and getting a Master's Degree, and are due a step raise, you believe that they should not recieve it?


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.

You've got to wonder how many of the posters that whine about how teachers are overpaid and underworked, have ever tried to keep the attention of a couple of teenagers for more than a few minutes at a time. I would love to be present when one of these folks tried to run a classroom of 32, snot-nosed 7 year olds for 6 to 8 hours a day. That would be amusing. Maybe overseeing a classroom of 35 pre-teens and try to teach them mathematics for 50 minutes a day, then do it for 5 of those classes a day would be up their alley. Or maybe they'd like to teach 130 high schoolers, with hornes raging, the finer points of economic theory for a few months. Oh, don't forget that you'll have to correct papers and tests at night and you'll probably have a hundred or so, term papers to grade during the Christmas break. And during that much balleyhooed &quot;summer vacation,&quot; they'll be taking classes to keep their teaching certification and pay for it out of pocket. I'm not a public school teacher and wouldn't want to be. They do a difficult job and most do it with professionalism and dedication. It would help teachers a great deal if every parent would do their job by sending their kid to school with their homework done, studies completed, a good night's sleep and a nutrional breakfast in their belly.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.



Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

The right result so far.... Revenue is down, the solution is not to burden the taxpayers with union contracts and state benefits, rather it is to cut costs.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

Kudos to Lisa Slawson for voting no on this as it did not go far enough. The teachers are 77% of the budget and should have brought 77% of the savings yet they only gave back 16% of what is needed to stop the bleeding. Now they are thumping their chests as if they are heros. I feel bad for the teachers that once again will get thrown under the school bus. Tim Heim is leaving his position and for that we can be thankful. It is time to get Friese and Medley off the school board and find a couple more Lisa Slawson's. Wow, teachers will now be paying 10% of their healthcare ($1630 option one) , Whoop Dee Doo. We in the private sector pay 30-40% ( I pay $4160 per year) and our healthcare plans are Chevy plans , not Cadillac plans that allow for frivolous things like getting a massage. Good Day


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

Boo hoo.....quit the whining. Bus drivers under WISD have to pay a $4000 deductible before the insurance pays anything. So live life to the fullest that you have great insurance while others can't even afford it. I am glad we have great insurance but suck o dental. Guess you take the bad with the worse.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

Snoopdog and Buster, All I want to know is how much your salary is. There is no way for me to determine if what you are paying is appropriate compared to what others are paying without knowing what your salary is!! I am also unaware of a &quot;Cadillac&quot; plan - other than here in these postings. We all live in the real world. I think, instead of attacking the working class, more attention should be paid to what is going on in banking, health care, real estate and governmental management. I've said it before, and I will say it again, somebody is getting quite a laugh out of watching all of us who are working so hard fighting with one another. They're laughing over us as they sit in their box seats at the University of Michigan football games.....


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 9:52 p.m.

Oh snoopdog, you really don't get it, do you? The Cadillac benefits you often spout about simply don't really, no one has them. No one! I'm a teacher, my &quot;Cadillac&quot; benefits told my husband (and I quote) &quot;I don't care if he's dying of cancer, we will only give him the generic brand of Nexium.&quot; Um, sounds more mid-size sedan to me. Oh, and before you go on about how everyone should get generic meds, you're right - when they work. If they don't, like in this case, and Nexium CURES his syndrome, it's about business, not health care.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

Gee, Snoop, maybe it's time for you to go into teaching!


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

Wow Snoopdog, Your healthcare is cheap! the total bill must be about 10 grand? By the way, BarryW works at U of M, he may or may not be a teacher... I'm sure you like the Mackinac Center, this is what they said about Insurance Premiums ...&quot;in the private-sector, Michigan employers pay just 79 percent, on average. &quot; If you are paying 30-40% on average, whatever that means, you are getting screwed. By the way, there's a big difference between 30 and 40 percent. It would be nice if you were more precise in your numbers...then we can separate the wheat from the chaff, or the real from the unreal.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

Barry said: &quot;you pay far more in health care costs as a percentage than anyone I know&quot;. Then you must be a school teacher Barry. I pay the same percentage (30-40%) as most private sector workers, did you see the post by Buster W. ? Good Day

Buster W.

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

Barry, I pay $6K+ annually at UM just in premiums. Much more when you throw in co-pays for Rx and office visits. I thought that was the Where do you work that you think $4,160 a year is a lot? You must be a teacher.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

Snoopdog, where in God's name do you work? From your comments over the last year it seems clear your wages have plummeted, you pay far more in health care costs as a percentage than anyone I know, and you can sit home all day every day writing on! So - you do realize that by paying the healthcare costs the teachers are taking a $1630 pay cut, right? I suppose their contracts mean nothing to you, as you want to slash their pay even more...


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

For all the folks who whine, complain and degrade any &quot;meeting in the middle&quot; of a problem or concession any teaching group takes, if your kids in the school system are HALF the pain and headache that you are then I firmly believe ALL teachers are woefully underpaid to have to deal with them, and you.

Les Gov

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.

Teachers only have to pay $1,630 per year for insurance? That is it??? What. A steal!!!! I hope these teachers appreciate the great deal they just got!! Many people are paying five times that. As for the Board members that agreed to is time for them to go!!!!!!


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

Such craziness to even have to respond to these posts - $1,630 is a steal if your salary allows for it, if you don't already pay thousands in out-of-pocket expenses. Anyone who says &quot;That's it???&quot; to $1,630 lives in a far more wealthy world than I do....


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

That is only the cost for premiums. Deductibles and copays are not included in that.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

@Anonymous1 Saline Taxpayers are not willing to pay. What are you talking about. Come check out my tax bill. You definitely are not paying saline district high taxes. You have insulted every taxpayer in the saline district. Also, just waiting to turn down any new tax millages for schools. Just try. I imagine the crying will start now. About all the cuts and no busing. Just do your jobs and cut the fat. Now ! When are administrators going to offer there concessions. Waiting, ball is in your court.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

In the private sector when they want to attract good employees, do they cut wages and benefits? When a company offers lower wages than a competitor do they get better employees?

Micky Mouse

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Just waiting for them to try to hit taxpayers with new millage. Go ahead and try you will be wasting your time. In these times District should know better. To @anonymous1 --Saline residents won't give up anything to schools. Please we pay a ton now. Are you kidding !

Roger Roth

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

@ Gary Why don't we just get volunteers to teach our kids in kids' homes. Surely, you wouldn't complain about that, would you?


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

A long time ago there was something called one room school houses. These teachers with 10th grade educations would go to far off places that no one else dared to go and teach these children something. Parents were very grateful for that. Now a days parents aren't grateful for anything except a place to dump their children off to babysit while they work. I really wish we had times like these to make us respect what we have now. We need to get rid of the unions in fighting and get to the real fighting, teaching children.

Roger Roth

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

I've done a 180. I couldn't imagine a more fulfilling career--enough money to exist in a modest middle class life-style and, even better, the feeling that I was making a valuable contribution to society, so I urged my students throughout my career who wanted something similar in their lives to consider becoming teachers. Now I can't and I don't do that. Maybe that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Top most in our minds is, will our kids be able to support themselves in a reasonable life-style the remaining 60 years of their lives? It doesn't seem to me that our apparent disregard/disrespect for public schools can produce that result. Maybe I'm wrong. But, I don't think I'd be willing to bet I am. I'm mighty glad I'm old and my kids are grown. I do worry about my grandchild.

John B.

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

limmy: There are 'usual suspects' on here that are paid right-wing bloggers. They are paid to spew their nonsense. Just ignore them. They are very small in number, but seem important due to the sheer number of their silly posts. Note that they post at all hours of the day. They don't have real jobs.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

Hopefully teachers don't pay a lot of attention to these really negative posts. The vast majority of parents who have actual children in the actual schools support the teachers. We get what we pay for. The teachers in the countries like Finland that we refer to as having such great schools are very well paid and unionized.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

Cry me a river... What about the private sector which has taken enormous cuts in salary. you work for the taxpayer someday, with vouchers, I hope you work directly for the parent.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

I am not a teacher, though at one point I wanted to become one (no longer). Now I am glad I didn't. Not sure why so many see teachers as the problem. Good schools are the foundation of a democratic society. Good teachers are the foundation of good schools.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

&gt;&gt;Now I can't and I don't do that Because less than $2000 was cut in your salary? You must do alot of 180s.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

Had the teachers paid their portion of the deficit it would have equated to a cut of $5,100,000 to teachers pay as teacher pay is 85% of the school budget. So they did not pay their fair share. . Unions and teachers need to understand that Michigan, even in Saline, has been devastated by the single state recession. Private employee incomes are down 25% over just the last 5 years. That means less taxes collected. Property values are down by 25-50% from the highs of just 5 years ago. Again tax revenues fall. Total employed in Michigan is down by nearly a million workers over the last 10 years. Again less tax dollars rolling in to government coffers to pay for salaries and ben'ies. State GDP has fallen tremendously since 2001. These are the facts. . Now, who did not suffer a 25% drop in salary? Government employees -including teachers - that's who. Over this same period, while MIchigan is getting whacked in the pocket book - Teachers and other gov workers has sailed though with salary increases, both step and grade. Seeing a 3rd grade teacher earn $65-80,000 and not pay a dime in benefits, while having entire summers off and getting paid vacation days and getting education days and getting personal days is just too much to handle. Certainly someone else would do it for half as much! .


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4 p.m.

@ aamom I love you. Thanks for speaking the truth. I see a lot of suffering. I have seen a lot of suffering for decades. I have seen so many suffer back when it appeared those who lived in a different world had money just falling out of their pockets. Now, those who had such wealth have taken a hit and I feel like it is hard for them. Maybe even more difficult for them, than for those who have been suffering all along. But, there is no way that a large number of people are not doing well - it can be seen in those ticket prices that are being paid, in those cars that are being driven, in those houses that are continuing to be bought and lived in, etc. etc. You don't even hear from the people who really have little to get by on. They are not sitting at home on their computers, responding to these posts! You don't even see THEM! And, those hard-working teachers, police, firefighters and other union workers who have made it far enough to just get into homes, have a computer, take part in some of the &quot;American Dream&quot; are not the enemy! The cry to have things fixed on the backs of these workers is deafening and misplaced.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

Best post I've read. More are suffering than aren't. People in Ann Arbor live in fantasy land and don't have a clue as to what grass roots America is going through


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

&quot;Private employee incomes are down 25% over just the last 5 years. That means less taxes collected. Property values are down by 25-50% from the highs of just 5 years ago. Again tax revenues fall. Total employed in Michigan is down by nearly a million workers over the last 10 years. Again less tax dollars rolling in to government coffers to pay for salaries and ben'ies. State GDP has fallen tremendously since 2001. These are the facts. &quot; These are also the facts... The State Legislature under John Engler passed tax cuts, but did not cut spending. They used up the rainy day fund in his last year to avoid any cuts in services. The tax rates were set by the GOP to drop from 2000-2011... 2000- 4.4% 2002- 4.2% 2003- 4.1% 2004- 4.0% 2005- 3.9% 2006- 3.9% 2007- 3.9% 2008- 4.3% 2009- 4.35% 2010- 4.35% 2011- 4.35% So, as we are experiniencing a &quot;lost decade&quot; in Michigan, we are cutting taxes. Did we create jobs? Also, every state with the exceptions of Michigan, Wyoming, Washington, Texas( and they are in a BIG MESS), South Dakota, Pennsylvania (5%), North Dakota, New Hampshire (5%), Nevada, Massachussetts (5.3%), Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Colorado and Alaska, have a GRADUATED income tax...


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

Please state a source for your 25% drop in private sector wages. Wait, let me guess, you made that number up? Or your wages dropped by a quarter? If there had been a &quot;25%&quot; drop in wages this state would be in rebellion - most families would not have enough money to pay their mortgages and feed their children. Please don't lie, where did you get that number?

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

mojo, home school your kids please. I'm gonna guess teachers do not want to try to help the mojo family. If you think it is that easy, go be a teacher. I know I am so glad I am not one, they have to deal with your kids every day. Give teachers a raise!


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

There is no money in this State to pay each teacher $110,000 in salary and benefits. Deal with it . A decade of Zero population growth and dropping 'employed' numbers have locked in shrinking state budgets. What you don't cut this year - you will cut next year. Talk of the top 1% is cute but even if you taxed that 1% at 100% you would not generate the billions you are asking for in never ending -more-more-more raises. And next year that 1% would leave for Texas anyway. . As for lower salaries, just about every 'private' school, from catholic to montessori to any other non-public school, pay their teachers about half of what public schools pay - and the outcomes are much better.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

MOJO, hire on as a teacher if it is such a good job. If that is not to your liking, take a job collecting garbage in Saline then maybe you too can be &quot;overpaid&quot;. Interesting that while &quot;workers&quot; have taken an alleged 25% cut in pay, the top 1% have seen incomes increase. So your response is to take it out on teachers? Bizarre. Teachers did not loan out more money than their companies had, did not ask you to bail them out while they took $500,000 bonuses. It is not the fault of teachers that we are in an economic crisis, you are being led down a slippery slope by propaganda promoted by a small group of Whiners.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

People who would do the job for half the price don't have the education for the job. You complain about summers off. Teachers only have approximately 2 months off during which many are taking required classes at their own expense to maintain certification. In addition they research new material to keep the classroom education current and interesting. During the school year they put in many more hours than most other jobs at a salary that is less than half of what comparable positions requiring the same or less education. You want your kids educated by a drive-thru restaurant cashier? Then go get one and home school. See what kind of education they will receive. Teachers have taken hits. They pay more into their retirement programs. They are not receiving step pay increases. Step increases are being paid at the end of the year instead of the beginning of the year. They work unpaid days. If you want them to give up more, then reduce requirements that take money from their pockets.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

Sounds like someone should go back to school if they like the sound of that job so much : ) You'd have your student loan paid back in no time with all the money you'd be rolling in. As for who has not been suffering a 25% drop in salary? Me. Private sector high tech career has been good. Although I feel for those who are struggling, I am living proof that it's a load of crap that &quot;we are all suffering.&quot; I'm sick of hearing that on this website.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

What cuts have the administrators at Saline schools taken? How many of them have received layoff notices?


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

The Saline administrators have taken pay cuts, two-tier wage scale and benefit cuts over the past three years. Two principals are retiring and they are moving current assist. principals to fill. If the SEA had done the same, there would be no layoffs.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

Would you allow for the teachers to take the same pay cuts that the admin did over the last 5 years?

Greg Gunner

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

Once again we have people saying that the entire burden should be absorbed by the teachers, who are already underpaid when one considers the status of their educational training, their years of devoted service, and comparable pay for non-public jobs. Let's put the blame where it really belongs, on the gutless legislators who have refused for years to admit that tax reductions have contributed to these deficits as much as anything else. If you want a shared sacrifice and a solution to the problem statewide, a 1% tax increase (either income or sales) would produce enough income to solve most if not all these shortfalls. It would also make the sacrifice a &quot;shared&quot; sacrifice, not an &quot;attack public employees sacrifice&quot;. Our business friendly governor could also show a little love to public education by restoring the money taken from the K-12 school aide fund and elimintating the business tax cuts he has made at the expense of retirees, the working poor and middle class. Instead, he insists on an attack on public employees and their right to negotiate fairly with their employers. We haven't seen these kinds of attacks since the early part of the 20th century, when unions had to fight for a sensible work day, fair wages, protection from unsafe work conditions, child labor laws and multiple other items that resulted in a country that moved in the direction of being a country trully for all and not for just the wealthy few. Our governor and his supporters want to return to the days when the masses are abused to benefit the wealthy. Afterall, millionaires are really struggling today. We can't expect them to pay their workers a decent wage and provide benefits such as health insurance. They might have to sell one of their houses in Florida, California, or overseas. How could they ever survive with only two or three vacation homes instead of five or six?


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

The masses are abused by the wealthy? The wealthy grease the wheels and create the jobs. Most employers do care and pay their workers a decent wage. I'm not sure who you work for but I don't want what I earn being dictated by a bureaucrat or some one like you.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 11:10 a.m.

Another example of school districts and teachers trying to give back to help the budget issues that face our educational system. Yet for some, it still isn't enough. I wonder if professional lawyers and doctors are giving back money in their offices across Michigan? Like I have said before, education is a people business so of course 85% of money goes towards the people who work with children. As teachers continue to give back, put things into perspective. Football coaches at college level make over a million a year, professional football players are locked out because they are arguing over sharing billions of dollars with owners, and UofM wants to add/renovate Crisler at a pretty heavy price tag. I applaud Saline teachers for doing what they had to do to help with some of the problem. The bigger fight still needs to be in Lansing, where they need to figure out funding for education where cutting year after year isn't going to be an issue.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

The shocking part - for those of us in our income range - is that there are enough people to pay for these tickets. But, guess what,as noted, there are!!!! They are not the teachers, the police officers, or the firefighters....


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.

If people are unintelligent enough to pay whatever a football or sporting ticket costs then don't complain about the coach's salaries. I agree with what you are saying but as long as people continue paying sports salries will continue to climb.

David Parker

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 10:47 a.m.

Labor costs are 85% of budget. Yet they help with only 25% of budget deficit. union chose to kill their young instead of across board small cuts. Kids lose programs &amp; some of the most enthusiastic teachers.

Jake C

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

I don't see it as being that simple. Let's say you're the owner of a private business with 10 employees. Your revenue for one year drops by 10% (comparable to the $6M shortfall in the Saline District's $64M budget). Your employees worked as hard as they could, and the drop in revenue was not due to anything they did wrong, but just general economic (and political) conditions. If you were the business owner, how would you respond? 10 employees, 10% shortfall... how about you just fire one employee? But do you fire the officer manager who's worked there for 30 years and makes $60k, or the receptionist who's been there for 2 years and who makes $30k? Do you do the &quot;fair&quot; thing and drop everyone's pay &amp; benefits by 10%, making everyone miserable? Shut off internet access, eliminate trash pickup, free coffee, and office birthday parties? Or do you try to expand your business by toughing it out and seeking out new resources while your competitors are eliminating services? I understand that the state public school system is not the same as a private business, but the solution to fixing a budget gap is not always to go and fire your most valuable employees, or just cut everyone's pay across the board.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Mr. Parker, How do you know that the laid off teachers are some of the &quot;most enthusiastic&quot;? Nice hyperbole with the &quot;kill their young&quot; comment...


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 10:44 a.m.

The Saline teachers have definitely shown a willingness to help the district stay afloat, in times when Mr. Snyder would have districts broke.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 10:29 a.m.

Odd how Saline residents still complain about their teachers not giving up enough, when they won't give up anything to help the schools. Teachers weren't even required to give up anything at this time, and yet they gave up (between concessions in benefits and unpaid days of work) thousands per teacher. They met the goal that was set for them in concessions by their superintendent, in order to help the children. However, Saline residents voted down a millage to give up 100 per family per year. Why do residents complain about the teachers concessions when they weren't willing to help at all? I am sure I will get many comments about teachers making too much money and having too many benefits and not being worth that kind of money and benefits. However teachers in Saline are wonderful teachers, and if you are hung up on test scores, they have some of the best in the state. Did you know that Michigan spends 30-40,000 per prisoner, but only 7,000 per student? If you are interested there is a great letter comparing the budget for prisoners to the budget for students at this site: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> (second letter on the page).


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

I have to make sacrifices to support saline schools. What. My taxes are the sacrifices I pay to support these schools. Its apparent the MEA members are running the comments.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

Hmmmm, yet Michigan spending on education is at an all time high. The Bond proposal in Feb would have use capital long term dollars to pay for annual expenses. Sorry, we will not issue the Saline Schools a VISA card and run up long term debt. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

I agree completely. Do children and teens not have rights? Why do we give those people who have committed crimes more than those students who will be the future of our state? Perhaps if we spent much more of that money on education, the amount of those in prison will drastically decline. Or we can cut more education, fund schools with less money, the graduation rate will decline further, and prison populations will skyrocket costing much more to the taxpayers than even doubling the amount per student given out now.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Excellent point. Education costs money. People should put their money where their mouth is.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Towny, what sacrifice are you willing to make to balance the Saline School budget?