There are 19 gym teachers in the Farmington School District who make more than $85,000 a year each. The average gym teacher’s salary in Farmington is $75,035. By comparison, the science teachers in that district make $68,483 per year on average.
Farmington has 11,647 students in nine K-4 elementary schools, two 5-6 “upper elementaries,” and two 7-8 middle schools. Evidently, the high school is in another district, as it’s not mentioned in their annual report. So, it would seem like the heftiest coaching supplements — varsity football and basketball — are not included in these gym teachers’ salaries.
Michigan schools, like most, use pay scales based on education and experience. The glaring pay differential between gym teachers and science teachers tells me that the gym teachers have probably been there for a few decades, while the science teachers are relatively young. And they don’t stick around all that long.
It’s likely that, for middle school at least, the science teachers have a bachelor’s degree in a particular science field: physics, chemistry, biology, etc. These days, that’s required for the “highly qualified” designation and if most of the teachers are relatively new, they would probably have been hired under those guidelines.
I’m not implying that phys ed teachers aren’t needed; they are. Some kids live for gym. Others would never get a lick of exercise without it. The brain works better when one can get the wiggles out. Yet, there’s no denying that the job options for science teachers are somewhat more expansive, both within the teaching field and in the private sector.
Maybe Farmington is just undergoing turnover, and this particular disparity is an aberration. For their sake, I hope so.
Unless we’re content to lead the world in kickball.