Today is the deadline for eligible school employees to accept an enhanced retirement offer from the state. And, statewide, it appears the retirement plan is not likely to hit its targets to save schools money.
The plan counts on 30,000 veteran teachers and other school employees to accept the deal. The state offered enhanced payments to get more-expensive employees off the payrolls. The ones that remain will pay more for their health and retirement benefits.
The state retirement office reports applications so far adding up to less than half the projected numbers, which could mean anticipated savings will fall short of the $680 million dollars schools were counting on.
"We're not sure how successful the incentive's going to be, so we'll see what happens as the numbers become official, and we'll see if it was worth it," says Peter Spadafore, with the Michigan Association of School Boards.
Whether it's worth it will vary from district to district depending on how many school employees actually retire, how many are replaced, and what those replacements are paid.
"What we're seeing now is probably the vast majority of individuals that have already submitted their retirement papers were retiring anyway, so we've ended up spending a lot more money getting people who were already going to retire to retire still," Spadafore says.
We won't know until next week exactly how many teachers have accepted a retirement offer from the state.