Detroit Public Schools cancels class size increases and employee pay cuts

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Public School's Emergency Manager Jack Martin says he will not be implementing class size increases and a planned 10 percent pay cut that were part of the district's Deficit Elimination Plan.

Martin made the announcement Tuesday, saying that the district will continue the implementation of programs that families want.

To pay for the continuation of the current pay rates and the current class sizes, the school district is proposing that they extend the Deficit Elimination Plan through 2021. The district says that by that time they will have eliminated the deficit and its legacy debt.

That legacy debt currently stands at $53 million a year. The district is also facing a projected deficit of $127 million a year.

However, the deficit must be eliminated as school district and cities in the state must have balanced budgets.

The most recent Deficit Elimination Plan, which needed to be submitted by April 15, included revenue reduction and a 10% pay cut for employees that would accomplish that goal.

Some other strategies are being considered by the district.

Those include further staff reductions through restructuring and process re-engineering efficiencies; potential additional layoffs of non-school-based employees and the pursuit of additional grant funds.

Martin says to bring stability to the district, all employees should participate in the district's comprehensive student retain and gain campaign.

Class sizes will remain the same. They stay at 25 students for grades K-3, 33 students for grades 4 and 5, and 38 students for grades 6-12.

Martin also reiterated that no schools are in the budget for closing this year. That's the first time it's happened in six years.

They also created a new gifted and talented school program; extended the dual immersion bilingual programs into 9th grade; expanded the career academy and adult education programming; supported a K-12 International Baccalaureate program at Cass Tech; added a prep period for K-8 teachers and expanded programs for early childhood families.

The district also announced it will expand Pre-K opportunities, bring the total number to 205 classrooms. That includes additional Great Start Readiness Program seats, new Title I classrooms and partnerships with two non-profit agencies to bring 0-5 programs into schools this year.

Another controversial subject was the cancelation of art and music programs. Martin says art and music programs are actually expanding in both elementary and middle schools

“We appreciate the support of our parents, partners, stakeholders and the media in rallying around Detroit Public Schools at this critical time to ensure the greater community is aware – and that they “see” and “believe” in -- the great things happening at our schools,” Martin said. 

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