When Curtis Ivery observed his 20th anniversary as chancellor of Wayne County Community College last year, press reports listed his salary at $250,000. As far as his base pay goes, that was correct. But when it comes to high-ranking municipal officials like Ivery, the base pay is often just the starting point.

Ivery actually collected $368,836 in 2014-15, which makes him the highest-paid person covered by the state’s school pension system. This list is composed largely of public school and community college employees. Here are the top 10 highest paid in Michigan:

  1. Curtis Ivery, Wayne County Community College, superintendent: $368,836
  2. Michael DeVault, Macomb Intermediate School District, superintendent: $307,308
  3. James Jacobs, Macomb Community College, superintendent: $283,856
  4. Timothy Meyer, Oakland Community College, chancellor: $260,000
  5. Lisa Hagel, Genesee County Intermediate School District, superintendent: $239,473
  6. Sherman Ostrander, Edwardsburg Public Schools, Superintendent: $235,000
  7. Michael Rice, Kalamazoo Public Schools, superintendent: $233,820
  8. Conway Jeffress, Schoolcraft Community College, superintendent: $225,800
  9. Ralph Bland, Edison Public School Academy, superintendent: $225,012
  10. Barbara Fowler, Troy City School District, superintendent: $222,054

According to the college, Ivery’s total compensation also included a $50,000 merit pay raise and a $40,000 longevity bonus.

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Michael DeVault was the second-highest paid employee on a school pension system membership list that the state maintains. DeVault collected $307,308 as the superintendent of the Macomb Intermediate School District, making him the highest paid K-12 employee. DeVault’s contract with the ISD was signed in 2012 and sets his base salary at $179,900. His office didn’t respond to an email seeking information about the difference between his base salary and final compensation number.

Michigan’s school pension system covers mostly employees at regular school districts, intermediate school districts and community colleges. The top ten highest-paid members of the system are all public school or ISD superintendents and community college officials.

The formula used by the pension system to calculate retirement benefits includes salaries, bonuses and other forms of compensation. For example, a teacher who collects extra for coaching a team or teaching summer school has those payments included in their pension benefit calculations.


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