Report finds inflation, retirement costs eating up increases in education funding

May 24, 2013

Kalamazoo school bus - file photo
Credit WMUK

A new report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan finds that increases to K-12 spending in the state hasn't resulted in additional dollars in the classroom. 

The report considers inflation, the loss of temporary federal stimulus money that helped cover education costs and the additional payments required to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MSPERS). The Director of State Affairs for the Citizens Research Council, Bob Schneider, discussed the report with WMUK's Gordon Evans. 

Schneider says while state funding has gone up for education, the schools are constrained in how they can spend the money. He says even though the stock market has rebounded, the losses from 2008 and 09 are still being factored in to the financial balance sheets. Schneider says there will also be a lag for the increase in the stock market to factor in to the state retirement system. 

The state has taken some steps to address the financial health of the retirement system. Schneider says those will likely help keep the problem from getting worse. But he says the higher contributions to the MPSERS system are likely to continue into the future.