June 15, 2017 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding today’s passage of SB 401 and HB 4647:
“The rushed passage of this legislation today – over the objections of educators from across the state who came to Lansing at the beginning of their summer break – is a travesty that will not bode well for future school employees, the students they serve, or the fiscal health of the state.
“Rushing through complicated legislation less than two days after its introduction fails to carefully consider this proposal’s failings. Uncapped cost increases in the event of shortfalls in the new hybrid system put unknown levels of risk onto new educators and school districts. The legislation fails to provide stability in the hybrid system and fails to pay down the unfunded liability so often decried by politicians. And language in this bill places new restrictions on the ability of educators to invest in their retirement, including banning the ability for school employees to purchase service credit when they take parental leave.
“If this plan fails – and we are fearful it will down the line due to the lack of due diligence on this proposal – it will have huge costs for students, school employees and the state. Lawmakers who rammed this bill through today will need to answer for that decision.”