Does a typical Ann Arbor teacher make $60,000 or $72,000 a year?

In an story this week, the head of the Ann Arbor teachers union stated that the “median” salary for teachers in that district is about $60,000 a year.

But why use the “median” figure instead of the average?

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At $72,058, the “average” salary for Ann Arbor teachers is actually 20 percent higher than the “median salary.” The average salary figure is according to the Michigan Department of Education. The state released its “average salary” 2010 report earlier this week. Ann Arbor’s average salary was the 37th highest in the state, out of 551 school districts.

Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said salaries are reported as “averages” by the state. State records report that the average Ann Arbor teacher made about $700 less in 2010 compared to 2009 when they made an average of $72,716.

A median salary is the level of pay where half the teachers are above that level and half are below. According to the district’s website, there were 22 teachers in the district in 2009 that had a salary of $100,000 or more. The highest paid teacher made $117,215 in salary.

A first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree would have made $39,540 in 2009, according to the teachers union contract.

Ann Arbor Education Association President Brit Satchwell responded to an email but said he wouldn’t comment because he didn’t consider Michigan Capitol Confidential to be “true news media.”

The Michigan Education Association, which is the parent organization of the AAEA, has told local school districts not to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The FOIA request is seeking emails from school district staff regarding discussions of a work stoppage that the union is considering. Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan.

The Mackinac Center is the parent organization of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Michigan Capitol Confidential broke the story about the MEA polling its members regarding the potentially illegal work stoppage.

Ann Arbor Public Schools Spokeswoman Liz Margolis didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.


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