News Story

The Salary History of a West Bloomfield Public School Teacher

Typical educator compensation grows to $129k in 11 years

The total compensation of a West Bloomfield school teacher grew 173 percent over an 11 year period, going from $47,346 to $129,637. The teacher’s compensation history is being used by the West Bloomfield School District on its website as an example to explain how the district is getting less money than its neighbors

The information was unveiled at a school board meeting and was part of a presentation showing that West Bloomfield has received $105 million less in state funding over the last five than the neighboring Bloomfield Hills district.

The teacher’s salary started at $31,881 in 1999-00 and grew to $85,836 in 2010-11. Meanwhile, insurance payments climbed from $9,309 to $19,304 per year, and retirement contributions jumped from $3,717 to $16,854 per year.

“Whether it’s sustainable or not is up to the district,” said Michael Van Beek, the education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “They could afford to pay for this salary schedule if they didn’t double what they pay for health insurance over this same time and nearly double what they had to pay for in retirement costs. It’s the combination of these three things, two of which the district directly controls, that make these unsustainable. The other issue with this method for paying teachers is that salary schedules lock in labor costs and stifle districts’ ability to innovatively deal with declining revenue or increasing costs. Since the bulk of all school spending goes towards teacher pay, this severely handcuffs districts financially.”

West Bloomfield superintendent JoAnn Andrees didn’t respond to an e-mail sent to her and her administrative assistant seeking comment.

The powerpoint notes that some employees of the district - those not represented by the West Bloomfield Education Association teachers' union - have taken 5 percent pay cuts for the last half of last year and all of this year; and contribute monthly to the cost of their insurance premiums. This is put in contrast with the WBEA union membership, which has not taken the pay cuts and does not contribute to the cost of their health insurance plans.

“The teachers are often very fast to point out their starting salaries and they point out a low number,” said Leon Drolet, director of Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. “What they don’t tell you is that they get these large percentage increases every year. A situation where they get those type of raises every year is not uncommon."

Van Beek did a similar analysis of a mythical teacher in Saline Public Schools using their existing teachers’ union contract.

He found that a teacher starting with a salary of $40,425 in 2009 would see it grow to $111,750 by the 15th year, an increase of 178 percent. That mythical Saline teacher didn’t have any extra-curricular activities but did earn a graduate degree in the eighth year.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.