Teacher contract saves $1.4 million

(Updated with copy of teacher contract) A two-year contract has been reached between the Grand Haven Area Public Schools and the local teachers union.
Krystle Wagner
Nov 5, 2012


On Wednesday, the school board held a meeting to ratify the agreement.

The new contract calls for health insurance concessions and a salary freeze the first year, and a one percent and step increase for the 2013-14 school year.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Services Scott Grimes said the agreement will save the district more than $1.4 million.

Grimes said he was impressed with the group for diligently working from day one to collaborate with the district.

“We couldn’t be happier with how it came out,” he said.

Grand Haven Education Association members ratified the agreement on Monday.

Union president Amy Cahalan said the two sides were able to reach a contract agreement through fair collective bargaining, despite the current funding crisis facing Michigan schools.

Cahalan said teachers are see and feel the impacts in the classroom.

In addition to the pay freeze that will save the district $600,000 this year and $6 million throughout the next 10 years, Cahalan said, the association has also saved the district about $1 million annually with insurance concessions.

Click on the PDF below to read the full copy of the contract:



I think that's great. GHAPS has great teachers. I do think the comment about collective bargaining is interesting. If this was accomplished through collective bargaining then what is proposal 2 all about????


This appears to be welcome news and a good story from the Tribune as a first step. The next obvious step from a journalistic perspective is for the Tribune to obtain a copy of the contract, thoroughly review it, and publish it so us taxpayers can see for ourselves what our representatives have negotiated on our behalf. It would be edifying for the community to understand what the benefits are and the percentages paid by individual teachers, what the disciplinary provisions are, paid holidays, paid teacher non-teaching days, pay and step increases, and compliance with the law regarding merit pay versus seniority and level of education. This would be entirely consistent with the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board only 3 days ago as expressed in "Building permits shouldn't be secret", Grand Haven Tribune, October 29, 2012. Quoting from the article "Having records public at times is similar to landfills — everyone is OK with them until it involves them. Quite often, government officials think releasing these records really stinks. . . .Limiting access is a dangerous and slippery slope. If government limits one thing, what will they seek to limit next? What do they not want the public to know?. . .Transparency is the best policy." These contracts are important to taxpayers for another reason - the terrible state of finances of the National Education Association. The Michigan Education Association is running a deficit of $11,017,561, with Net Assets (Assets minus Liabilities) of MINUS $112,987,159. (http://www.eiaonline.com/NEAandS...) If the MEA cannot fund teacher health care, pensions, etc. the burden will fall on the taxpayers. I encourage the Tribune to follow up on its initial story and obtain a copy of the new contract, in the interest of transparency!


Vlad, you don't need the Tribune to obtain a copy, collective bargaining agreements and salary/compensation data are and have been public for quite awhile. You can access them at each public school district's website. (This one is new, so might not be updated quite yet, but soon, I imagine.) Look for the blue map of MI.

pike84, the things which public school employees are allowed to negotiate have been seriously restricted in the past year or two by the state legislature. Anything having to do with discipline, evaluation, etc. that was previously negotiated is now not. So while this was achieved through collective bargaining, there were many aspects of the contract that the school board and teachers had no say over, but had to strike out of the contract because of state law. In the past, for example, suggestions from teachers have led to a more meaningful, significant evaluation system, which was promoted by the MEA as well. Now, teachers are not allowed to participate in decisions about how they will be evaluated.

Proposal 2 is designed to put the control back at the local level, by allowing your local school boards, and cities to negotiate with their employees about whatever terms they feel appropriate to their community. People are fearful that somehow unions will get too powerful, but forget that unions negotiate with another side, which they have the power to elect.


Moose Thanks for the info. I went to the GHAPS website and saw nothing about the new contract or the current contract. (I did find it on the Muskegon Public Schools site). I'll keep checking back but I find it strange there is no reference to the current contract. I have to disagree about Proposal 2 - if it merely is intended to restore control to the local level, it should say that, but of course, it's way broader than that. Restoration of control to the local level could be accomplished by simple legislation, not a change to the constitution. If it was meant to put control back to the local level, why does it say No existing or future law of the state OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS can abridge, impair or limit negotiated terms of contracts regarding wages or financial contributions of employees? That is not local control - that is ensuring that cities and townships can't control their own destiny and finances if a school board negotiates an outrageous contract. It is true that public service employee unions negotiate with another side - people who are supposed to be representing the taxpayers but who are able to receive campaign donations from those with whom they are supposedly negotiating at arms length. I suggest that there would be less controversy regarding this power grab if it included a provision that public sector unions are prohibited from making donations to any political party or individual candidate. We'll see if the employee contracts covering GHAPS employees show up on their website - I have my doubts.


I checked, it's already on the GHAPS website. Check here:


Thank you - that is very helpful and I feel like an idiot for not being able to find it. Now that I have the citation, I'll have to try to figure out to get there on my own. Much appreciated!

Cheryl Welch

We've attached to the story the PDF of the newest version of the contract... the other link went to the older version. Hope this is helpful.


It is my hope that someday I can give myself a raise and not be forced to be a member of the teachers' union. Costly dues come out of my bi-weekly paycheck. With good and fair labor laws in place, I do not believe the union is still needed. Many organizations, businesses, etc. operate successfully and fairly without a union. The teachers' union should have been negotiating for pay and not health care all along. It is my understanding that teachers can become fee payers and greatly reduce their union dues. I trust and respect the school district I work for and feel protected by state and federal labor laws. So, I do not agree with having to pay $175.00 per month to the union for my contract.


Willa, as a fellow teacher I completely agree with you. I especially hate paying those dues each month knowing a large portion of them are being used to push a political agenda that I am often not in agreement with.


I believe a school district up north voted to cut MESA health insurance and purchased a much cheaper plan with the same coverage. This is the start of the teachers taking charge of the their own local contract. Maybe our local school district need to examine similar ideas.

kristern ruth

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained misplaced comment. Discussion Guidelines




Moderators have removed this comment because it contained misplaced comment. Discussion Guidelines


Can we get a copy of the adminstration, principles, and any other support staff under contract listed in this story placed on this news feed????


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