FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016
School leaders applaud Senate for dropping school employee retirement package
Proposal, if passed, would have had devastating financial consequences for school districts
LANSING, Mich. — School leaders praised the Michigan Senate’s decision today to abandon a package of bills that would have cost taxpayers billions of dollars and had a devastating impact on schools and kids. Superintendents in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties represented by the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education called on the Senate to consult with education experts before pushing proposals that impact schools.
“This proposal would have had dire financial consequences for taxpayers and schools,” said Robert D. Livernois, Superintendent of Warren Consolidated Schools. “This proposal, if passed, would have resulted in layoffs, overcrowded classrooms and school closures, and could have even pushed schools to the brink of bankruptcy. We appreciate the legislature for putting the brakes on this proposal.”
Independent experts, including the Senate Fiscal Agency, said the proposal would have cost $1.6 billion to $3.8 billion over five years, as reported by the Detroit Free Press.
“We thank the legislature for listening to superintendents and education experts who are on the front lines,” said Kenneth Gutman, Superintendent of Walled Lake Consolidated Schools. “I hope we can use this opportunity as a springboard for a broader discussion about school financing, particularly about the adequacy of school funding so we can keep our retirement promises to our teachers and staff while also providing our students with the resources necessary for a top-notch education.”
“Our parents, school leaders and staff have been greatly concerned about the proposal to shut down the school employee retirement system for new employees, as it would’ve taken resources out of the classroom by increasing costs for local schools, and we’re relieved the legislature is hitting the pause button to take a hard look at the costs and the impact on schools,” said Randy Liepa, Superintendent of Wayne RESA.
The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education is a coalition of education leaders committed to fighting for strong K-12 schools across Michigan. Comprised of Superintendents from every district in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, they are collectively responsible for educating nearly 600,000 students (approximately 40 percent of the statewide K-12 population).