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Detroit teachers ratify new contract

An empty classroom
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
O.k., o.k., we know this one is empty, but some high school students in the Detroit Public Schools say their classroom are far from empty.

More than 3000 Detroit teachers are close to a new contract.

Detroit Federation of Teachers members in 94 schools approved the deal this week.

Union leaders say it’s good enough for now. For the first time in a decade, there are no concessions or cutbacks. Most teachers will get modest bonuses.

“We’re not jumping up and down, hollering that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Because I believe and I know that our teachers deserve more,” said DFT Interim President Ivy Bailey.

“But when you have been starved by Lansing, it is what it is. The district does not have the money that they need.”

After a bankruptcy-style restructuring this summer, the teachers now work for a new entity called the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Lansing provided $150 million in start-up funds for the new district, but nearly all that money went to pay off debts the old district racked up under a series of state-appointed emergency managers.

A state-appointed financial review commission also needs to sign off on the contract, which could be re-opened after a new elected school board takes over in January.

Otherwise, the district and the union are likely headed back to the bargaining table in the spring.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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