Michigan Education Association

Retirement bill fails Michigan students and school employees

EAST LANSING, Mich., May 14, 2010: The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Iris K. Salters:

“The retirement legislation passed this morning by Michigan Senate and House lawmakers is an ill-conceived plan that will not deliver savings to cash-strapped school districts. The meager ‘incentive’ included in the bill will fail to entice anyone not already planning to retire to do so. In fact, it will cost school districts far more money than any estimated savings because the numbers of potential retirees who might take advantage is grossly exaggerated.

“The legislation also fails to include charter school employees and private contractors in the pension plan, a move that would have stabilized the retirement system by increasing the number of participating employees.

“Finally, dozens of legislators violated their ‘no tax’ pledge by enacting a 3 percent tax on current employees to pay for this, effectively forcing them to take an additional pay cut at a time when they  have already accepted concessions that have saved the state over a billion dollars in the past three years.

“Unfortunately, because of the Legislature’s shortsightedness, school districts across Michigan will still face massive cuts and student learning environments will continue to suffer layoffs, larger class sizes and the elimination of key programs that generate proven results.

“Because our lawmakers cannot focus on finding balanced solutions to the school funding crisis, the Michigan Education Association is calling on citizens to rise up and demand real changes, including closing tax loopholes that do not produce jobs, eliminating inefficiencies in government contracts and ensuring stable, adequate and equitable resources for all public schools.

“It’s time for all of us to say Enough is Enough.”

Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Communications, 517-337-5508