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

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Status Quo School Defenders: Money For Me, But Bad For Thee

Current administrators making over $200K per year fight changes to the system

One of the consistent talking points against education reform bills that have been proposed has been that they open the door for “profiteers” to take over public education.

However, a look at the compensation (salaries, benefits and other perks) of some of the most vocal critics shows they are doing quite well in the business relationships they have with conventional public school districts.

Here’s a look at five people who are compensated at about $200,000 a year or more with a big hand from taxpayers through relationships with conventional public schools.

Salary information was gathered from documents listed online in each organization’s financial reports or was supplied by the school district.

CYNTHIA WILLIAMS, executive director of the Michigan Education Special Services Association: $293,552 compensation (2011)

MESSA is a third-party administrator for health insurance for public school employees and is affiliated with the Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teacher union. Williams has an annual salary of $238,172. MESSA’s revenues for its insurance increased from $1.22 billion in 2010 to $1.24 billion in 2011.

VICKIE MARKAVITCH, superintendent of the Oakland Intermediate School District: $285,965 compensation (2012)

Markavitch makes $190,965 a year as a salary on top of a $65,000 a year pension. Markavitch retired and then was rehired by the district as superintendent. She has been one of the most outspoken critics against the education reform bills. She said the bills would have "public tax dollars profiting Wall Street." 

PATRICIA GREEN, superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools: $273,551 compensation (2012)

Green's annual salary was $245,000 in 2012. She was critical of the educational reform bills because she said they would expand charter schools and hurt funding for conventional school districts.

STEVE COOK, president of the Michigan Education Association: $219,376 compensation (2012)

Cook said that charter schools pay “private companies” that were “out to make a profit …”

The MEA gets the majority of its money from dues or agency fees collected from its members. The MEA’s payments for employees’ benefits increased from $21.6 million in 2011 to $24.1 million in 2012, an increase of 11.5 percent. Cook's salary in 2011 was $182,154.

WILLIAM MAYES, executive director of the non-profit Michigan Association of School Administrators: $198,016 compensation (2011)

Mayes was critical of the education reform bills, saying they allowed “profiteers” to take taxpayer dollars. His annual salary in 2011 was $150,059.

MASA’s mission is “continuous improvement of public education.” It funds itself by charging school districts a membership fee to belong as well as charging for two educational conferences it puts on. 

MASA’s payments for employee benefits and compensation increased from $2.1 million in 2010 to 2.7 million in 2011, an increase of 30.5 percent.

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See also:

Public Schools: 'Profit' Bad For Others, Good For Us

Administrator Group Rails Against Education 'Profiteers;' Makes Millions Off Schools

Northern Michigan University economist Hugo Eyzaguirre discusses how raising the minimum wage will hurt emerging local economies. See more at "Raising the Minimum Wage, Lowering Opportunity."


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