94 out of 97 Public Schools In Detroit Closed Monday
Nearly 46,000 students in Detroit didn’t go to school Monday due to what is being reported as a “sick out.” Ninety-four out of 97 schools were closed when instructors learned they would not receive salaries past June 30, resulting in nearly 2,600 teachers not showing up for work May 2.
Over the weekend, teachers learned they wouldn’t be paid, and according to Ivy Bailey, the interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, instructors planned rallied at the district’s central administration building.
“There’s a basic agreement in America: When you put in a day’s work, you’ll receive a day’s pay. DPS (Detroit Public Schools) is breaking that deal,” Bailey said. “Teachers want to be in the classroom giving children a chance to learn and reach their potential. Unfortunately, by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms.”
According to CNN, teachers and some parents are urging Michigan lawmakers to pass a $715 million education reform package that would fund salaries for July and going forward. The interim salary for Detroit public school teachers is $63,000
Steven Rhodes, a retired bankruptcy judge appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said the sick outs aren’t necessary, but understand the plight of Detroit’s teachers.
“It is unfortunate that the (teachers union) has chosen to make a statement in this way,” Rhodes said in a statement. “I am on record as saying that I cannot in good conscience ask anyone to work without pay.”
Detroit’s public schools have been in crisis for months. The district has about 515 million in operating debt and is spending about $1,100 per student on debt service annually.
Yet despite empathizing with teachers, Rhodes called the sickout “drastic.”
“Wages that are owed to teachers should be paid,” Rhodes said. “I understand the frustration and anger that our teachers feel. I am, however, confident that the Legislature will support the request that will guarantee that teachers will receive the pay that is owed to them. The (union’s) choice for a drastic call to action was not necessary.”
This isn’t the first time teachers in Detroit have performed a sickout. At the top of the years, as a response to dangerous and unsanitary conditions, Detroit public school teachers called out en masse. The unbearable conditions included rat and roach infestation, black mold and pieces of the ceiling falling.