The teacher pay raise passed by the Legislature in 2014 includes a $1,500 across-the-board raise beginning July 1, 2014, with an additional $1,000 across-the-board raise effective July 1, 2015. The cost of the first year of the pay raise was included in the MAEP allocation for 2014-2015.
There is a catch, however, that will result in some school districts not receiving the full amount to cover the pay raise. The problem was not in the calculation of the pay raise cost (the calculation was done correctly by MDE to ensure that all teachers and benefits were covered). Because the pay raise is included in the MAEP appropriation, the money for the raise will be allocated to districts based on average daily attendance of students rather than the number of teachers in the district.
What does this mean for school districts? It affects most directly those districts that have maintained low student-teacher ratios (smaller class sizes) despite chronic underfunding. Because these districts have a higher number of teachers in proportion to the student population, their allocation from the state will not be sufficient to cover raises for all teachers. They will have to pay some of the costs of the teacher pay raise out of their own local funds.
This would not be such an issue if schools were not chronically, severely underfunded. After six years of cuts and shortfalls in state funding, most districts simply do not have the margins in their budgets to deal with unexpected costs.