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Detroit's public school teachers approve 3-year contract

tables in a classroom
Frank Juarez
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Almost a month after their current contract expired, Detroit teachers have reached a three-year deal with DPSCD.

Detroit's public school teachers have approved a three-year contract that includes a roughly 7 percent wage increase over the next two years.

The contract with the Detroit Public Schools Community District was approved by teachers on Thursday. It includes a 3 percent increase in year one and a 4.13 percent increase in year two. 

There's also the possibility of an additional increase in year three when both parties are set to go back to the table and re-negotiate wages. The contract guarantees no wage cuts in that third year.

There also will be a $1,750 bonus for teachers at the top of the pay scale, although under the new contract, it will now take longer to get to to the top of the pay scale. The previous DPSCD salary scheduletook 10 to 11 "steps" to get to the top. It will now take 15 steps, or roughly 15 years.

Detroit Federation of Teachers spokesman Ken Coleman says the contract "is not everything that we wanted" but that it's "a strong step in the right direction." He goes on to call it "a good day, a new day" for Detroit Public Schools Community District and the union. 

The new contract does not restore the 10 percent pay cut Detroit teachers took back when the district was under state control. 

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in a written statement that "the salary increases associated with this agreement are far from what our teachers deserve. However, it will be rewarding to provide teachers a necessary increase to their salary as the first step in making teacher salaries whole again after nearly a decade of ignoring the fact that our most important employees are teachers."

Vitti goes on to say that the district "must, and will, prioritize competitive salaries for Detroit teachers as we all work together to rebuild our district."

The Detroit Financial Review Commission, which oversees the district's finances, still has to sign off on the agreement. It is unclear when that will happen. 

Updated at 3:35pm

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.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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