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Detroit teachers set to vote on new contract

Detroit Public Schools Community District sign
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Detroit Federation of Teachers members are set to start voting on a new contract agreement this week.

It’s the first new contract for Detroit teachers since the district mostly returned to local control at the start of this year. That followed seven years of control via emergency managers, and a near-bankruptcy that was only avoided through a state aid package.

The tentative contract deal offers all teachers modest 7% raises over the next two-to-three years. There’s an option to go back to the bargaining table in the third year.

But some teachers feel like it’s not enough after years of steep cuts and rising costs, especially since Detroit is already struggling with a chronic teacher shortage.

The district is also re-absorbing eight schools that spent years with the state-run Education Achievement Authority.

But under the proposed contract, EAA teachers will only get credit for two years teaching experience. That means many will start off making less money than just last year.

DFT leaders and the district’s new superintendent, Nikolai Vitti, agree that teachers should be getting more, but they also say that the district’s balance sheet is still tight, and this is the best deal available at this point.

Ballots go out to teachers Wednesday. The deadline to vote is July 19th.

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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