Under the Lake Orion Community
Schools' teachers union contract,
the average teacher salary was $66,539
in 2009, which is 7 percent higher than the statewide average. The district
provides health benefits costing $15,679
for the most commonly selected plan, which is 52
percent more costly than insurance provided to the average private-sector
worker in Michigan.
Starting this year, teachers will
contribute a nominal amount toward their coverage, but still far below the
average 20 percent insurance contribution made by private-sector workers in
Michigan. Previously, these Lake Orion school employees contributed nothing
toward their coverage.
Many Lake Orion teachers collect
substantially more than the average salary — as much as $79,850 for those at the top
end who have accumulated additional pedagogy credentials and have more than five
years on the job. The minimum salary was $55,017 for those meeting these
criteria, which are the only criteria
for setting teacher pay, since student performance is not considered.
Employees covered under the union
contract receive automatic “step” pay hikes that range from 2 to 10 percent for
each additional year on the job until they “top out” on the salary schedule;
after that, they collect added “longevity” payments of between $949 and $3,269
each year. Coaching and accepting duties in other extracurricular programs draws
additonal amounts ranging from $1,977 to $7,513 annually. Also, 28 different
department chairpersons receive an extra $325 annually.
In addition to the health coverage
described above, the district provides dental, vision, life ($50,000) and
long-term disability insurance. Employees who opt out of the regular insurance
because they’re covered under a spouse’s plan still get these additional
benefits, plus an additional $100 per month.
Based on the current state-run
teacher pension system, a Lake Orion teacher retiring after 30 years will
get a $35,933 annual pension (based on the final “step” on the salary schedule),
which they can begin collecting from their early 50s on. For many teachers this amount increases
by 3 percent each year. Retired teachers also get subsidized health
Orion schools collected $12,358
per student in property tax levies,
state and federal grants in
2008-2009, of which around 70 percent was paid out to employees covered by
the union contract described
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