The state of Michigan is planning to send $554 million in refund checks for school employees on Jan. 22, an official said late Thursday.

The money, which pays back 3% deductions that were taken from the checks of school employees between 2010 and 2013, will be sent to school districts on that date, said Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Those school districts will then make payments to individual school employees and former school employees eligible for the refunds, who could number close to 275,000, Weiss said.

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Michigan Supreme Court says state must repay $554M to 200,000 school employees

Justices question state attorney on fate of Michigan school employees' $554 million

In a long-awaited move, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered the money to be returned on Wednesday, ending years of court battles in which judges at all levels of Michigan systems sided with unions representing the school employees.

The money was intended to help pay for retiree health care, but the courts ruled the 2010 law that provided for the mandatory deductions was unconstitutional.

The Legislature passed a replacement law in 2012, which gives school employees an opt-out provision.

The state also posted on its website a series of answers to commonly asked questions about the deductions and refunds.

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.