The latest deficit reduction plan for Detroit Public Schools calls for an additional 10% pay cut for employees, including teachers. That's not sitting well with Keith Johnson, who represents roughly 4,000 teachers as president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
"It was not collectively bargained and that's problem one," he said.
The pay cut would take effect Oct. 1, the first pay period of the new school year. Three years ago, employees also saw their pay reduced by 10% as the district grappled with a deficit of more than $300 million. The debt is now $127 million, according to Steve Wasko, a DPS spokesman.
The across-the-board pay cut is just one of the steps the outlined to achieve a balanced budget.
According to Wasko, 82% of the district's overall budget is tied to personnel costs. "Being in the business of a school district, the vast preponderance of those personnel costs being in instruction, as they should be, it's difficult to see a way to meet these needs without having to have that impact as well," Wasko said.
Still, Johnson insists cutting teacher's pay is the wrong approach.
"They're sick and tired of it and now it's up to me to take the legal avenues available to me to thwart this attempt to pass their ineptitude on to the backs of people that I represent and I'm prepared to do that," Johnson said.