Much-needed classroom dollars are being sucked up by the enormous pension payments that districts have to make each year.
Sad, but true — the day of pensions is quickly coming to an end. Schools and governmental agencies can no longer afford them. And taxpayers who don’t have them are sick and tired of paying for them.
Many years ago, teachers and governmental employees did not make much, but they were given pensions and great fringe benefits to make up the difference. Then they organized as unions and their pay also went up. So, they were getting decent pay plus great pensions and great fringe benefits, such as top-on-the-line health insurance.
This was also true of the auto industry that began crumbling years ago due to extreme pension and health care costs.
Everyone would love a pension, but they just are not sustainable. Many states, cities and school districts face bankruptcy because they can’t afford to fund the pension fund.
We are not saying to take away pensions from teachers. If they signed on with the promise of getting a pension, they should receive it.
But we do agree with Michigan Senate Bill 727 that would give new school employees a 401(k), not pensions. Employees could contribute up to 5 percent of their salary to their account, and the local school district would have to contribute an amount equal to 80 percent of this.
We believe this is more than fair.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.