News Story

Here’s Where Teachers Get the Highest Pay in Michigan

But schools don't always submit accurate numbers

Teachers in Farmington Public Schools are paid more than $83,000 per year on average, giving the metro Detroit district the state’s highest paid educators, according to an annual report from the Michigan Department of Education.

The top 10 districts with the highest teacher salaries are:

    1. Farmington: $83,903
    2. Walled Lake: $80,058
    3. Warren Consolidated: $78,866
    4. Livonia: $78,183
    5. Wyandotte: $78,044
    6. Utica: $77,435
    7. Centerline: $77,118
    8. Allen Park: $76,531
    9. Birmingham: $75,846
    10. Grosse Pointe: $74,824

The list comes with a footnote, however: In analyzing this state's compilation of school district pay in recent years, Michigan Capitol Confidential has found a number of errors.

For example, Flint Community School teachers reportedly saw their average salary increase from $62,920 in 2013-14 to $77,211 the following year. That would represent a one-year pay increase of 23 percent, and make Flint teachers the ninth-highest paid in the state.

The $62,920 salary figure is consistent with the Flint district’s union contract, which prescribes a salary scale that tops out at $66,780. But in the 2014-15 school year, a separate database of teachers in the state-run school pension system indicates that just one of Flint’s 630-plus teachers earned more than the supposed average of $77,211.

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Bilal Tawwab said Tuesday in an email that the district was looking into how the salary information was reported to the MDE.

Every year, the Michigan Department of Education releases salary information on what school districts pay their teachers, in a report called “Bulletin 1014.” The data is fairly reliable, but errors do creep in.

The Michigan Department of Education reiterated an earlier statement that each year it asks school districts to verify that the information in the database is accurate before it is published. Still, sometimes the numbers don’t add up.

According to the MDE annual report, DeTour Area Schools has the state’s highest average teacher salary at $89,373, which is not accurate. Superintendent Angela Reed explained that the rural Upper Peninsula district has an arrangement with a charter school called the DeTour Arts and Technology Academy. The charter school teachers are considered employees of the DeTour school district, while the school district’s teacher positions are divided between the two separate entities. The MDE report shows the average salary at the DeTour charter school is $0 per year.

If the DeTour figures were correct, that would make Farmington’s average teacher salary of $83,903 the state’s second-highest in 2014-15, and DeTour the highest. The top-of-the-scale salary in the Farmington district’s union contract is $107,000 a year.