MEA pension plan set aside

LANSING, Mich. – A plan to boost teacher pensions as a way to move near-retirees out of the system has been shelved in the state Senate, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Authored by the Michigan Education Association, the plan had some bipartisan support, but Senate Education Committee Chairman Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, put it aside after  a study showed it could cost up to $4 billion over 30 years, the Free Press reported.

The plan would have boosted pensions for up to 29,000 eligible school retirees if they retired soon, according to the article, opening up those jobs for younger teachers at lower pay.

MEA spokesman Ed Sarpolus told the Free Press that the plan had plenty of support in the Legislature but was tangled in election politics.

"The proposal was well-intentioned but too costly," said Matt Marsden, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, the Free Press reported.

The Detroit Free Press, “Plan to boost some Michigan teacher pensions dies,” March 29, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, “Pension plan too costly, administrators say,” Feb. 3, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Pension Boost Proposal Exposes Political System’s Dysfunctions,” March 16, 2009