Unique interactive database reveals “important details about local education policy,” says Center analyst
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Dr. Ryan S. Olson
Director of Education Policy
MIDLAND — Union contracts for all local school districts in Michigan — including 170 that will expire this year — were released today by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. All collective bargaining agreements covering teachers, janitors, bus drivers, mechanics, secretaries, librarians and a multitude of other positions are available on the Center’s Web site as PDF files.
"The collective bargaining agreements in the Center’s unique database reveal important details about local education policy," said Dr. Ryan S. Olson, the Center’s director of education policy. "State and federal governments issue scores of mandates and laws that constrain school districts, but local boards and employee unions still bargain many substantive issues. These include automatic salary increases and health benefits, as well as lesser-known policies such as calendars, class sizes, professional development, sick days, classroom assignments and how a teacher’s work performance can be evaluated.
"This database will serve several purposes," Olson continued. "Analyzing other districts’ contracts can help school leaders negotiate meaningful improvements to local policy. Direct access to contract language can help reporters trying to cut through the bargaining cross-fire. The contracts should also be interesting to Michigan taxpayers, since more than $19 billion was spent on Michigan K-12 public schools last year."
At www.michiganschooldatabases.org, users can select "District Collective Bargaining Agreements" and choose a school district name to view a complete list of contracts. For more information on school district collective bargaining in Michigan, users can consult the Center’s book on union negotiations, "A Collective Bargaining Primer for Michigan School Board Members."