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Madison Heights teachers get 10% retroactive pay cut, may sue district

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A public school district in Oakland County imposed a ten percent pay cut on its teachers retroactive to the start of the school year.

Now it is likely the teachers will sue the district.

Teachers in the Madison Heights school district have been working without a contract for three years. In that time there’s been lots of bargaining, a fact finding mission, mediation - but to no avail.

On Monday, the Madison Heights Board of Education on Monday unilaterally decided to cut teachers’ pay by ten percent and have it be retroactive starting September 20-11. That's after the teacher's union voted against the Board's previous proposal of a seven percent pay cut retroactive over 36 months.

Cal Mott is with the Michigan Education Association. He believes the retroactive pay cut isn’t legal based on a similar case where an administrative law judge ruled in favor of teachers in the Detroit Public Schools district.

Mott says the attorney representing the Madison Heights teachers will "meet with as many [union] members as he can on a Monday afternoon meeting, and they’ll be filling out paperwork, and we’ll be going into court on this one."

Despite the possible lawsuit, both sides have plans to meet next Friday to continue bargaining.

District Superintendent Randy Speck says understands a lawsuit is a possibility, but he hopes it doesn’t come to that. "I know that they don’t want that, and I know that we don’t want that because that’s money that can be spent for kids, that’s money that can be spent for education of the Madison district public schools and for our teachers."

District Superintendent Randy Speck says cuts are needed to stave off a deficit.

The budget for Madison Heights Public Schools is $12.5 million. Speck says they currently have a $600,000 fund equity, or rainy day fund, but that if cuts are not made, that fund will be depleted and the district will run a deficit.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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