Teacher pension fallout

Michigan public school employees are preparing for change.
Krystle Wagner
Aug 19, 2012

New regulations expected to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder replace fully subsidized health care premiums for new employees with $2,000 deposited into a health reimbursement account and up to 2 percent matching contribution into a 401 (k) account to be used toward the purchase of retiree health care or other purpose.

It also allows existing employees to opt out of retiree health care coverage, and their three percent contributions made to date would be credited to their 401 (k) account.

In addition, a third-party group will conduct a study determining the cost of ending pensions and switching to a 401k program. They hope to have it completed by Nov. 15.

As of Friday afternoon, the measure was awaiting Snyder’s approval, which Michigan Education Association president Steven Cook predicted he would sign.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said all school employees will be required to pay more into the system, but the amount would vary depending on the option they choose.

“New teachers will ultimately face a reduction or complete elimination of some of the current benefit components,” Konarska said. “The reform package does assure that the retirement rate currently paid by districts will be maintained at the current level, preventing the significant jumps that had been predicted.”

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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