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Teacher Of The Year Takes Pay Cut As Union Contract Doesn’t Recognize Excellence

Teacher of the year made 19% less than average state teacher salary

The new state of Michigan teacher of the year serves as an example of how the best teachers in the state are not adequately rewarded, due to union contracts.

Owen Bondono, a ninth-grade English teacher in Oak Park Schools, was named the 2020-21 Michigan Teacher of the Year, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

Bondono’s gross pay was $51,722 in 2016-17. It dropped to $48,916 in 2017-18 and then increased to $50,406 in 2018-19. Those salaries include pay for taking on extra activities. Bondono stated on his LinkedIn account that he worked summer school. The average teacher salary in Michigan in 2018-19 was $62,170, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

Bondono has five years of experience as a certified teacher, according to the state of Michigan.

Under the Oak Park contract, teacher pay is based on two factors: years of experience and level of college credits acquired. That’s traditionally how all school district in Michigan pay their teachers. Teachers are not compensated for excellence in union contracts.

Oak Park Schools stated it had one teacher rated “ineffective” in 2018-19. That ineffective teacher could have made more money than the teacher of the year simply because that ineffective teacher had more years of experience or had earned more college credits.