Weekend Poll: Keeping Up With the Joneses! Should AAPS Follow Saline’s Lead and Re-Open The Teachers’ Contract?

In Ann Arbor, salaries and benefits for teachers and instructional staff account for 71 percent of the District’s operating expenses.

AnnArbor.com reported that Scot Graden, (tip o’ the keyboard to Ed Vielmetti) Superintendent of the Saline Area Schools, was directed by the school board to ask the District’s unions to re-open their contracts. The idea, of course, is to revisit the wage and benefit agreements in light of the failure of the WISD millage of November 3rd, as well as the cuts in per pupil funding made by the Michigan State Legislature. The millage was rejected by 58 percent of the county’s voters. In Saline, 61.4 percent of voters refused to support the 2 mill “enhancement.”

Scott Graden was quoted in the AnnArbor.com post as saying, “Now it’s time to take action.” Opening the contract between the unions and the District is one form of action. Recently, Ann Arbor Public School Superintendent Dr. Todd Roberts sent home a letter to parents in which he wrote that though the millage failed, District officials would do their best to make sure that any cuts made were kept as far from the classrooms, as possible. Interestingly, the tot who brought home the letter shared a heart-warming story in which a teacher had shared her letter from Dr. Roberts concerning the failure of the millage with her class. That letter from Dr. Roberts, the tot reported, threatened larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, and program cuts. 

You may know that the most recently-approved AAPS teachers’ union contract “froze” wages. It did not, however, do away with millions of dollars of “step” increases for years of service, scheduled to be paid out over the course of the agreement. In addition, the latest contract increases the amount of money the District contributes for teachers’ health care. Teachers may choose how they want to spend that money. That is offset by the contract clause that if teachers choose the lower-priced HMO, they’ll get money back from the district. This is a riff on the benefit-about-town that pays employees cash who opt out of a company’s health insurance program (i.e. the employee is covered by her/his spouse’s health insurance plan).

Want to see a copy of the most recent teacher’s contract? You’ll have to contact the AAPS District and ask for a copy. The most recent contract is not posted to the District’s web site. Here a link to the 2006-2009 agreement, however.

If the UAW can do it, should the Ann Arbor Board of Education members direct Superintendent Roberts to ask the District’s unions to re-open their contracts? What do you think A2 politicos? How would you vote on the issue if you were on the school board? How would you justify your vote? Leave a comment and let us all know.

Want to email the 2009-2010 Ann Arbor Public School Board of Education members? Click here (after you vote!).

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Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=1633

10 Comments for “Weekend Poll: Keeping Up With the Joneses! Should AAPS Follow Saline’s Lead and Re-Open The Teachers’ Contract?”

  1. […] 13th Weekend Poll: Keeping Up With the Joneses! Should AAPS Follow Saline’s Lead and Re-Open The Teachers’ Contract… AKPC_IDS += "1666,";Popularity: 8% [?] Related Grilled EntréesWeekend Poll: Keeping Up With […]

  2. Well said, rose. I agree.

  3. I think you missed the boat on this one A2P. I think Todd Roberts is setting the stage to negotiate with the teachers, and that was what that letter was about. You’re not helping right now.
    There will be the ugly scramble within a system now that there must be resource partitioning.

    It’ll be worse next year, so this is just the beginning. Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s patootie what the actual pay is to teachers. I care intensely about the quality of teaching, and that the school’s fundamental function is to educate, not to maintain someone’s idea of deserved pay.

  4. Step raises are raises, period. The AA teachers did not freeze pay, they did however give up raises that would be in addition to step increases.

  5. Gee, I would have liked a step increase this year.

    As far as the school board, the last person that got elected wasn’t even sure he wanted to be on the board. What gives with that?

    Could an effective business minded governor fix something like the logjam of Michigan schools?

  6. Imagine the AAPS is a business. You’re losing money, and a bank just refused you a $130,000,000 line of credit, because as a rule banks don’t like to loan money to be used for operating expenses. What do you do to save your business? You cut pay and benefits to all employees, impose furloughs if you have to, unpaid vacations, unpaid sick days. You look at your pension and retirement plans and stop waste there, as well. You might even stop offering fixed pensions and health care to future retirees. What you don’t do, if possible, is have the cuts impact your core services. That will drive away your customers, and send your company into a death spiral.

    If your business keeps running at a deficit, you bring in a new management team.

    Voters own the AAPS. Several trustees are up for re-election in 2010, I believe. Telling people that you’re freezing pay while giving “step” raises is misleading. Giving step raises at all while running at a deficit is fiscally irresponsible. Paying employees a cash bonus when they choose the cheaper health insurance is a waste of the taxpayer’s money and should be halted. All employees should simply be offered the cheaper health insurance plan.

  7. Yes it should be easier to get rid of bad teachers. However, we don’t want to drive away the good teachers we do have by slashing pay and benefits. All of the funding cuts simply can’t come out of the hides of 1,100 teachers.

  8. Letitia,

    Obviously, administration needs to be looked at as well. But for every administrator there are MANY more teachers. In my opinion, address the biggest cost first. But definitely don’t ignore other cost factors. We all know there will only be more funding cuts in the future. Everything deserves to be looked at.

  9. IF…
    there wasn’t tenure
    pay increases were corresponded more closely with performance
    the entire state wasn’t in financial crisis

    maybe more people would be more sympathetic regarding teacher pay

    In the meantime, sorry, but I don’t have much sympathy. I think teachers should be well paid. But I don’t think that they should get raises just because time has passed. And I don’t think it should be so difficult to get rid of bad teachers.

  10. Okay. I heard, while working on the millage, that the administration at the Balas building got a raise this school year. Any information on this A2? How about instead of villifying teachers we look somewhere else for the money? Teachers froze their pay this year in an effort to help the dire fiscal situation – they are on the front lines working hard to take care of our kids – get off it already.

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