Michigan school employees – take note: Your public is behind you, even if the politicians in Lansing don’t always seem to be.
In a statewide survey commissioned by MEA and conducted by EPIC-MRA, a solid plurality of registered voters said they oppose plans to close the school employee retirement system to new hires – 47 percent oppose the Republican leadership’s plans, compared to 32 percent in support.
Even more striking among the survey results released Thursday – nearly 6 in 10 voters of all political stripes say school employees are paid too little in salary and wages, and 7 in 10 say school employees’ health insurance, retirement, and other benefits are about right or too little.
In general, the voters surveyed – all considered likely to vote in the November 2018 general election – said they have other priorities for $540 million that lawmakers have targeted to pay for the first year of costs to gut school employee pensions.
At the top of the list for that money: roads (43 percent), followed by child safety, public health and environmental quality (19 percent). Only 12 percent of those surveyed supported pension system changes expected to cost the state an additional $46 billion over 40 years.
“These results suggest that any intent on the part of Republican legislators to make the change proposed in the school employee pension system is not based on any belief among their base of support that such a change is needed,” EPIC-MRA concluded.
Let’s use this encouraging public sentiment to continue working on our cause. For a more detailed look at the results, go here.
No action was scheduled this week on nearly identical House and Senate bills (SB 401 and HB 4647) that would close the Michigan School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). Many lawmakers have spent this week traveling to Mackinac Island for an annual conference.
As they return, we will again need to ramp up our contacts to legislators – and encourage calls and emails from the parents and community leaders we know support us. Access our Action Network tools to call or email your representatives and senators today.
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, as this retired Adrian educator did. Where you can, tell your story and share what’s happening to public education in Michigan. Remember – public opinion is on our side.