The average teacher salary in Forest Hills Public Schools was
in 2009, and teachers contributed nothing towards the cost of their health
insurance (the state average is about 20 percent). The district also pays $41
per month to teachers who do not enroll in the school health insurance plan. 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.
percent of the Forest Hills Public Schools $103 million
operating budget goes towards paying employees covered by this contract,
which covers teachers and a few other employee groups. Forest
Hills enrolls about 10,100 students and employs approximately 690
teachers. The district spent $10,136
per pupil in 2009, an increase of about 1.5 percent from the previous
The base salary for most teachers is between $53,262 and
$77,019. Teachers are paid much like assembly line workers: how much an
individual gets is determined by a single salary schedule that grants automatic
pay raises based only on years on the job plus additional pedagogical
credentials. Forest Hills teachers receive "step"
increases between 4 and 5 percent as they progress through the salary schedule.
All teachers receive a 2 percent annual pay increase as the
entire salary schedule grows by that amount, regardless of their position on
the step schedule. After 15, 19, 24 and 27 years of employment, teachers get an
additional 2 to 4 percent raise as well. Teachers are granted "tenure" after 4 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
The district paid between $13,506 and $14,748 per teacher for
family health insurance plans in 2009. Teachers contributed nothing to this
cost unless they chose to "buy up" to the higher priced plan.
The statewide average cost in the private sector for an
employer-provided family plan is $13,160.
Employees who choose not to enroll in the district's plan get $41 per month,
and all employees get life, long-term disability, vision and dental insurance
at no cost to them. The district also reimburses teachers for any prescription
drug costs that exceed $400 annually.
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 Forest
Hills teacher with 30 years experience and an average base salary of $77,019
(the final "step" on the salary schedule) would be $34,659. 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. The district also
puts $600 per year into a tax-sheltered annuity for teachers.
All teachers are allotted 10 sick days, four bereavement and
three personal leave days each year. There is no limit to the number of sick
days that can be accumulated, and teachers may "cash in" unused sick days upon
retiring for $45, $65, or $75 per day, depending on how many they have.
Teachers may take unpaid leaves for one year for holding public office, child
care, or other "special" or "honorary" reasons as deemed appropriate by the
The union contract also covers working hours and conditions.
For example, the work year is limited to 186 days, and secondary teachers may
not instruct for more than 5 class periods per day without an "overload"
payment of $7,664. Parent-teacher conferences are limited to 3 per year, with
evening conferences being good for one-half day of compensatory time.
The union contract includes bonus pay for additional duties
and certifications. Elementary teachers are paid $500 per semester per child
over the contractual class size limit. Teachers serving as "auditorium
supervisors" get $3,448 per year tacked on to their salaries, and "diversity
coordinators" make another $1,915 annually. Teaching summer school nets $30 per
hour, and working as a driving instructor, substitute teacher, or curriculum
developer pays between $19 and $21 an hour. The district pays $1,915 per year
to each teacher that must travel between buildings, and reimburses employees
for college tuition fees up to $4,000 per year.
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 participating in athletics (which pays between $300 and $6,897 annually),
there are nearly 50 different extracurricular positions available to teachers
that pay between $191 and $6,131 each year.
A fully detailed analysis can be found here.
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