News Story

Teacher Active With Union Got $95,000 Last Year, Says More Respect And Money Needed

District 20 miles from Ann Arbor

The local newspaper The Manchester Mirror published a Jan. 3 story that said teachers were leaving the Manchester Community Schools district, due primarily to a lack of respect and low pay.

“MCS Teachers, staff attrition because of lack of respect, low pay, and more” was the article’s headline.

The piece quoted teacher Jared Throneberry, who said: “The two reasons employees are leaving are lack of professional respect and/or higher pay. I have never seen this many employees leave, or consider leaving before the end of the school year. It’s most disheartening to see our district slowly disintegrating in front of our very eyes. Shouldn’t this be something our administrators and our Board be addressing immediately?”

Throneberry, who has negotiated contracts for the local teachers union, had a gross salary of $95,842 in 2020-21.

The union-negotiated pay scale has a top base salary of $84,274. Throneberry is also the music director at the school. Teacher pay within a district can vary greatly based on any extra compensation teachers can earn for accepting additional duties that are optional under the union contract.

The average teacher salary in Manchester schools was $62,195 in 2019-20, according to the state of Michigan.

Leslie Rollins is the teachers union president at Manchester and was mentioned in the story. Rollins’ gross pay in 2020-21 was $68,514. Rollins’ gross pay increased from $56,945 in 2018-19, before the pandemic, to the $68,514 in 2020-21, a 20% increase over the two-year period.

The story highlighted the departure of Manchester high school art teacher Debra Groth, saying she resigned abruptly on Dec. 10.

Groth’s gross pay was $94,378 in her last full year as a teacher in Chippewa Valley Schools in 2016-17. According to her LinkedIn account, Groth left that district in 2016 after 18 years and started her own artist workshop in Chelsea in December 2017, which she still operates. Groth was not listed as one of the Manchester teachers who were enrolled in the Michigan Public Schools Employees Retirement System for the 2020-21 year.

The Manchester Public Schools administration did not respond to emails seeking more information.

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.