Nearly every aspect of a teacher's job falls under the rules of a union contract. The following is an analysis of the current collective bargaining agreement for teachers and a few other employee groups in Farmington Public Schools. The district employs about 890 teachers and enrolls 11,900 students. Of its $158 million operating budget (excluding capital and debt services expenditures), about 67 percent goes towards paying employees covered by this contract.
Teacher salaries are determined by a single salary schedule that creates automatic raises based solely an employee's years of experience and graduate degrees. Although teachers are evaluated (once every three years), their pay is not determined by their evaluations or the performance of their students.
In Farmington, teachers get a 4 to 6 percent automatic annual pay raise as they progress through the "steps" of the salary schedule, and get a 20 percent salary increase when they reach the final "step." The entire salary schedule grew by 1 percent this year, meaning every teacher got a 1 percent raise regardless of their position on the salary schedule. The vast majority of teachers in Farmington make a base salary that's between $56,799 and $88,303. The average teacher salary in Farmington was $71,264 in 2008.
The contract also covers working conditions, like the minimum number of hours teachers must be at school. Teachers are required to be at school for 7 hours and 15 minutes per day. Over the course of their 186 contractual work days, this amounts to 1,349 hours per year. The national average for all professions is 1,792 hours over the span of about 250 work days.
The union contract also includes bonus pay for additional duties. Teachers get $1,500 per student over the class size limit (between 26 and 29, depending on the grade). They also are paid $24.30 per hour for supervising dances, class parties, extracurricular field trips, drama productions, athletic events, commencement services and other events. Teachers can earn extra cash by coaching or participating in other extracurricular activities like band, drama, yearbook, debate and many others. There are more than 100 different extracurricular positions available to teachers that pay between $521 and $14,762 annually.
Farmington teachers do not have to contribute to the cost of their own health insurance premiums. Through its self-funded plan, the district spent $13.8 million in 2008 on health insurance for instructional employees, an average of about $11,600 per employee. Teachers choosing not to enroll district's medical plan get an annual $500 "cash-in-lieu" payment, while still maintaining dental, vision and life insurance from the district.
School employees are entitled to a lifetime pension when they retire, and are also are given lifetime health benefits. Based on the state-run pension system's multiplier, the lifetime pension for a Farmington teacher with 30 years experience and an average base salary of $88,303 (the final "step" on the single salary schedule) would be $39,736. Although their pensions are controlled by the state, Farmington teachers also get a one-time severance payment of at least $4,000 from the district.
A fully detailed analysis can be found here.