Latest: House tries to rally votes for Detroit schools bill
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on Detroit’s financially struggling schools, which saw teacher sick-outs this week (all times local):
The Michigan House met late into the night as Republicans tried to muster enough votes to pass a $500 million plan to restructure the ailing Detroit school district.
House lawmakers emerged from hours of private meetings late Wednesday and were working on a plan that’s supposed to deal with the district’s debt and assuage teachers’ fears that they won’t be paid.
But the plan, which a House committee approved earlier this week, doesn’t include a commission that would have the authority to approve which schools would open and close. That’s a key part of a plan the Senate has approved, but a point of contention for some House Republicans. Both chambers are GOP-controlled.
House Minority Leader Tim Greimel says Democrats maintain “unanimous” opposition to the House plan because it does nothing to fix the district’s problems and doesn’t return local control.
Students are returning to class in Detroit after teachers who called out sick for two days received assurances from the financially struggling district that they will continue to be paid.
District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski says in an email that all schools are open Wednesday morning, except for the Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School, which was shut due to a power outage.
While the teachers are returning to work, their union is sparring with lawmakers over a $500 million plan to restructure the district and its debt.
A state House panel on Tuesday advanced the measure, which was intended to ease teachers’ fears that they might not get their paychecks. But the union blasted the legislation that would also forbid existing labor agreements from transferring to the new district.
Detroit teachers who closed city schools for two days by calling out sick say they will return to the classroom Wednesday after being assured by the district’s manager that they would continue to be paid.
But their union has turned its sights to state lawmakers in Lansing, who on Tuesday advanced a $500 million plan to restructure the district.
The vote by a House committee was intended to ease teachers’ fears they might not get paid if the district runs out of money. But the union blasted the legislation because it would forbid existing labor agreements from transferring to the new district and restrict collective bargaining.
Union Executive Vice President Terrence Martin says teachers are “truly outraged” by the House proposal.