News Story

Teacher Gets $80k Salary, Spends Half His Time on Union Work

Ann Arbor teachers union agitating for more

When teacher Frederick Klein addressed the Ann Arbor Board of Education about teacher compensation at its June 13 meeting, he said he represented 1,200 employees as vice president of the Ann Arbor Education Association.

He is also one of several teachers who are paid by school districts throughout Michigan to do union work on school time; Klein’s arrangement lets him spend half his time on union business. The district paid him $80,163 in 2015-16. Almost half, $39,078, was for union work.

In 2015, an analysis from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy showed that taxpayers pay at least $3 million annually so educators can do union business while on the clock.

At least 70 public school districts had so-called release time arrangements in 2015.

Ann Arbor Public Schools is currently negotiating with the union over a new contract. While this is underway, there has been a parade of teachers complaining publicly at school board meetings about salaries.

At the latest meeting, as reported by the news site, three teachers criticized the district teacher pay levels. Their pay last year ranged from $77,729 to $86,414. At a previous meeting, a teacher who made $83,000 a year complained he had to work a second job to make his mortgage payment.

“We value our teachers and all of the staff that make AAPS exceptional. AAPS and all bargaining units are currently engaged in the negotiations process we have all committed to,” said Ann Arbor board member Christine Stead in an email. “We are confident that we will reach an agreement that benefits everyone as best we can for the long term. We are aligned in our collective work toward an exceptional Ann Arbor Public Schools for our students, teachers, staff, families, and community.

Klein responded to an email but didn't answer a question about what he thought was a fair salary for a teacher. Instead, he said Michigan Capitol Confidential was not a credible news source.