MARSP Past-president, Clarence Miller, dies after long battle with cancer

Clarence Miller photoClarence Miller, MARSP Past-president and current Area 29 Director, passed away on Saturday, November 7, 2015, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Clarence was in integral part of MARSP for many years and volunteered countless hours for both MARSP and the MARSP Foundation. He served as MARSP President from 1997-1999 and was the current director for Area 29 in Florida. He also served in the following positions during his many years with MARSP:

  • Ocala-FL Chapter Legislative Chairman
  • MARSP Legislative Ambassador
  • MARSP Finance Committee Member
  • MARSP Foundation Board Member
  • MARSP Foundation Endowment Fund Secretary
  • MARSP Pension 101 Presenter
  • MARSP Past Director Areas 9 & 12

Clarence’s service and contributions to MARSP were invaluable and he will be greatly missed. The funeral arrangements and links to his obituary are below:

Visitation and funeral service will be held at Aurelius Baptist Church, 4419 Barnes Rd, Mason, MI 48854. Visitation will be Tuesday, November 10, 2015 from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 11, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Thursday, November 12, at 11:00 a.m., followed by funeral services at 12:00 p.m. Thursday, November 12, with Pastor Steve Aiken officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Aurelius Baptist Church, or The Gideons International. Please visit to sign Clarence’s guest book or leave a message of condolence. Arrangements entrusted to the Leslie Funeral Home, 109 Church St., Leslie, MI 49251. (517) 878-6600. – See more at:

UPDATE: MPSERS Health Care Presentation locations confirmed

The MPSERS Health Care Benefit Presentations held each year around the state and country have been scheduled for the following dates and cities.

MPSERS Member Healthcare Presentations Schedule
All meetings are held from 9:00 a.m. to noon
Region Date Location
Sault Ste Marie Thursday, October 15 Lake Superior State University – Cisler Student and Conference Center
650 W. Easterday Ave
Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783
Marquette Friday, October 16 Holiday Inn Marquette
1951 U.S. 41 West
Marquette, MI 49855
Traverse City Thursday, October 22 West Bay Beach Holiday Inn Resort
615 E. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49686
Gaylord Friday, October 23 Otsego Club & Resort
696 M-32 E. Main Street
Gaylord, MI 49734
Sterling Heights Monday, October 26 Sterling Inn
34911 Van Dyke Ave
Sterling Heights, MI 48312
Battle Creek Thursday, October 29 FireKeepers Casino Hotel
11177 E. Michigan Ave
Battle Creek, MI 49014
Grand Rapids Friday, October 30 Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids
5700 28th Street S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Livonia Monday, November 2 Laurel Manor
39000 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
Lansing Tuesday, November 3 East Lansing Marriott at University Place
300 M.A.C. Avenue
East Lansing, MI 48823
Saginaw Wednesday, November 4 Bavarian Inn Lodge
One Covered Bridge Lane
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Scottsdale Monday, November 9 Doubletree Resort Paradise Valley – Scottsdale
  5401 N. Scottsdale Road
  Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Tucson Tuesday, November 10 Hilton Garden Inn Tucson Airport
  6575 S. Country Club Road
   Tucson, AZ 85706
Villages/Ocala Monday, December 7 The College of Central Florida –Ewers Century Center
  Klein Conference Center
  3001 SW College Road
  Ocala, FL 34474
Clearwater Tuesday, December 8 Holiday Inn Express & Suites Clearwater
  2580 Gulf to Bay Blvd
  Clearwater, FL. 33765
Sarasota Wednesday, December 9 Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota Brandenton Airport
  8270 N. Tamiami Trail
  Sarasota, FL. 34243
Fort Myers Thursday, December 10 Crowne Plaza Ft. Myers at The Bell Tower Shops
  13051 Bell Tower Drive
  Fort Myers, FL. 33907
Stuart Friday, December 11 The Kane Center
900 SE Salerno Road
Stuart, FL. 34997

Executive Director’s September Blog Post: Pension costs not a major factor in school districts credit ratings being downgraded

Very interesting to see that 43 Michigan school districts’ credit ratings have been downgraded recently by Moody’s Investors’ Service (Detroit News article Aug. 31, 2015). The article does a great job of explaining why so many districts find themselves with a lower credit rating and, not surprising to us, pension costs are not among the major factors.

I thought I could predict some of the districts on the list, but I was surprised by many of the names. The credit cuts to districts like Farmington, East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Williamston, Warren Consolidated tell us that the financial struggles of school districts are not confined to urban schools such as Detroit, Flint or Lansing, although those districts also suffered cuts. Those names tell me that the financial challenges of school districts cut across all sizes, shapes and locales of districts.

Although Michigan’s economy has improved, we’re still seeing many districts trying to deal with the residual effects of the poor economy of the last few years and a host of other issues. Districts have been fighting the financial battle for at least 15 years, due in large part to declining populations, lower birthrates and necessary technology and infrastructure upgrades in aging facilities. It’s also not an easy task to try to downsize the operations of a school district, no matter its size, and decrease budgets quickly. Couple that with the fact that the School Aid budget is about 9.5 percent lower than the 2000 budget (inflation adjusted) and the task becomes even more difficult.

It’s tempting for those on the outside to assume mismanagement of finances, “overpaid teachers” or high pension costs are the culprits, but those are old assumptions based on a lack of information, but the Detroit News article explains it fairly well.

The Detroit News

A credit downgrade hits hardest the districts that have to borrow large amounts. … Shawn D. Lewis, The Detroit News 10 a.m. EDT August 31, 2015 … The credit ratingsof 43 school districts in Michigan have been downgraded so far this year  …

MARSP updates chapter legislative ambassadors around the state

MARSP recently held three Legislative Ambassador Updates to keep our chapter legislative ambassadors updated on what is happening in Lansing. The first event was held on August 19, 2015, at the Marquette/Alger RESA with Senator Tom Casperson (R) presenting.  The next event was held on August 25, 2015, at Wayne Community College, West Campus with Representative Pat Somerville (R) presenting. The final events was held on August 27, 2015, at Kalamazoo RESA with Representatives Jon Hoadley (D) and Aric Nesbitt (R), and Senator Margaret O’Brien (R) presenting.  MARSP Executive Director Mark Guastella, MARSP Legislative Committee Co-Chairman Chuck Abshagen, and MARSP Lobbyist Matt Kurta from Karoub Associates were also in attendance at each event.

We would like to thank all of the legislators for their generous amounts of time spent with the ambassadors and the nearly 70 chapter ambassadors who came out to support MARSP.

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MARSP Foundation hosts golf outing to raise scholarship funds

Moeggenborg familyThe 6th Annual Bruce H. Moeggenborg Memorial Golf Outing, the first of two outings this year, was held on August 13th at Maple Creek Golf Club in Shepherd, Michigan. We had 44 MARSP members and friends, including the foursome of Dave and Jill Ouellette and the Gus and Peggy Theodore, come out and golf on a sunny summer day. The Ouellette’s and the Theodore’s were randomly paired together as a team at a MARSP golf outing several years ago and have been playing together ever since! The level of play was great and no matter the outcome all had fun and enjoyed the chance to catch up and meet new people. The clubhouse, restaurant, and staff at Maple Creek were terrific to work with.

To date, the MARSP Foundation has awarded over 80 scholarships, in amounts ranging from $300 to $1000. The first scholarships were awarded in 1996. The scholarship is available for all public school employees, no matter what their current position is, as long as they are furthering their education in an area that will be beneficial to working in the public school arena. The MARSP Foundation is now hosting the annual golf outings with the goal of increasing the scholarship fund.

We want to thank everyone who participated and especially thank the many sponsors who made these outings so successful! Check out the photo album below!

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Saginaw County Chapter awards scholarships to future teachers

Each year the Saginaw County Chapter awards at least two, but usually three, scholarships of $1000 each to young people planning on a teaching career. Their policy is to award two of the scholarships to graduating high school seniors and the third to a college junior who has been admitted to the teacher education program at the university. This year’s winners were Kendra Samson and Rebecca Bell.

Students apply online for the scholarships at the Saginaw Community Foundation. The scholarship committee at the Foundation evaluates the applicants according to the qualifications that the chapter has specified to them. They present the chapter with the three recipients and also are responsible for sending the checks to the colleges where the students have enrolled. The Foundation then hosts an event where recipients’ names are announced and the awarding organizations are highlighted by calling representatives of the organizations to the stage. Several hundred people are present at this event so it’s a nice opportunity to spread the name of the Saginaw Chapter of Retired School Personnel around the community.

The scholarships are funded in two ways. The first is by the income earned by the chapter’s fund at the community foundation. Any funding shortfall, usually about $1,000, is supplied by the chapter treasury. That money is supplied by contributions from members, from proceeds of a 50/50 drawing done at each chapter meeting and by proceeds from a yearly casino trip. The drawings and the casino trip are done by their very ambitious fundraising chair, Willie Allen. His generous donation of his time and hard work have helped to fund the scholarships for many years.