Contents of this issue:
- Senate OKs 80/20 plan on health insurance
- Facing deficit, Flint considers outsourcing
- Harbor Beach offers $30,000 retirement incentive
- No shared principals
in Ann Arbor
- College reconsiders senior tuition waivers
Senate OKs 80/20 Plan on Health Insurance
LANSING, Mich. — Public employees would be required to pay
at least 20 percent of their health insurance premiums under legislation
approved by the state Senate, while a separate bill would curtail automatic
teacher pay hikes in cases when a contract has expired, according to media
Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township, said the insurance
contribution would bring public-sector cost sharing in line with the private
sector, where workers often pay more than 20 percent of their health insurance
premium, according to Mlive. The arrangement, which also would apply to
legislators, would save public employers more than $500 million annually, the
Employee contributions in school districts currently vary
from zero to more than 20 percent, the report said. The legislation would allow
county and municipal employers to exempt themselves from the 80-20 requirement
with a two-thirds vote of the governing board, according to Mlive.
Sen. John Gleason, D-Flushing, called the move a power grab
that attacks the collective bargaining privileges of teachers and other public
employees, Mlive reported.
In related news, teachers would no longer receive automatic
“step increases” once a collective bargaining contract has expired, and would
no longer be able to bargain retroactive pay increases under legislation that
Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign, The Muskegon Chronicle reported.
The Muskegon Chronicle, “Teacher
‘step increases,’ retroactive wages curtailed in bill headed for Gov. Snyder,”
May 18, 2011
Senate passes bill requiring public workers to pay 20 percent of health
insurance premiums,” May 18, 2011
MichiganVotes, “2011 Senate Bill 7 - Mandate 20
percent government employee health benefit contribution,” Jan. 19, 2011
MichiganVotes, “House Bill 4152 - Limit
certain automatic government union employee pay hikes,” Jan. 26, 2011
Facing deficit, Flint considers outsourcing
FLINT, Mich. — Flint Community Schools will enter talks
with private companies on providing transportation and maintenance services as
school trustees look for ways to reduce spending by $9.5 million to balance next
year’s budget, The Flint Journal reported.
Concurrently, the trustees rejected a custodial services
bid that would have saved the district an estimated $2.5 million, but that
board members said set wages too low, The Journal reported. A representative
from that firm told trustees there is room to negotiate on wages.
The district also will continue talks with union employees
who currently provide non-instructional services, according to The Journal.
Failure to balance the budget could lead to the state
appointing an emergency financial manager, some board members said, according
to The Journal.
“That financial manger can come in and make changes you
don't like,” said board member Fred Bashir, according to The Journal.
The Flint Journal, “Flint
schools moves step closer to outsourcing services,” May 18, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan School Privatization Survey 2010,”
Nov. 30, 2010
No Shared Principals in Ann
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Ann Arbor
Public Schools trustees rejected an administration proposal to save up to
$200,000 by sharing two principals among four elementary schools in 2011-2012,
instead directing administrators to spend enough money from fund equity to
place one principal in each building,
according to the Ann Arbor Chronicle.
Interim Superintendent Robert
Allen has said that the goal of sharing principals was to prevent closing a
school and to maintain flexibility in view of uncertain state funding, the
Chronicle reported, but many in the community were opposed.
Critics said some of the schools
in question need full-time principals because they enroll a large proportion of
low-income and special education students. They also objected to a plan for “lead
teachers” to fill in when the principal is out of the building, and noted that
the projected savings is minimal compared to the $15 million that must be cut
from next year’s spending plan, the Chronicle reported.
Two trustees said it was
premature to eliminate the option before the district knows next year’s state
funding levels. Trustee Christine Stead also said that she would rather save on
principals in order to retain teaching jobs, the Chronicle reported.
Ann Arbor Chronicle, “AAPS
Board: No Principal Sharing in 2011-2012,” May 17, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public
Policy, “Commentary: Five Easy
Questions to Ask School Officials,” May 10, 2011
Harbor Beach offers $30,000 retirement incentive
HARBOR BEACH, Mich.
— Harbor Beach Community Schools again will offer a one-time $30,000
retirement incentive to any teacher with at least 12 years of employment with
the district, according to the Huron Daily Tribune.
Last year nine teachers agreed to a similar offer,
according to the Tribune; only a few educators are eligible this year. Teachers
at the top of the salary scale receive approximately $100,000 annually in wages
and benefits, Superintendent Ron Kraft said, according to the Tribune.
If three teachers at the top of the scale retire, that is
equivalent to five teachers at the bottom of the salary schedule, Kraft said,
the Tribune reported. He said that the teachers union approached him about
offering the incentive again this year.
Huron Daily Tribune, “HB
school offers severance incentive,” May 13, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Should Education Money only be for K-12?” April 29, 2011
College Reconsiders Senior Tuition Waivers
CENTREVILLE, Mich. — Glen Oaks Community College may
rethink its practice of offering free tuition to students age 60 or older, an
offer that has led some seniors to enroll full-time in the college’s nursing
program, according to the Three Rivers Commercial-News. That is one of Glen
Oaks’ most expensive programs.
The waivers cost the college about $15,000 last year,
President Gary Wheeler told trustees at a recent meeting, the Commercial-News
reported. Wheeler said that state law allows for senior citizen tuition
waivers, but doesn’t require it, according to the Commercial-News. He said a
number of enrollees are retraining for second careers.
Trustees took no action to change the current policy,
though they discussed raising the minimum age for free tuition to 65, or
placing tuition-waived seniors in classes on a space-available basis only.
Three Rivers Commercial-News, “Glen
Oaks/Trine link discussed,” May 12, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Helpful Facts about Michigan’s Public
Sector,” March 15, 2011
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
Report (https://www.educationreport.org), an online newspaper published by the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy (https://www.mackinac.org),
a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.