Under the Comstock Public Schools teachers union contract, the average teacher salary was $55,826 in 2009, 3rd highest in Eaton County. In addition, the district provides health benefits costing $14,724 for the most commonly selected plan, which is 42 percent more costly than insurance provided to the average private sector worker in Michigan. Teachers contribute 2 percent toward their coverage, compared to a 20 percent average contribution required from private sector workers in Michigan.
Many Lake Orion teachers collect substantially more than the average salary – as much as $64,362 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 $48,864 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 of 6 to 9 percent for each additional year on the job until they “top out” on the salary schedule, and the entire salary schedule also grows by 1 percent each year on top of this. Teachers also get “longevity payments” worth between $1,500 and $4,500 annually starting with their 18th year on the job.
Coaching and accepting duties in more than 100 extracurricular programs draws additonal amounts ranging from $330 to $7,354 annually. Also, 28 different department chairpersons receive an extra $325 annually. Teachers who announce their retirement before March 1 collect another $2,000.
In addition to the health coverage described above, the district provides dental, vision, long-term disability and life 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 “cash-in-lieu-of” payment that was $6,000 in 2009.
Based on the current state-run teacher pension system, a Comstock teacher retiring after 30 years will get a $28,963 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 insurance.
Eaton Rapids schools collected $10,415 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 here.