Feature

EM turns Muskegon Heights schools into charter district, terminates staff

Statement from MEA President Steven Cook on Muskegon Heights School Restructuring Plan

There will be school in Muskegon Heights this fall, but it will look very different.

Late last Friday afternoon, Don Weatherspoon, Muskegon Heights’s appointed Emergency Manager (EM), announced his plan to turn the school district into the first charter school district in Michigan. He is taking bids from private companies and is expected to award the job on June 6.

Earlier in the week, teachers were notified they were being laid off and could reapply for their jobs. Now, however, they’ve been told they are terminated and their jobs sold off to the lowest bidder.

“Our teachers had no advance knowledge of the Emergency Manager’s plan to convert the school district into a charter school system. We have been left out of the planning process. The staff, students and community are paying the price for the district’s financial mismanagement that they had nothing to do with creating,” said Muskegon Heights EA President Joy Robinson.

House Appropriations passes SB 1040--with more changes

SB 1040 is on its way to the full House after the House Appropriations Committee reported it out on a party-line vote of 17-10 with some important changes. The H-2 substitute approved today revised the previous H-1 substitute that was discussed by Committee members yesterday.

House Committee moving closer to SB 1040 vote

At today’s House Appropriations Committee meeting, Committee members had their chance to ask questions of representatives from the House Fiscal Agency and Phil Stoddard, Director of Michigan’s Office of Retirement (ORS) about SB 1040 and the H-1 amendment .

House Committee approves SB 1040 sub; hears testimony

Last week, the Senate passed SB 1040 with changes, and this morning the House Appropriations Committee took up the legislation in an “emergency” Monday meeting. After making their own modifications to the bill, the Committee heard testimony from retirees and current and future school employees who described the devastating financial impact SB 1040 would have.

House committee to take up SB 1040 on Monday--Come to the Capitol!

After passing through the Senate, SB 1040 is on a fast track through the House.

Senate passes SB 1040

On a 20-18 vote, the Senate passed SB 1040 today stripping new hires of a retirement and forcing them into a defined contribution plan. The bill also puts merit pay back into final average compensation calculations. Other changes previously reported remain in the bill.

Senate takes no action on SB 1040 -- keep lobbying!

Contrary to speculation, SB 1040--legislation that attacks school employee retirement benefits--saw no action on the Senate floor today.

Amended SB 1040 moves to Senate floor

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee discharged a substitute version of SB 1040 on a 10-5 vote, but the changes do little to help out current and future school employees or retirees. Contrary to earlier reports from lawmakers and the media, many positive changes were left out of the bill.

Even more changes to SB 1040 expected

The latest version of SB 1040—legislation that attacks school employee retirement benefits—will be taken up tomorrow by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Despite the fact that there is no specific language yet for the bill, MEA continues to monitor the bill’s progress and is providing an updated analysis and talking points reflecting the change so far. 

Changes to SB 1040 address some concerns

Late Friday, Gov. Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and House Speaker Jase Bolger announced some significant changes to SB 1040—the bill to drastically change school employee retirement benefits.

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