MEA member says reform bill calling for teachers to contribute minimally to retirement is unfair
Terri List says she would tell her students not to become a teacher in Michigan.
One of the reasons is because the Saginaw Township Community School District English teacher won’t be able to retire at age 47 as she has hoped.
List was highlighted by the Michigan Education Association as one of the critics of Senate Bill 1040, which would require public school employees to contribute at least 5 percent of their compensation to their retirement plan.
The MEA reported on its website: "Saginaw Township teacher Terry (sic) List had hoped to retire in the next three years when she was 47 years old. That wouldn’t be possible under SB 1040. List would have to work another 16 years to be eligible for health benefits."
“By the time I’m 60, I would have put in 43 years of service, earning a salary at the top of the pay scale. How does that save the district money? You could hire two people for the cost of one and encourage young people to join the profession. Right now, I would not recommend to my pupils to become a teacher in Michigan.”
List didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
According to the school’s most recent teacher’s contract, List earns between $70,000 and $80,000 a year depending upon her level of education. Factor in expected pay raises over the next 15 years and it’s likely List would make more than $90,000 by the time she retires, said Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Van Beek estimated List’s pension would be $60,000 a year in retirement and it would increase 3 percent a year and she would get health benefits when she retired at age 60. Van Beek also said that it is likely that List bought “years of service” because she said she would have 43 years of service by age 60. Van Beek said that practice is basically extinct in the private sector.
Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, called List’s comments “amazing.”
“Wow. They have reached the politicians’ level of entitlement,” Drolet said. “She thinks she is entitled to retire at 47? Holy smokes. I don’t know what more to say to that. A government employee thinking that 47 is a reasonable expectation to retire shows just how deep inside their own bubble they live, insulated from the real world.”
Charles Owens, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, said tongue-in-cheek that List was “spot on” in her complaint.
“If you want to retire if you are 47, apparently teaching is not the place to go,” Owens said. “The least Terri could do is provide a list of places other people could go so they can retire when they are 47.”