Friday, May 6, 2016

Sickouts by teachers in Detroit shutter public schools

In Detroit, Michigan, nearly all of the public school in Detroit were closed and more than 45,000 students missed school becuase half of the district's teachers teachers called in sick. the teachers called in sick to protest the possibility that some of them won't get paid over the summer of the struggling district runs out of cash. The series of sickouts shuttered 94 of 97 schools for the day as 1,562 teachers stayed home. The protests began becuase Detroit Public Schools' transition manager said the distric would soon have no money to continue paying the Detroit Federation of Teachers any longer. 

The state had approved $47.8 million in emergency money to keep the student school system operating, but the amount only pays the bills through June 30. Detroit Schools also would be unable to fund summer school programs after June 30. The Legislature considered a $720 million restructuring plan. 

The teachers can choose to recieve their pay over the course of the school year or spread it over the full 12 months. Approximately 3,000 educators chose to have it spread over 26 weeks. Some say that they chose this becuase they need the paycheck becuase without it, they won't survive through July and August. "We have already put the work in," says Kimberly Morrison, 54, a reading and recovery specialist employee. "If I don't get my pay, then somebody else-who I owe- won't get their pay." 

A few hundred teachers picketed outside the district's administrative offices. "There's a basic agreement in America: when you put in a day's work, you'll recieve a day's pay," says the Detroit Federation of Teachers Interim President, Ivy Bailey in a statement. "DPS is breaking that deal." 

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