Michigan and local taxpayers provided the West Bloomfield School District with more than $13,500 per student in 2008-2009, yet it still faces a $1.7 million deficit this year and $3.8 million next year. Employee compensation makes up 85 percent of the budget, so the district has asked teachers to help close the gap with revisions to their union contract. Their response was to picket, which they did Monday night.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, the average teacher salary in West Bloomfield was $70,192 in 2009. This ranks 40th among 551 school districts in the state, and 10th highest among the 24 Oakland County districts that reported teacher salaries.

West Bloomfield teachers currently do not contribute anything towards the cost of their own health insurance premiums. The coverage costs taxpayers $20,511 for a "family plan," the most-popular, and is purchased from the Michigan Education Special Services Association, an arm of the state's largest teachers union. The district also provides employees with dental, life, long-term disability and vision insurance at no cost to themselves.

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

The 2009 statewide public and private employer average cost for a family insurance plan premium was $13,160, some 36 percent less than what West Bloomfield pays. On average, employees in Michigan contribute about 20 percent toward the costs of these premiums.

To close the budget deficit the district has asked teachers for a 10 percent across-the-board salary reduction, and to pay between $40 and $100 per month for health insurance. The only salary reductions contained in a counter-proposal from the union are to coaching and extracurricular stipends (there are 179 different varieties of these). The union actually proposes salary increases for 2011-2012.

Given the current economic realities, many will find it hard to understand why school employee unions won't do more. Johnny Mickles, a field representative for the American Federation of Teachers, provided some insight at a recent state association conference: "It's my opinion, and every teacher in Michigan's opinion, that the district always has money." By "district," of course, he means "taxpayers."

See also:

Where Has All the Money Gone?

Analysis: Pseudo School 'Cuts'

Analysis: We Still Need to Reform Teacher Pay

Recaps of New Teachers' Union Contracts



Related Articles:

The Flint Water Crisis and the Challenge of City Infrastructure

Let Them Work: Solutions for Michigan’s Overbearing Occupational Licensing Laws

Detroit Classrooms Are Not Overcrowded

Andrew Coulson: In Memoriam

Vernuccio Interviewed by Wall Street Journal

New Bills Would Put Teeth Into Ignored Teacher Strike Law

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:


Public charter schools give parents more options. They provide options that may not be available in a traditional public school setting. ChoosingCharters.com tells the stories of parents and students who find value in public charter schools and how their lives have been improved with choice. Visit ChoosingCharters.com for more information.

Related Sites