News Bites

Michigan Teachers Nation’s Highest Paid Given State’s Lower Cost Of Living

Michigan public school teachers are the highest-paid in the nation when the local cost of living is factored into comparisons. In terms of its purchasing power, the average Michigan teacher pay of $63,878 is equivalent to $71,773 elsewhere.

That’s what a nonprofit called EdBuild discovered when National Public Radio asked it to investigate. The organization used 2015-16 average salaries from every state to do the calculations.

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How ‘Ineffective’ Michigan Teachers Get $26k More Than ‘Highly Effective’ Ones

Under the Utica Community Schools teachers' contract, a teacher deemed “ineffective” can collect as much as $26,000 more each year than a colleague of equivalent seniority who is rated “highly effective.” The difference is due to extra compensation given to teachers who have accumulated academic credentials beyond a basic bachelors degree requirement, which is a common practice statewide.

The non-profit public policy think tank Brookings Institution stated, "the fact that teachers with master’s degrees are no more effective in the classroom, on average, than their colleagues without advanced degrees is one of the most consistent findings in education research."

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Detroit Closed 194 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In 2016-17

The city of Detroit issued 194 orders to shut down medical marijuana and marijuana-related facilities during the two year-period stretching from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2018, city data show. Detroit’s Deputy Press Secretary Tiffany Crawford said that some locations that received shutdown orders closed voluntarily, while others “required assistance by the Detroit Police Department for closing.”

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Breaking Tax Cut Promise In 2011 Cost Michigan Taxpayers $4.3 Billion (So Far)

In 2007, Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed what was labeled as a temporary tax hike, taking the Michigan income tax from 3.9 percent to 4.35 percent. One provision would have reversed the increase by 0.1 percent a year starting in 2011.

But in 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder and a Republican Legislature canceled all but one of those annual rollbacks. As a result, since that year Michigan income taxpayers have sent a total of $4.3 billion more to Lansing than would be the case had the tax cut promise been kept.

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Number Of Unionized Charter Schools In Michigan: 2.4 Percent

According to the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, just 7 out of 294 public charter schools are unionized in Michigan.

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Did You Know? Michigan Wolf-Dog Ownership Restrictions

Michigan law requires a permit to own a wolf-dog hybrid, and prohibits ownership by anyone who has been convicted of animal cruelty, or who has committed a felony within the last decade. According to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of the 2000 law regulating wolf-dog hybrids, opponents argued it is unfair to single out one type of dog for special regulations when other breeds including pit bulls, rottweilers, and Dobermans are known to exhibit predatory behavior.

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Michigan Population Rising Again, Still Below 2004 Peak

Michigan’s population saw a net increase of 28,866 from July 2016 to July 2017, according to U.S. Census estimates. There are 9,962,311 people living in Michigan as of July. There’s 86,112 more people living in Michigan than 2011, a 0.9 percent increase. However, the state is still below the peak population level it touched in 2004, which was 10,055,315 residents.

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Detroit: 12 Years And $77k For City To Produce Police Shooting Data

Vice News, a progressive media conglomerate out of New York, recently garnered a lot attention for a far-reaching news story on the number of times since 2010 that members of the 50 largest U.S. police departments reportedly shot at someone while on duty.

Notably missing from the story were key data on the number of Detroit police shootings, fatal and otherwise. According to Vice News, Detroit’s police department said it would take 3,120 business days – equivalent to 12 years – and at least $77,532 to provide records that, in the words of the media outlet, “other departments made available online for free.”

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Go To Jail, Pay $60 Per Night

Michigan law authorizes jails to charge inmates up to $60 per night for the costs of housing them. Many misdemeanors carry a maximum incarceration penalty of 93 days. As a result, inmates could be released into the community owing as much as $5,580 to the county for housing – in addition to any criminal fines, legal fees, or restitution ordered by the judge.

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Half a Million Prevailing Wage Rates For 162,000 Construction Workers

Michigan’s prevailing wage law requires contractors who bid on government construction projects to pay wages based on union pay scales provided by union officials.

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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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