Pension plan didn’t spark retirement, two say

GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. - Four long-time school superintendents will retire in Genesee County in 2010, according to The Flint Journal. Two said their decision is not related to a proposal by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to boost pension benefits for retirees.

Superintendents Barbara Goebel of Flushing Community Schools, Clay Perkins of Davison Community Schools, Ralph Coaster of Fenton Area Public Schools and Thomas Svitkovich of the Genesee Intermediate School District all have announced retirement plans, according to The Journal.

A spokesman for Goebel and Svitkovich told The Journal that their decision was unrelated to the governor's proposal to offer a retirement incentive to long-time school employees, saving the state money by replacing some of them with incoming employees at beginning wages. The other superintendents could not be reached for comment, The Journal reported.

Granholm's proposal also would eliminate school retiree vision and dental benefits as of next year and require school employees to contribute another 3 percent to their pensions. She has estimated that if 29,000 people retire, the state could save up to $659 million in 2011, The Journal reported.

The Journal reported that a superintendent making $150,000 a year, with 30 years seniority, would receive an extra $4,500 annually under the proposal, or a pension of about $72,000 a year. A Michigan Education Association spokeswoman told The Journal that the average teacher would receive $1,000 to $2,000 on top of an annual pension of about $28,000.

Several Flint area school administrators told The Journal that it was hard to predict how many teachers would accept such an incentive.

The Flint Journal, "Four Genesee County superintendents set to retire this year; Could Gov. Granholm's retirement proposal push more experienced educators to exit?" Feb. 26, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Retirement fund losses will cost schools, but how much?" April 20, 2009