DETROIT—After two days of being locked out of their schools, the Detroit Public Schools' transitional manager today gave teachers and school employees the assurance they needed that they will be paid for their work. At a membership meeting late this afternoon, the Detroit Federation of Teachers encouraged the school employees to go back to school on Wednesday.
DFT Interim President Ivy Bailey received a letter with the assurance from Judge Steven Rhodes, the transitional manager for DPS.
"We've been working 24/7 to secure the assurance that educators will be fully paid for the school year, so they can go back to the classroom and do what they love to do—teach their students. It is a fundamental right to be paid for the work one does. Anything other than that is dead wrong and tantamount to wage theft," said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Over the weekend, the DFT heard a rumor that the school system would not guarantee educators at least some salaries from as early as April 28 through June. This would especially affect the people who have their pay spread across 26 weeks of the year—about two-thirds of the city's 3,800 educators.
"It's astonishing that teachers and other school employees have been working diligently to educate our kids in under-resourced schools with deplorable conditions, yet they had to fight to get what they're due. That's adding insult to injury," Bailey said. "We're happy to return to the classroom and finish the school year with our kids."
Weingarten noted the irony that today is national Teacher Appreciation Day. "At the very least, teachers must be paid for the work they do. Real appreciation would be to fully fund Detroit Public Schools, return the schools to local control, provide a process for accountability and transparency, and start the new school year with the resources and supports needed to help all kids succeed," Weingarten said.
Weingarten thanked Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Judge Rhodes and others, including Gov. Rick Snyder, for their help in securing the assurance of payment.