[nfbmi-talk] should apply to state as well including mcb

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Fri Dec 3 18:32:38 UTC 2010



New law requires school districts post salaries


Mike Wilkinson / The Detroit News


If you ever wondered what a schoolteacher, bus driver or school librarian makes, or if your superintendent gets a car allowance, you no longer just have

to wonder.


Michigan recently required school districts to post that information online, to make it readily available to anyone.



The advantage is simple, said Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the fiscally conservative think tank Mackinac Center for

Public Policy.


"Two words: comparative analysis," he said.


The posting of union contracts and details on health care benefits allows citizens to know what their money is spent on — and lets other districts know,

too, so they can determine if costs are too high or too low.


Since the requirements went into effect in the summer, most districts in Metro Detroit are complying, according to a survey of districts by The Detroit

News. Those that aren't include Van Dyke, Inkster, Pontiac, Highland Park, Ecorse and Hartland. Some districts e-mailed teacher contracts to The Detroit

News but have not put them online.


In a survey done in September, the state found that fewer than a quarter of Michigan's districts were fully compliant.


When the Livonia school board recently learned that its superintendent, Randy Liepa, could jump to a nearby district, it used the transparency reports to

quickly determine that he was among the lowest paid leaders of similar districts and gave him a substantial raise.


The information has always been available, but districts and citizens — and the media — often had to file Freedom of Information Act requests.


Such requests could be costly, because schools and municipalities can charge for information to recoup the cost of searching and copying. Now, it's free

and accessible anytime.


"Knowledge is power," LaFaive said. "That's why we've advocated for transparency for so long."


mwilkinson at detnews.com


(313) 222-2563

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