March 5, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • Three Taylor teachers sue union, district over RTW clause
  • School districts in deficit not doing well
  • Court of Appeals tosses former teacher’s jury award
  • Ann Arbor considering pay cuts
  • Mount Clemens sells building to Catholic parish

Three Taylor Teachers Sue Union, District Over RTW Clause

TAYLOR, Mich. – Three teachers last week sued the Taylor School District and Taylor Federation of Teachers over a contract clause that would prevent them from exercising their freedoms under Michigan’s right-to-work law, according to The Detroit News. The teachers are being represented by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy publishes Michigan Education Digest.

“This suit is not about my salary. It won’t change my salary one way or another,” Angela Steffke, one of the plaintiffs, told The News. “It’s about fighting for the freedom of association and freedom from collusion.”
The district and union recently signed a new four-year contract that includes a 10 percent pay cut for teachers, The News reported, in addition to the separate 10-year dues agreement.
SOURCE: Detroit News, “Taylor schools, union sued over contract that skirts right to work,” Feb. 28, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, “Angela Steffke, Rebecca Metz, and Nancy Rhatigan v. Taylor Federation of Teachers, Taylor School District and Taylor School District Board of Education," Feb. 28, 2013

School Districts in Deficit not Doing Well

LANSING, Mich. – Only 11 of the 49 school districts in Michigan that have a budget deficit are expected to resolve the problem by June 30, according to MLive.

State Superintendent Michael Flanagan recently released an update that said 11 of the districts will eliminate their overspending problems by the end of the school fiscal year, while 13 expect to be in worse shape, MLive reported. The other 25 will make progress toward reducing their deficits.
SOURCE: MLive, “Michigan school districts in deficit: Which ones are improving, which ones are worsening,” Feb. 26, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Districts in Deficit are Top Heavy," March 8, 2012

Court of Appeals Tosses Former Teacher’s Jury Award

DETROIT – The Michigan Court of Appeals has overturned a $750,000 settlement received by a former Detroit Public Schools teacher who claims she was fired after reporting an alleged student assault, according to Michigan Radio.

Beverly Garvin said she reported the incident to police after reporting it to her superiors, Michigan Radio reported. The appellate court ordered a new trial and removed DPS from the case, according to Michigan Radio, saying that Garvin can only seek damages from those who fired her.
SOURCE: Michigan Radio, “Michigan Court of Appeals rules against former school teacher, who was fired after reporting abuse,” Feb. 27, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “DPS sees decrease in violent crime,” March 2, 2012

Ann Arbor Considers Pay Cuts

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ann Arbor Public Schools is considering a 1 percent pay cut for teachers that would save about $1.3 million, according to AnnArbor.com. The district is facing a $20 million overspending crisis.

Ann Arbor Education Association President Linda Carter said Superintendent Patricia Green should also get a reduction in pay, AnnArbor.com reported, calling Green’s based salary of $245,000 — highest in the state — “absolutely asinine.”
SOURCE: AnnArbor.com, “Teachers union president calls for superintendent pay cut as Ann Arbor considers salary reduction,” Feb. 26, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Public School Superintendent Compensation Database,” February 2013

Mount Clemens Sells Building to Catholic Parish

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – The Mt. Clemens board of education recently agreed to sell a vacant school building to neighboring St. Peter Catholic Church for $600,000, according to The Macomb Daily.

The parish had been trying to buy the former Alexander Macomb Academy for two years, and initially offered $500,000, The Daily reported. Some school board members felt the sale should have brought in closer to $1 million.
The district is facing a $4.7 million overspending crisis, according to The Daily, and also plans to cut nine teachers and ask voters to approve a sinking fund millage.
SOURCE: The Macomb Daily, “Mount Clemens school board OKs building sale,” March 3, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Performance Pay in Mount Clemens, Aug. 21. 2010