A widespread “sick day” shut down more than 90 Detroit Public Schools (DPS) this Monday as educators protested Saturday’s announcement that the district will be unable to pay them after June 30th.
The district enrolls roughly 46,000 students across 97 schools. This Monday, the Detroit Federation of Teachers urged the area’s 2,600 teachers to call in sick. Nearly all of the area’s schools were forced to close.
About two-thirds of those 2,600 teachers are enrolled in a plan that allows for year-round paychecks (instead of just during the school year). This weekend, DPS “emergency manager” Judge Steve Rhodes informed the union that unless the Michigan Legislature decides to send more money to the district, there will not be enough money to fulfill summer paychecks.
All summer classes will also be cancelled.
Teachers argue that the $48.7 million allocated by the state’s Legislature in April was supposed to cover summer pay for enrolled teachers. Rhodes denies this.
Detroit teachers are right to protest the state’s lack of funds, but doing so by forcing schools to shut down doesn’t make much sense. In regards to the massive sick day, Governor Rick Snyder says, “That’s not a constructive act with respect to getting legislation through. That probably raises more questions…with legislators.”
DPS has an operating deficit of more than $500 million. The Michigan House of Representatives is currently debating a $715 million education reform package to keep the beleaguered district afloat. The Michigan Senate approved the package in March.
Editor’s note: The city of Detroit is a shambles. Its population has been declining rapidly now less than a third of its peak, its industry is gone, crime is sky high, and whole neighborhoods have been abandoned. It is the very model of urban decay. Is it a coincidence, that Detroit has been under Democratic mayors for more than 50 years?
This is a vicious cycle, it will get worse. The people of Detroit seem unable to elect a competent mayor, and they are waiting for the State to bail them out.