As shown in Graphic 3, average spending[*] on K-12 teachers and other instructional employees[†] in Michigan also exceeded that of Florida. In 2009, Michigan spent $76,022 in total compensation per full-time equivalent instructional employee — 40 percent more than Florida’s average of $54,136. In fact, from 1990 to 2009, Michigan spent at least 25 percent more compensating teachers and other instructional employees every year.

Graphic 3: Salary and Benefit Expenditures Per Full-Time Equivalent K-12 Instructional Employee in Michigan and Florida, 1990-2009

School Year

Florida

Michigan

Percentage
Difference

1990

$34,277

$47,834

39.5%

1991

$36,403

$50,931

39.9%

1992

$37,086

$52,260

40.9%

1993

$38,919

$54,811

40.8%

1994

$40,277

$58,120

44.3%

1995

$42,924

$62,789

46.3%

1996

$42,611

$63,327

48.6%

1997

$42,138

$61,001

44.8%

1998

$43,008

$59,472

38.3%

1999

$44,217

$59,730

35.1%

2000

$43,332

$62,564

44.4%

2001

$45,970

$62,824

36.7%

2002

$46,757

$63,541

35.9%

2003

$47,702

$73,309

53.7%

2004

$49,778

$68,800

38.2%

2005

$50,205

$68,047

35.5%

2006

$54,513

$70,652

29.6%

2007

$58,379

$72,863

24.8%

2008

$54,028

$74,229

37.4%

2009

$54,136

$76,022

40.4%

Source: Author’s calculations based on “Common Core of Data,” (National Center for Education Statistics; United States Department of Education), http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/ (accessed March 28, 2012). Note that these figures are not adjusted for inflation.

During this period, money spent compensating teachers in Michigan was consistently above the national average, while money spent compensating teachers in Florida was consistently below the national average (see Graphic 4). Michigan ranked 15th in the nation by this measure in 2009, while Florida ranked 43rd.[8] This disparity remains even after adjusting for differences between the two states’ costs of living.[‡]

Graphic 4: Salary and Benefit Expenditures Per Full-Time Equivalent K-12 Instructional Employee in the United States, Michigan and Florida, 1990-2009

Graphic 4: Salary and Benefit Expenditures Per Full-Time Equivalent K-12 Instructional Employee in the United States, Michigan and Florida, 1990-2009 - click to enlarge

Source: Author’s calculations based on “Common Core of Data,” (National Center for Education Statistics; United States Department of Education), http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/ (accessed March 28, 2012).


[*] Compensation includes both salary and fringe benefits. Salaries include gross base salaries plus additional pay for “coaching, supervising extracurricular activities, bus supervision, and summer school teaching.” Benefits include “group insurance (including health benefits for current and retired employees), social security contributions, retirement contributions, tuition reimbursements, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, and other benefits such as unused sick leave.” “The National Public Education Financial Survey Instruction Booklet,” (U.S. Department of Education: National Center for Education Statistics, 2007), 43-44, http://goo.gl/ r1KBe (accessed May 31, 2013).

[†] Instructional employees are composed of teachers and instructional aides. A teacher is defined as a “professional school staff member who instructs students in prekindergarten, kindergarten, grades 1-12, or ungraded classes and maintains daily student attendance records.” Instructional aides are paid “staff assigned to assist a teacher with routine activities associated with teaching (i.e., activities requiring minor decisions regarding students), such as monitoring, conducting rote exercises, operating equipment, and clerking.” Chen-Su Chen, Jennifer Sable, and Amber M. Noel, “Documentation to the Common Core of Data State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education: School Year 2009-10,” (U.S. Department of Education: National Center for Education Statistics, 2011), C-8, C-15, http://goo.gl/h55KE (accessed May 31, 2013). 

[‡] Interstate cost-of-living comparisons involve numerous technical challenges. Methods and indices are not standardized within the economics profession. Nevertheless, the author accounted for cost-of-living differences between Michigan and Florida using data derived from William D. Berry, Richard C. Fording, and Russell L. Hanson, “An Annual Cost of Living Index for American States, 1960-1995,” The Journal of Politics, vol. 62, no. 2 (Blackwell Publishers, 2000), http://goo.gl/bx09W (accessed May 1, 2013). After these adjustments, Michigan still clearly spent more compensating teachers.


[8] Author’s calculations based on “Common Core of Data,” (National Center for Education Statistics; United States Department of Education), http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/ (accessed March 28, 2012).