Pensions are costing school districts billions of dollars, yet school officials are not supporting reform.
School superintendents across the state are starting to take their message about rising teacher retirement costs directly to parents.
Midland Public Schools Superintendent Michael Sharrow wrote June 16 that retirement costs were costing the district an extra $60 per student.
Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Susan Zurvalec also told parents in a letter the district’s budget woes were tied to costs related to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.
Teachers across the state still get traditional pensions as retirement benefits. Other state workers and most people employed in the private sector have 401(k)-type retirement plans. The unfunded liability for teacher pension benefits increased to $25.8 billion in 2013, up $1.5 billion from 2012.
Zurvalec wrote: “In fact, with the rising cost of the retirement system, which is not under our control, we are actually losing approximately $25 per pupil and not receiving any increase overall.”
But James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said school district officials could do more about MPSERS.
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