The average teacher salary in Huron Valley Schools was $62,439 in 2009, and teachers contribute nothing to the cost of their health insurance premiums. The district pays about 51 percent more than the average employer in the state for employee health insurance. Huron Valley also pays teachers who opt-out of health coverage $3,281 annually. The local union president is fully released from all teaching duties (without loss of pay or benefits) to conduct union business. 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.
About 67 percent of the district's $89 million operating budget goes towards paying employees covered by this contract, which covers teachers and a few other employee groups. Huron Valley enrolls about 10,200 students and employs approximately 600 teachers. The district spent $9,957 per pupil in 2009, an increase of about 1 percent from the previous school year.
The base salary for most Huron Valley teachers is between $48,622 and $76,285. Teachers are paid much like assembly line workers: how much an individual actually gets is determined by a single salary schedule that grants automatic pay raises based only on years on the job plus additional pedagogy credentials. Huron Valley teachers receive "step" increases of four to five percent for their first 12 years in the district. 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. After 15 years, teachers get another automatic 1 percent raise, and after 20 years, they receive a $500 salary boost.
The district provides medical insurance from the Michigan Education Special Services Association, an arm of the Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teachers union. The district paid $15,564 for each teacher on a family plan in 2008-2009. The state average for a family premium is $13,160, with employees paying 21 percent on average, or $2,800 of this amount. The Huron Valley plan features a $100 in-network deductible, co-pays of $10/$25/$50 for office visits, urgent care and the emergency room and a $10/$20 RX plan. The district also pays for dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurance with no cost to employees.
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 Huron Valley teacher with 30 years experience and an average base salary of $72,046 (the final "step" on the salary schedule) would be $32,421. For most retirees, this amount increases by 3 percent every year. Teachers also get a severance package of between 4.5 to 14 percent of their final salary, and can cash in up to 80 unused sick days for $40 a piece upon retiring. 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 union contract includes extra bonus pay for additional duties. Teachers can make $27.66 per hour for teaching summer school or for any other additional instructing. Department heads get an extra $932 to $1,632 per year. Any high school teacher takes on a sixth class can make an additional one-sixth of their salary (which works out to be about $10,400 based on the average salary). Mentoring young teachers pays $350 per mentee.
The district also pays out stipends for coaching and participating in other extracurricular activities, such as band, drama, student clubs and many others. Aside from the more than 50 different athletic-related positions that pay between $677 and $7,011 annually, there are more than 30 different extracurricular positions that pay between $417 and $5,008 each year.
All teachers are allotted 10 sick days per year, and can accumulate 180 of them. The district allows for 2 personal days and 5 bereavement days as well. Teachers may take unpaid leaves for child care, personal illness, the Peace Corps, government service and others. 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 185 and one-half days. Teachers are contractually obligated to be at school for 7 hours per day, which works out to a total work year of 1,299 hours. The national average for all occupations is 1,792. Elementary teachers may not instruct students for more than 5 hours and 21 minutes per day, nor may they be required to collect lunch or milk money.
A fully detailed analysis can be found here.
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