LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. - A new school employee retirement plan probably won't bring much extra money into Livingston County schools, officials there told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

The state plan is expected to save money by encouraging higher-paid, more experienced teachers to retire, and then replacing them with beginning teachers at lower wages or not replacing them at all. In addition, school employees now will have to contribute an amount equal to 3 percent of their wages into a retiree health care fund.

However, a number of teachers already have retired under incentives offered by their local districts, leaving fewer eligible to retire under the new state plan, county superintendents told the Press & Argus. Also, one teachers union president told the Press & Argus that the new health care contribution will have ramifications at the bargaining table.

At the Livingston Educational Service Agency, about 88 employees are eligible for the new state incentive and 20 have shown interest, Superintendent Scott Menzel told the Press & Argus. Of those 20, half had already planned to retire, he said.

Mary Aldecoa, president of the Fowlerville Education Association, called the new 3 percent contribution from teachers an "automatic pay cut" and said it would affect current bargaining between the teachers and Fowlerville Community Schools.

Superintendent Dan Danosky told the Press & Argus that while the plan likely won't entice more employees in Pinckney Community Schools to retire, the health care contribution will be of benefit.

SOURCES:
Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, "Retirement plan likely won't help area schools," May 21, 2010

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The School Employee Concession Myth," May 18, 2010

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