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Politics & Government

Lame duck could bring changes to teacher retirement

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Public school teachers could see changes to their retirement plans. That’s under changes getting pushed through in the state legislature’s lame duck session.

The bills were passed through the Senate Appropriations committee Wednesday by a narrow nine votes to eight. The committee met for several hours taking testimony and engaging in sometimes heated debate.

The current system is a combination pension and 401(k), but the legislation would put all new teachers under just a 401(k) plan.

Republican bill sponsor Senator Phil Pavlov says the change would protect retirees and current employees by giving them a reliable retirement plan.

Pavlov said, “The hardworking teachers in our classrooms deserve predictability in their system and we have to provide that.”

But opponents of the legislation aren’t so sure new is better.

Peter Spadafore is with the Michigan Association of School Administrators. He says he’s heard from superintendents and administrators on the bills. Not one was in favor of the change.

“We can’t attract and retain talented educators, business officials, superintendents for that matter if our system is not competitive,” he said. “And that’s a big concern.”

The legislation initially looked as though it was headed for a full Senate floor vote on Wednesday, but it stalled.

Senate Majority leader spokesperson Amber McCann says some caucus members still have questions.


“You know this is not our last day, it’s not our last week, it’s not our lame duck,” she said. “We have another day this week, we have a few more days of session left before we call it good for the year.”