Districts Question Retirement Plan

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

It's no secret that local districts across the state are slowly suffering.

"School districts are planning on layoffs because of the tight budgets, the state's looking to cut the Foundation Grant that each student provides to the school district, there's cost of living increases, there's budget tights," said Ed Sarpolus of the Michigan Education Association.

And to prevent layoffs lawmakers are making bold moves to save money.

"Encourage those veteran teachers to leave and in turn probably be replaced by young, new teachers," said Chuck Agerstrand of the Michigan Education Association.

It's called the School Employee Retirement Stimulus, increasing public school employee pensions to encourage retirement.

"We're looking at about a $410 million savings state-wide to all local school districts, so these are real dollars that could be generated within the foreseeable future," Agerstrand said.

Charlotte Public Schools Superintendent Nancy Hipskind isn't completely sold.

"If we're going to pay an increased amount to certain segment of the retirees, my assumption would be that somewhere along the line, there's going to be a rate increase to support that, the money has to come from somewhere," Hipskind said.

There are pros to the plan Hipskind says, but with 150 less students expected in her district next year, she says it's probable those vacant positions wouldn't be replaced.

"If I'm not going to replace that teacher, then there's really no savings, the savings only comes when you have an expensive teacher and a you're going to replace them with a less expensive teacher," Hipskind said.

Only time will tell if the proposal will gain support.

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