The Senate Fiscal Agency’s analysis of the legislation estimates SB 279 would cost schools $900,000. According to the analysis, retirement costs for the 50 school employees on release time across the state would be shifted from the unions to the School Aid Fund.
“In their zeal to attack unions and further restrict local districts from making decisions on how best to run their schools, the state Senate is willing to cut nearly $1 million out of public education,” said Steven Cook, President of the Michigan Education Association.
Union release time is negotiated between local unions and local school boards. School administrators and release time employees work together on school improvement committees, teacher mentoring programs, school budgets, curriculum development and labor relations issues.
“Those school boards that negotiate with local associations for release time do so because they believe it is necessary for the efficient operation of their school district. Politicians in Lansing should not be dictating to local boards how to run their districts,” said Cook.
After the passage of legislation to improve teacher and administrator evaluations, Cook urged lawmakers to continue to work on real education reform and put aside attacks on unions. “Unlike the recently passed evaluation legislation, these bills do nothing to move education reform forward and improve student achievement. I urge the Senate to reject SB 279 and SB 280 and work on issues that will actually improve public schools in Michigan,” Cook said.
“The mission of the MEA is to ensure that the education of our students and the working environments of our members are of the highest quality.”