Garden City Teacher Contract Summary

The total compensation for 165 teachers in the Garden City Public Schools exceeded $100,000 in 2009, and employees make zero contribution to the health insurance provided them by the district, which for a family plan runs about $18,400. These are among the highlights in the current collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the district and the local arm of the Michigan Education Association union.

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About 77 percent of the district's $49 million operating budget goes towards paying employees covered by this contract, which covers teachers and a few other employee groups. Garden City enrolls about 5,000 students and employs approximately 410 teachers. The average salary for covered employees was $74,271 in 2009, plus benefits.

The base salary for most Garden City teachers is between $60,777 and $80,759. How much an individual actually gets is determined by a single salary schedule that grants automatic pay raises based solely on years on the job plus additional pedagogy credentials. Garden City teachers receive "step" increases for their first 11 years in the district. These increases range from three to eight percent. Teachers are granted "tenure" after four years on the job, and once tenured are evaluated once every three years, but neither these evaluations nor the performance of their students affect how much they are paid.

School employees receive a lifetime pension when they retire, and also expect to get lifetime post-retirement health benefits. Based on the state-run retirement system's formula, the starting pension for a Garden City teacher with 30 years experience and an average base salary of $80,759 (the final "step" on the salary schedule) would be $36,341. For most retirees, this amount increases by 3 percent every year. An employee may begin collecting a pension upon reaching age of 55, or younger if he or she has 30 years of employment in public schools.

In addition to their state-provided pension, teachers in Garden City get a severance package from the district. Teaches get the substitute teacher daily rate for each accumulated leave day or $250 for each year in the district beyond 10 years, whichever is greater.

All teachers are allotted 13 leave days per year, and can accumulate an unlimited amount of them. The district allows for three personal days per year as well. They also get unpaid leave time (one to two years) for child care, holding public office, joining the Peace Corps, becoming a union official or for any other purpose approved by the school board. Upon returning from leave, teachers are guaranteed the opportunity to return to the same or an equivalent teaching position. 

Working hours and conditions are also covered in the contract. It defines the "work year" as 182 days, of which a maximum of 179 are student instruction days. Each day measures seven hours and 20 minutes, which works out to a total work year of 1,335 hours. The national average for all occupations is 1,792. Each school must have a vending machine for teacher use, and the district agrees to maintain a 25:1 student to union member ratio.

The union contract includes extra bonus pay for additional duties and certifications. Teachers can get $32 an hour for any and all non-contractual labor. This includes supervising an athletic event, acting as a department coordinator, teaching summer school or filling in during another teacher's class period. High school teachers that take on an extra class get an extra one-sixth of their salary per year (based on the average salary this would be about $12,380).

Finally, teachers can earn extra cash by coaching or participating in other extracurricular activities, such as band, drama, yearbook, intramurals, student clubs and many others. Aside from the athletic-related positions that pay between $737 and $7,322 annually, there are nearly 30 different extracurricular positions that pay between $441 and $3,840 each year. 

A fully detailed analysis can be found here.