Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Detroit Teachers Ending 2-Day Sick-Out, Fighting Legislation

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Detroit Teachers Ending 2-Day Sick-Out, Fighting Legislation

Article excerpt

DETROIT - Detroit schools reopened Wednesday after teachers who had called out sick for two days received assurances from the financially struggling district that they would continue to be paid. But while the teachers are returning to work, their union is sparring with lawmakers over a $500 million plan to restructure the district and its debt.

A House panel on Tuesday advanced the measure, which was intended to ease teachers' fears that they might not get their paychecks if the district runs out of money. But the union blasted the legislation that would also forbid existing labor agreements from transferring to the new district and restrict collective bargaining over work schedules and school calendars.

Terrence Martin, executive vice president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said teachers are "truly outraged by the proposal. He said the measures heading to the full House "feel like and look like anti-teacher bills and differ radically from legislation approved in March by the Senate that he described as "workable.

"[It's] very discouraging to our membership, Martin said. "We'll continue to fight.

The union said it would encourage members to go back to school Wednesday based on discussions with the district's state-appointed transitional manager, Steven Rhodes. He said in a statement that teachers "are legally entitled to be paid in full for their work.

The sick-out idled 45,000 children and presented yet another crisis with racial overtones for a governor and Legislature already engrossed in the water emergency in Flint, a majority-black city like Detroit, where many residents have complained about being treated like second-class citizens.

"Teachers, you're going to get paid, Republican House Appropriations Committee Chairman Al Pscholka said before the panel approved the plan.

The proposal that passed mostly along party lines would launch a new district in July. …

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