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Teacher Pension Overhaul Headed to Gov. Snyder

Jake Neher/WDET

New teachers will get different retirement options than current school employees under a bill sent to Gov. Rick Snyder.

This months-long argument over teacher retirement benefits threatened to derail budget negotiations between GOP leaders and Gov. Snyder, who is anxious to get the spending plan wrapped up this week.

Republicans like state Rep. Tom Albert (R-Belding) say the current pension system is unaffordable and burns up money that could be used in classrooms and to boost teacher pay.        

So if we start reigning in the pension costs, hopefully in the future we can start paying more for a starting salary,” he said.

The new system would provide traditional 401-K plans and a hybrid 401-K and pension plan that would require higher contributions from new teachers.

The overhaul is opposed by Democrats, teachers unions, and school administrators – who say this punishes new employees without fixing the problems.

And not all Republicans were on board. State Rep. Marty Howrylak (R-Troy) says he voted “no” because this plan doesn’t offer a secure retirement to new teachers

We need to also make sure that the education community is being offered a viable and sustainable retirement option,” he said. “So we don’t want the pendulum to swing so far to the other side that we dis-incentivize folks from going into the teaching profession.”

Howrylak said he expects future legislators will have to re-visit the issue.

Image credit: U.S. Department of Education

About the Author

Rick Pluta

REPORTER / PRODUCER - MICHIGAN PUBLIC RADIO NETWORK

Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

Follow @rickpluta

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