The next time you hear some expert discussing the Detroit Public Schools’ financial straits, remember this:

The burden imposed on Detroit schools by Michigan’s state-run school pension system rose 67 percent in just five years, from $9,163 per full-time employee in 2008-09 to $15,322 in 2013-14, the latest year for which audited statements are available. While the number of Detroit public school employees fell almost in half in that time, the rising pension cost per employee means that overall the district is paying almost as much into the retirement system despite a huge drop in the number of covered employees.

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