A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Nearly every aspect of a teacher's job falls under the rules of a union contract. The following is an analysis of the current collective bargaining agreement for teachers and a few other employee groups in Farmington Public Schools. The district employs about 890 teachers and enrolls 11,900 students. Of its $158 million operating budget (excluding capital and debt services expenditures), about 67 percent goes towards paying employees covered by this contract. 

Teacher salaries are determined by a single salary schedule that creates automatic raises based solely an employee's years of experience and graduate degrees. Although teachers are evaluated (once every three years), their pay is not determined by their evaluations or the performance of their students. 

In Farmington, teachers get a 4 to 6 percent automatic annual pay raise as they progress through the "steps" of the salary schedule, and get a 20 percent salary increase when they reach the final "step." The entire salary schedule grew by 1 percent this year, meaning every teacher got a 1 percent raise regardless of their position on the salary schedule. The vast majority of teachers in Farmington make a base salary that's between $56,799 and $88,303. The average teacher salary in Farmington was $71,264 in 2008. 

The contract also covers working conditions, like the minimum number of hours teachers must be at school. Teachers are required to be at school for 7 hours and 15 minutes per day. Over the course of their 186 contractual work days, this amounts to 1,349 hours per year. The national average for all professions is 1,792 hours over the span of about 250 work days. 

The union contract also includes bonus pay for additional duties. Teachers get $1,500 per student over the class size limit (between 26 and 29, depending on the grade). They also are paid $24.30 per hour for supervising dances, class parties, extracurricular field trips, drama productions, athletic events, commencement services and other events. Teachers can earn extra cash by coaching or participating in other extracurricular activities like band, drama, yearbook, debate and many others. There are more than 100 different extracurricular positions available to teachers that pay between $521 and $14,762 annually. 

Farmington teachers do not have to contribute to the cost of their own health insurance premiums. Through its self-funded plan, the district spent $13.8 million in 2008 on health insurance for instructional employees, an average of about $11,600 per employee. Teachers choosing not to enroll district's medical plan get an annual $500 "cash-in-lieu" payment, while still maintaining dental, vision and life insurance from the district. 

School employees are entitled to a lifetime pension when they retire, and are also are given lifetime health benefits. Based on the state-run pension system's multiplier, the lifetime pension for a Farmington teacher with 30 years experience and an average base salary of $88,303 (the final "step" on the single salary schedule) would be $39,736. Although their pensions are controlled by the state, Farmington teachers also get a one-time severance payment of at least $4,000 from the district. 

A fully detailed analysis is below:

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Table of Contents:
Salary Schedule
Fringe Benefits
Pension and Retirement Benefits
Bonus Pay for Additional Duties or Certification
Leave/Sick Time
Work Schedule/Environment
Extra Curricular Activities Compensation

Salary Schedule

  • Base salaries are determined strictly by "steps," which use a matrix of years experience and graduate credit hours and degrees.
  • There of 11 "steps" on the schedule, meaning teachers get automatic pay raises for their first 11 years in the district.
  • Most of these pay raises are between 4 and 6 percent, except the last "step" which is worth an automatic 23 percent pay hike.
  • In addition to step increases, the entire salary schedule increases by 1 percent each year.
  • Teachers also receive annual longevity payments: $500 for each year between 15 and 19, $750 for 20 through 24, and $1000 for more than 25 years.
  • 74 percent of teachers have graduate degrees and 73 percent have more than 5 years experience, meaning the vast majority of teachers' base salary is between $56,799 and $88,303.
  • TheMichigan Department of Educationreported the average teacher salary in Farmington in 2007-08 was $71,264.

Fringe Benefits

  • In 2008, Farmington spent $13.8 million on health insurance for instructional employees, or about $1,162 per pupil.
  • The district uses a self-funded insurance plan and teacher have 4 options:
    • Farmington Health Plan 1: $250/$500 deductible, $5/$30 RX, $25/$50/$75 monthly employee premium (depending on plan type)
    • Farmington Health Plan 2: $100/$200 deductible, $5/$20 RX, district pays $250/$500 of co-pay maximums (50%)
    • HMO: $5/$10 RX, $10 office copay, $50 emergency room
    • Opt out of medical insurance: $500 annually payment with $5/$20 RX coverage
  • All fulltime teachers also receive long-term disability, dental, vision and life insurance ($50,000).

Pension and Retirement Benefits

  • As a severance package, teachers receive either $4,000 or $175 per year of public school employee, whichever is greater.
  • Teachers also get an additional $250 or $500 for announcing their retirement by a certain date.
  • Every teacher participates in the state-run Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System, a defined-benefit lifetime pension system.
  • Pension calculation: highest 3-year average compensation X 1.5 percent X years of service
  • Retirement eligibility: 30 years of service at age 46 or 15 years of service at age 55
  • Teacher contribution: 5.4 percent of salary
  • After 55, subsidized medical, dental and vision insurance for life (employees never contribute more than 18 percent of premiums)
  • Annual pension based on 30 years experience in Farmington Public Schools with base salary of $88,303 (final M.A. step): $39,736.35

Bonus Pay for Additional Duties or Certification

  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification: $1,500 annually
  • Hourly pay rate = salary/work days/7.25 hours (or 7.5 in elementary)
    • Example: For a teacher making the average salary ($71,264), this equates to $52.86/hr
    • Any work in the school building beyond normal school hours receives hourly salary rate as does any work done in the summer.
  • $0.35 per mile all required driving of personal automobiles
  • Summer school: $28.26/hr
  • Drivers education: $28.26/hr
  • Teachers acting as temporary substitutes: $28.26/hr
  • Cafeteria supervision: $28.26/hr
  • Sporting event ticket taker: $30.05/hr
  • Sporting even official: $30.05/hr
  • Saturday testing program: $24.58/hr
  • After school and Saturday detention: $24.58/hr
  • Outdoor education: $118.58/hr
  • Other extra duties at $24.30/hr:
    • School dance supervision
    • Grade or class parties
    • Athletic events or programs
    • Dramatic productions
    • Student fairs
    • Club meetings and field trips
    • Commencement exercises
    • Bus supervision
    • Emergencies
  • Department Chairpersons: (47 different positions): Chairs: $200-$2,607 (depends on size of department)
  • Travel between schools during lunch/conference periods: 1/24th of salary ($2,969 annually based on average teacher salary)
  • Conferences and conventions allotment: $80 (pooled fund from which teachers can draw a per capita amount)
  • Other special assignments: $470-$900 (based on experience)
    • Special education assignments
    • Reading specialists
    • Art consultants
    • Music consultants
  • Vocationally certified teachers: $100 stipend, $2 per student enrolled in course

Leave/Sick Time

  • Local union president: Year-long leave from all classroom duties with full pay and benefits (unlimited number of extensions)
  • Sabbatical: 1 year, 50 percent pay and full benefits
  • 12 sick leave days per year may be used for the following:
    • Personal illness
    • Immediate family illness
    • Maternity disability
    • Religious holidays
    • Funerals
  • 3 personal business leave days per year
  • MEA/NEA officer: No maximum leave time, may be compensated by district (seniority accrues)
  • 1 year leaves without pay or benefits (but seniority accrues):
    • Maternity
    • Child rearing
    • Adoption/Guardian
    • Elective public office
    • Peace Corps and Vista
    • Voluntary layoff
  • Health: If physician recommended, 4 year maximum (seniority accrues for 3 of those years)

Work Schedule/Environment

  • 186 contractual work days per year
  • Regular working day: 7 hours, 15 minutes (elementary: 7 hours, 30 minutes)
  • Total annual work hours: 1,349 (elementary: 1,395)
  • U.S. average hours per work year: 1,792
  • Pay for excessive class size in elementary:: $1,485-$1,543 per student over limit annually
  • Duty-free lunch period: 1 hour (elementary), 30 minutes (middle/high school)
  • Preparation/conference time per week: minimum of 200 minutes per week
    • Teachers may have time deferred and rolled over from year to year
  • Each school must be equipped with a staff lunchroom, lounge, restrooms, private telephone facilities and vending machines.
  • Teachers may not drive school buses.
  • Pay for excessive class size in secondary: $100 per student over limit
  • Pay for excessive student contacts per day (averaging more than 30 per period): $100 per student contact

Extra Curricular Activities Compensation

  • High school athletic coordinators: $6,016-$11,071
  • Coaching (based on experience)
    • All coaches receive a 10 percent "loyalty stipend" after accumulated 15 years experience
    • Head football, boys basketball and hockey coaches: $4,252-$7,824
      • Assistants: $2,727-$6,421
    • Head girls basketball: $4,211-$7,750
      • Assistants: $3,169-$6,274
    • Head wrestling: $4,051-$7,455
      • Assistants: $3,241-$5,956
    • Head track: $3,891-$7,159
      • Assistants: $3,113-$5,727
    • Head gymnastics: $3,810-$7,012
      • Assistants: $3,048-$5,610
    • Head swimming: $3,730-$6,864
    • Head volleyball: $3,650-$6,717
      • Assistants: $2,928-$5,388
    • Head baseball and softball: $3,570-$6,569
      • Assistants: $2,848-$5,388
    • Head lacrosse and soccer: $3,489-$6,421
      • Assistants: $2,768-$5,388
    • Head tennis, cross country and competitive cheerleading: $3,088-$5,683
      • Assistants: $2,366-$4,502
    • Head golf: $3,008-$5,536
      • Assistants: $2,447-$4,502
    • Head sideline cheerleading: $2,527-$4,650
      • Assistants: $2,126-$3,912
    • M.S. basketball: $2,687-$4,945
      • Assistants: $2,510-$3,956
    • M.S. cross country: $1,885-$3,469
      • Assistants: $1,508-$2,775
    • M.S. football and track: $2,366-$4,355
      • Assistants: $1,893-$3,484
    • M.S. volleyball and wrestling: $2,206-$4,059
      • Assistants: $1,765-$3,247
    • Special Olympics head coach: $3,008-$5,536
      • Assistants: $1,504-$2,768
  • Music and Fine Arts
    • Auditorium: $8,202-$14,762
    • H.S. musical: $7,220-$13,285
    • H.S. instrumental music: $4,011-$7,381
    • H.S. dance: $3,730-$6,864
    • H.S. drama (per play): $3,730-$6,864
    • H.S. musical auxiliary support: $3,610-$6,643
    • H.S. marching band: $3,489-$6,421
    • H.S. vocal music: $3,209-$5,905
    • M.S. musical: $3,209-$5,905
    • H.S. marching band assistant: $2,607-$4,798
    • M.S. band: $2,539-$4,672
    • M.S. orchestra: $2,539-$4,672
    • M.S. drama (per play): $2,246-$4,178
    • M.S. vocal: $2,138-$3,934
    • Elem. Instrumental music: $2,005-$3,690
    • Elem. Vocal music: $1,067-$1,963
    • M.S. musical auxiliary support: $802-$1,476
  • Miscellaneous
    • Forensics: $3,072-$5,654
    • RAGE: $2,940-$5,410
    • Student council: $2,671-$4,916
    • Poms: $2,539-$4,672
    • Debate: $2,246-$4,178
    • FUPE: $2,246-$4,178
    • M.S. student council: $2,138-$3,934
    • M.S. yearbook: $2,138-$3,934
    • DECA: $2,005-$3,690
    • Yearbook: $1,604-$2,952
    • Peer mediation coach: $1,604-$2,952
    • Intramurals: $1,468-$2,701
    • Quiz Bowl: $1,468-$2,701
    • National Honor Society: $1,324-$2,436
    • Model U.N.: $1,203-$2,214
    • SADD: $1,203-$2,214
    • Senior class advisor: $1,203-$2,214
    • Interact: $1,203-$2,214
    • M.S. intramurals: $1,083-$1,993
    • Paper: $1,067-$1,963
    • Publication: $1,067-$1,963
    • M.S. forensics: $1,067-$1,963
    • Junior National Honor Society: $1,067-$1,963
    • Service squad: $802-$1,476
    • Safety patrol: $802-$1,476
    • Elem. Student council: $802-$1,476
    • Clubs (teachers may hold multiple positions): $521-$960
    • Community service coordinator: $521-$960
    • Science Olympics: $521-$960
    • Freshman class advisor: $521-$960
    • Sophomore class advisor: $521-$960
    • Junior class advisor: $521-$960

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