Monday, March 16, 2009

Lobby Effort Under Way on Retirement Stimulus

Please tell your state senator to support SB 255

KCEA members are urged to contact their state senator immediately to support Senate Bill 255, a bill that would save money and create jobs.

Today, in the Senate Education Committee, substitute language was introduced for the School Employee Retirement Stimulus, which creates a one-year window from April 1, 2009, through March 31, 2010, in which school employees under MPSERS who are eligible for retirement could do so with a 1.75 percent multiplier for their pensions.

The multiplier is up from the current 1.5 percent, but down from a 2 percent multiplier proposed earlier. Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, is the primary sponsor of SB 255.

MEA members should tell their senator to take up SB 255 immediately and to vote yes. The savings that could be generated next year -- almost $500 million -- could help many school districts avoid mass layoffs.

If enacted, the legislation would encourage veteran school employees at the top of the salary schedule to retire. It would also open up jobs for recent and future college graduates who want to work in public education.

It is unknown exactly how many school employees would retire with the stimulus. While there would be a limit on the number who could retire, the exact figure will vary depending on how many of the most senior employees with actual service in Michigan public schools opt to do so. The liability for Michigan schools would be capped at $1.5 billion.