The average teacher salary in Charlotte Public Schools was $52,408 in 2009, and most teachers paid less than 2 percent of the cost of their health insurance premium. The district also pays between $300 and $500 per month to employees for simply not enrolling 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.

About 66 percent of the district's $25 million operating budget goes towards paying employees covered by this contract, which covers teachers and a few other employee groups. Charlotte enrolls about 5,000 students and employs approximately 410 teachers. The district spent $9,333 per pupil in 2009, an increase of about 10 percent from the previous school year.

The base salary for most Charlotte teachers is between $44,152 and $61,885. 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. Charlotte teachers receive "step" increases for their first 11 years in the district. These increases range from 4 to 10 percent. 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.

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 Charlotte teacher with 30 years experience and an average base salary of $61,855 (the final "step" on the salary schedule) would be $27,848. 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 pays teachers $3,000 for if they announce their plan to retire by January 15.

The union contract includes extra bonus pay for additional duties and certifications. Teachers can get $18.53 an hour for any and all non-contractual labor. This includes "all time spent after the regular school day at any parent or student activity or attendance at any educational or civic functions..." The pays this same wage rate to teachers who supervise lunchrooms or substitute in a classroom.

Teachers can earn extra cash by coaching and participating in other extracurricular activities, such as band, drama, yearbook, intramurals, student clubs and many others. Aside from the athletic-related positions that pay between $1,323 and $8,468 annually, there are more 50 different extracurricular positions that pay between $100 and $8,956 each year.

All teachers are allotted 10 sick days per year, and can accumulate 110 of them. The district allows for 2 personal days and 5 bereavement days per year as well. Teachers may take unpaid leaves for one to two years for child care, holding public office, joining the Peace Corps, continued study, personal illness or any other purpose approved by the school board. Upon returning from leave, teachers are guaranteed the opportunity to return to the same or an equivalent teaching position. The district also offers sabbatical leave for experience teachers of up to 1 year at half pay with full benefits.

Finally, Working hours and conditions are also covered in the contract. It defines the "work year" as 177 days, of which a maximum of 172 are student instruction days. Each day measures seven hours and 15 minutes, which works out to a total work year of 1,230 hours. The national average for all occupations is 1,792.

A fully detailed analysis can be found here.

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