In a recent newspaper article, the superintendent of the Fowlerville school district said: “There are no employees are [sic] getting raises. Every position in the district, from mine on down, has taken concessions.”

To those not familiar with the public school bureaucracy’s jargon, this may sound like no employees in that district will get an increase in their salary. That’s not the case. The tip-off comes in the next line: “We do have contractual obligations that have step increments that occur at various times.”

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

In other words, no employees are getting raises, except the employees who are getting raises.

Here’s how it works. In unionized public schools, there are three kinds of pay raises: “across-the-board,” “step” and “lane.” The first describes increases that are periodically given to all employees under the terms of a union contract.

“Step” and “lane” increases are automatically given to particular employees for racking-up another year on the job (“step”), or acquiring another academic credential (“lane”). In many cases, even if employees get no “across-the-board” increase, they still receive their “step” and “lane” pay bumps.

As demonstrated by the superintendent’s quotes above, many of those immersed within the public school bureaucracy take those “step” and “lane” pay hikes for granted, treating them as virtual entitlements.

This is why pay freezes in the unionized public school world don’t mean the same thing as pay freezes in the real world.

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:

Facebook
Twitter

There aren’t many policies that get near unanimous support from economists, but free trade is one of them. Despite this, a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign, heard from both political parties, was that free trade was somehow harmful to the United States and corrective action was needed. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, makes the case for why President Trump’s assessment of free trade is misguided.

Related Sites