In response to Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop's plan to, among other things, reduce public employee pay by 5 percent, the Michigan Education Association is repeating a claim they've made in the past. This time around, the MEA asserts that they've saved taxpayers $1 billion by accepting reduced compensation packages through their locally bargained contracts. The statistics tell a different story.

According to data from the Center for Educational Performance and Information, total state spending in 2006 on salaries and insurance (two items negotiated by MEA representatives) for 212,000 full-time equivalent school employees was $10.58 billion. For 208,000 FTE employees in 2008 it was $10.43 billion. While the aggregate costs have declined slightly, the state still spent more on salaries and insurance per public school employee in 2008 than it did in 2006.

So, where, exactly, are the "savings" touted by the MEA?