Fact Finder's Report and Recommendations

Fact Finder's Report and Recommendations


Utica Community Schools and the Utica Education Association have been actively negotiating for a new labor contract since March 2017. This process involves representatives from the district and union meeting in bargaining sessions and seeking a collaborative agreement. The parties have engaged in mediation to facilitate the collective bargaining process. In mediation, a neutral third party assists the parties in resolving any disputed issues. Although the mediator has no authority to impose an agreement on either party, the mediator is able to objectively view the parties’ positions and explore areas of potential compromise.

The parties recently engaged in fact-finding, which is a continuation of the mediation process. In fact-finding, the parties mutually agree upon a fact finder, or an objective third party who issues a recommendation for resolving disputed issues between the parties based on all of the facts presented. Although the parties are not bound by the fact-finder’s recommendation, the recommendation of a neutral third party often encourages the parties to reach a contract.

On December 5, 2017, Fact Finder George T. Roumell issued his Report and Recommendations. Mr. Roumell characterized the district as “in financial crisis now” and recommended the parties take immediate steps, including wage adjustments and benefit changes, to reduce the district’s structural deficit. 

The following are key provisions of the report:

  • The district has an “unsustainable financial model” where a history of state funding challenges does not support current staffing costs. 
  • The average teacher salary in Utica Community Schools is the highest in Michigan for districts with more than 2,500 students. For the ten districts with the top average salary levels in Michigan, the fact finder noted that UCS had the lowest revenue per pupil (foundation allowance) yet the highest average teacher salary.

Mr. Roumell’s specific findings and recommendations are available here for review.

Fact Finder's Report and Recommendations