No Raises For Ten Years? Teachers' Contract Tells a Different Story

Grand Ledge educators have gotten pay increases

In a report by Lansing TV station WLNS on a public meeting related to the Grand Ledge public schools, teachers made claims about their pay that don't stand up to scrutiny. The district’s latest teachers union contract expired June 30.

The report quoted teachers who said they haven’t had pay raises in 10 years. One described a stipend of up to $4,000 to teach one extra class period a day as “tiny.”

The TV station reported: “Some teachers say they haven’t gotten pay increases in 10 years and that’s led some to resign.”

That is contradicted by the last union contract, which stipulated raises for both years it was in effect. The contract provided annual seniority-based “step increases” of around $800 for teachers with 13 years or less on the job, and $2,000 “longevity bonuses” for teachers in their 14th year. These bonuses rose to $3,250 for the 15th through 19th year of a teacher's employment; teachers with 20 or more years on the job received a bonus of $3,825.

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Teachers who were rated “ineffective” were not eligible for the pay raises. However, in the three most recent annual evaluations, only three times was this lowest rating given. The district had 280 teachers in 2014-15.

A review of the previous two union contracts from 2008 to 2013 also included raises for all teachers.

The article quoted teacher Jessica Fuentes saying she had to quit after seven years.

“The decision to leave was beyond difficult,” Fuentes said. “But as I had a family I realized there was no way that I could balance my work and my family life especially with the threat … the constant threat really of having a planned period taken away. The stress it causes, it’s not worth the tiny stipend that the district offers.”

Under the last contract, Fuentes, in her seventh year with the district, would have been earning between $45,200 and $48,200 per year. She would have had a salary of $54,680 with a master's degree and 10 years of service. The mid-Michigan school district’s teacher pay scale is slightly below the state average for all public schools.

In an effort to save money by not hiring more teachers as well as allowing teachers to earn more, the district encouraged teachers to teach a class during what would be their planning period.

What Fuentes described “as a tiny stipend” could amount to $3,300 to $4,000 a year for the teacher who taught during the daily planning period the entire year. The teacher who taught the extra class only during one of the three terms in the school year would receive between $1,000 to $1,250, based on years of service.
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See also:

Myth and Exaggerations About Teacher Pay

A Closer Look At Teacher Salaries In Michigan

They Myth of Teacher Poverty

Teacher Quits, Rips GOP 'Goons' - Who Gave Her District $5.3 Million Extra Despite Fewer Students