Michigan’s public school employees to share multimillion dollar refund

Jon Korte, Staff Writer

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On Dec. 20, the Supreme Court of Michigan unanimously declared that a law which deducted 3 percent from every public school employees’ paycheck was unconstitutional.

This means that the money must be returned.

History teacher and Farmington Education and Association representative Steven Korpusik stated that he will get paid “$3-4 thousand” after taxes as a result of the ruling.

This came from a long effort of seven years, starting in 2010.

Public Act 75, the now-former law, was originally passed and signed into law under Governor Granholm in 2010, but was struck down as unconstitutional in 2011. In 2010, the law was passed as a way to save schools money by allowing teachers to retire earlier based on retirement incentives. It was mainly passed due to budget concerns, due in part to the 2008-09 recession.

Later it was revised and passed again under Governor Snyder in 2012 with the name Public Act 300.

The refund of the money is currently in the works; it is going to from the state escrow to the school districts first, and will eventually trickle down into a check/payment to each employee.

Now there are future matters that should be addressed, such as tax rates. It is unknown whether the refunded money will be taxed at the current tax rate, or at the rates of the original deduction within the years 2010-13 once tax day arrives.

In addition, psychology teacher Tracy Kendall said that she “wouldn’t be shocked” if the return is a one-time payment.

Korpusik said that the district hasn’t “decided how to release the money.”

Ever since the original law was appealed, the money that was put in the state budget was moved to escrow instead. Since escrow is not the Michigan budget, there should be no concern of an added expenditure on the budget when the money gets refunded.

In essence, it has no negative effect on the Michigan economy.

But, for the time being, there is an actual refund coming in the future for school employees throughout Michigan.