News Story

District Official Confirms That MEA Salary Claims Not Supported

Even with temporary pay cut, no Tecumseh teacher earns $31K, official says

The Michigan Education Association union president insists that a second-year teacher with a master's degree working in the Tecumseh Public School district makes $31,000 a year, but his claims aren't backed up by a district official.

And they're not supported by a state website's claim, either.

MEA President Steven Cook has made that claim twice in Detroit News columns.

Michigan Capitol Confidential reviewed teacher contracts online to try and find a teacher who matched those qualifications and salary level and wrote two stories questioning the existence of such a teacher.

The website, Blogging for Michigan, claimed on its website to have found the second-year Tecumseh teacher with a master's degree earning $31,000-a-year teacher.

Blogging for Michigan, which states on its website “All Rights Reserved. Suck on that, GOP,” claimed to have found the teacher and posted a paycheck stub with the name of the teacher removed. The website says it is run by Christine Barry, who didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.

Jim Brown, payroll manager at Tecumseh Public Schools, said that a memo of understanding with the union imposed a 10-percent pay cut below the contractual starting salary for teachers just hired. Still, none with a master's degree in their second year of teaching earned $31,000 a year.

The salary schedule on the Tecumseh school district website says that a starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is $37,116. Brown said that would be reduced to $33,405 after the 10 percent reduction. Brown said that teacher would have remained at that salary for a second year due to the memo of understanding. All teacher’s had their salaries restored to the full schedule amount as of April 27, he said.

Brown said a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree would start with a salary of $33,665, which would be reduced to $30,299 after the 10 percent reduction.

The Michigan Association of School Boards reported in 2011 that a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree had an average salary of $36,798.

Many districts offer much higher salaries to teachers just starting out. For instance, in Grosse Pointe, a second-year teacher with a master’s degree makes $52,265. In River Rouge, that teacher makes $50,522. The average teacher’s salary in Michigan is $63,024, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

The MEA's Cook said on March 28 in a Detroit News column that there was a teacher with a gross salary of $31,000 per year with a master’s degree in his or her second year on the job. On April 25, Cook mentioned that teacher was from Lenawee county and repeated the claim the teacher earns $31,000 a year and has a master’s degree.

Cook didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.