Snyder budget may force issue of pay, benefits

DETROIT — A $470-per-pupil cut in state funding along with this year’s $230-per-pupil increase in retirement costs would be “potentially devastating” to public school districts, the executive director of the Michigan School Business Officials told the Detroit Free Press.

“Unless we’re really going to put this on the backs of kids, we really need to adjust our pay of employees,” Dave Martell told the Free Press.

In Bloomfield Hills Public Schools, Superintendent Rob Glass told the Free Press that the district would need to cut about $5 million from the 2011-2012 budget under Snyder’s proposal, up from earlier estimates of $3.5 million.

Public school districts currently pay an amount equivalent to 20 percent of payroll into a fund for retirement benefits for public school employees, according to the Swartz Creek View. Swartz Creek Community Schools officials said that number could increase to nearly 26 percent next year, making the district “unsustainable,” the View reported.

Of the $898,000 the district received in federal “edujobs” funds, $720,000 will go to teacher retirement benefits, the report said.

University funding would be reduced by 15 percent under the governor’s proposed budget, though $83 million in grant funding would be available for universities that keep tuition increases to 7 percent or less.

Detroit Free Press, “Education: Schools reeling over cuts,” Feb. 18, 2011

The Swartz Creek View, “Swartz Creek discusses the financial impact of MPSERS rate,” Feb. 17, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Benefits in Balance.”