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Legislation Cuts Teacher Benefits

Newly hired Michigan public school employees would pay more for their pensions and lose state-funded health care in retirement under a bill headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for approval.

Newly hired public school employees in Michigan would pay more for their pensions and lose state-funded health care in retirement under a bill headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for approval.

Sponsors of the bill, which was approved Wednesday in the Republican-controlled House and Senate, said it will save school districts an estimated $300 million annually and trim $15 billion in legacy debt, according to The Detroit News.

"We are saving the (Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System) for current and future retirees," Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, told the Detroit Free Press .

Employees hired after Aug. 1 would pay $2,000 into a health care account, plus a matching contribution of up to 2 percent of their pay toward a 401(k)-type account, according to the Free Press.

"This is a big step for financial accountability," Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said in an Associated Press report on mlive.com.

But, Democrats saw the bill differently.

"Attacking teachers this way is just another assault on our students who are already suffering mightily from the budget cuts imposed by the governor and the Republicans in the last two budgets," state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods, responded Thursday in a press release.

"Michigan will not be a leader in anything if we don't treat women, families and students well," she said. "This latest attack on teachers and schools will come back to haunt us in the future when we fail to graduate students who are ready for higher education and the workforce, and when we fail to provide a good quality of life for retirees."

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JC August 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Let's see how many talented young people become educators in the near future. Most of them don't go into education for the money, but rather for the benefits. Now, less money and fewer benefits make it a poor career choice. So, who suffers? Our children.
Ron August 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
This is yet another attack on the middle class. We don't see Snyder going after the big corporations, CEO's or the top 1% of wage earners. But then again they're the ones that helped put him in office. This is how they are covering the cuts in the budget for big business. Snyder must go.
michelle August 20, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Are the legislators losing the same? What do they do for us? Teachers have such an important role and we keep cutting away at them. I am not a teacher or related to one but I do have a child in public schools and I fear for their futures in MI. Let the legislators switch places with teachers and then see how many more cuts they are willing to make. This is disgusting!
michelle August 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Maybe if the teachers did trade places we would actually get somewhere in this state. I bet they are full of great ideas, they don't get into their jobs for money or perks and I bet they genuinely care for the families of the kids they teach (meaning their localities and state). I don't think that they have the pals in big business that they have to take care of. Or…perhaps make teachers and legislators equals in pay, perks, etc.. Whatever the budget is to cover for all of those in that bucket, they should share equally. I don’t think a legislator is any more important that a teacher. If anything,teachers are way more important. It is where the education starts and they hold our children’s future..
Les August 20, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Why worry about the public schools ----- place your children in private schools where the education is so much better ---an area that challenges students. Private schools do not teach to lowest level ----- they inspire students to the highest level of achievment. It is about time that teachers earn a comparable wage and benefits to the private sector --- no need for public employees to be getting astronomical wages and benefits. No one ever paid for my benefits --- no one! They have always been my responsibility and I love it thatr way.
Ron August 20, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Michigan (part-time) legislators are the highest paid in the country and receive better health care than most of us in the state. You won't see them voting to cut their pay or tribute more to your retirement plans. That's for us to pay for. There has been much said about their six digit salaries, health care and retirement plans and the limited hours that they actually put in. However, nothing has been done to correct this or require them to take cuts like the rest of us.
michelle August 20, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Les, I am a single mother with no monetary help from my ex. I have a good job, pay my mortgage and other bills without any help. However, I can't afford private schools. I moved to Trenton in 2002, paid the higher taxes for the main purpose of sending my child to Trenton Public Schools which was one of the best in the area. I never heard anyone say they LOVE paying their benefits. HAHA. I pay for mine too but I don't LOVE it. :-)
Reeda August 21, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Les, what is a comparable wage? A teacher with a Masters degree make $50,000. That is 6 years of college... Kids coming out of college with 4 years college can make 60-80,000 dollars in engineering and IT. Do you think the best and brightest are going to teach for $50,000. Private school teachers make even less. Quit regurgitating what you hear on TV and look into our career before you speak.
Ron August 21, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Reeda, I couldn't agree with you more. Les sounds like he's bitter and is attempting to put a happy face on it when in reality someone or some corporation provided his benefits. And in this state, Governor Snyder is making it harder for working families and single parents like yourself to get health care and make ends meet. Snyder and the Michigan Legislature should practice what they preach. They are the highest paid politicians in the country and have the best health care plans and retirements in the state.

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