Michigan's Largest School Districts Breaking Teacher Pay Law

12 of 20 ignore law completely, another 6 pay lip service

As many as 18 of Michigan’s 20 largest public school districts may be violating the law by not giving their best teachers a “significant” merit pay opportunity, according to documents received in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Lansing, Waterford and Walled Lake do not have a merit pay system. Neither do Utica, Traverse City, Farmington, L’Anse Creuse, Warren, Grand Rapids, Livonia, Plymouth-Canton or Rochester. Ann Arbor, Troy, Wayne-Westland, Forest Hills, Dearborn and Chippewa Valley offer minimal amounts. For example, Chippewa Valley says it offers a $75 bonus if the teacher is accredited.

The 2010 law in question requires each school district to “implement and maintain a method of compensation for its teachers and school administrators that includes job performance and job accomplishments as a significant factor in determining compensation and additional compensation.”

Only Kalamazoo and Detroit unambiguously meet the law’s requirement. Detroit offers merit pay of up to $5,000 per year. Kalamazoo offers merit pay up of to $1,600.

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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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