LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation amending the states Public School Retirement Act. The changes were first introduced in June with the goal of creating relief for teacher shortages across the state.
Before the amendments were passed, retired public school employees had to prove a bona fide termination, meaning educators had to wait at least 9 months before returning to work in Michigan schools, in any capacity, to avoid risking their retirement benefits and pensions.
State House Representative Matt Koleszar said he began working on the amendment with The Office of Retirement Services in January after talking with educators who said they were frustrated with the 9 month rule.
“This is for any public school employees so you could be a teachers, support staff, coach, there’s a lot of different things and roles that we need people to fill.” Representative Koleszar said. “One of the examples I hear most often is a teacher who was retired but still would like to coach a sport but felt like they couldn’t under the way the law was written. We’ve fixed that.”
The amendments to the public school retirement act, signed yesterday by the Governor, has shortened the 9 month termination period to 6 months, after which public school employees can return to work, full time, with no pay restrictions and with their pensions. The amendments have also made it possible for retired employees to return to work before the end of the 6 month period with no risk to their pension and benefits, as long as their pay is under $15,100 per year.
“Maybe someone wanted to substitute for a couple days a week, or maybe they wanted to still be a club advisor. There’s a litany of things they still wanted to do, and this opens it up for all of them.” Representative Koleszar said. “I think it’s important to point out that there is not one solution to the teacher shortage. We need to look at this from a variety of different ways and this is just one more way”
Representative Koleszar explained that the policy applies to all school staff, other than superintendents, Including paraprofessionals and support staff.
“I am proud to sign legislation making it easier for retired teachers and public school employees to get back in the classroom and continue making a difference for our kids while earning the pensions they deserve.” Governor Whitmer said.
Representative Koleszar said it was a group effort to start working on projects to create relief from the shortage of workers in Michigan’s schools.