Schools pay more for retirement

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. — Michigan public school districts began paying higher retirement contributions for their employees this week, and may see a second jump in November as a lawsuit over retiree health payments plays out, according to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

Districts will pay an amount equal to 19.41 percent of payroll into the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System this year, up from 16.94 percent last year, the report said. That may increase to 20.66 percent as of Nov. 1 as a lawsuit continues over a new state law requiring school employees to contribute 3 percent of their salaries toward their retiree health care, the Press & Argus reported.

The state is restoring $154 per student to every public school district this year, as well as allocating an additional $23 and $46 per student, the Press & Argus reported, based on the state receiving a one-time, $316 million infusion of federal money.

Scott Menzel, superintendent of the Livingston Educational Service Agency, told the Press & Argus that districts may want to save additional money for 2012 because of the unpredictable economy.

He told the Press & Argus that while the federal money was welcome, it also allowed the state Legislature to avoid making reform in the state's own school funding system.

Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, "Districts see little assistance in budget," Oct. 1, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "MEA Lawsuit on Retiree Health Benefits Misguided," Aug. 9, 2010