More Court Battles Expected Over MPSERS Reform

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

After a morning of hearing arguments, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina made the call but says the decision didn't come easy.

"Teachers deserve ten fold what they earn, the public simply can't afford to pay them what they're worth," said Judge Aquilina.

Lansing School District teacher Jim Allen is one of many looking closely at the court battle over Public Act 300, a new law that requires school employees to pay more for healthcare and pensions.

"I realize there needs to be some changes made but blaming the teachers for the shortfall is not right," Allen said.

Teachers' unions asked the judge to strike down parts of the law, including the increase in pension contribution. They say it's a breach of contract and unconstitutional.

"Persons entering into public school employment were told they can rely on these terms," said attorney Mark Cousens.

Assistant Attorney General Patrick Fitzgerald countered saying there is no contract.

"There is no language in the statute that states the pension formula provided herein shall remain permanent throughout a members service."

Judge Aquilina did rule in favor of the unions on one thing, that giving school employees just 52 days to decide which type of retirement contribution they'll make is unconstitutional.

Attorneys say that means implementation of the law remains suspended.

Allen thinks the changes would ultimately affect the bottom line of many teachers, but the state says it's also about its bottom line and that P.A. 300 helps to fill a $45 billion hole in the school employee retirement system.

Both sides said they'll likely appeal the judge's decision.


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