School Closings
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86 Detroit schools closed due to teacher ‘sickouts’

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Photo taken at three Detroit schools show deterioration at school facilities. Teachers have protested the conditions by calling in sick in large groups.

At least 86 Detroit public schools are closed Monday due to teacher “sickouts,” the school district said.

The so-called sickouts have been a way for teachers to protest working conditions, dilapidated facilities and inadequate funding.

This time, Detroit Federation of Teachers Interim President Ivy Bailey said the sickouts involve teacher salaries.

“We learned this weekend that Detroit Public Schools was preparing plans to withhold salaries for work done by educators in May and June,” Bailey said in a statement.

“There’s a basic agreement in America: When you put in a day’s work, you’ll receive a day’s pay. DPS (Detroit Public Schools) is breaking that deal. Teachers want to be in the classroom giving children a chance to learn and reach their potential. Unfortunately, by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms.”

The school district’s transition manager, Judge Steven Rhodes, said the sickouts aren’t necessary.

“It is unfortunate that the DFT has chosen to make a statement in this way. I am on record as saying that I cannot in good conscience ask anyone to work without pay,” he said in a statement.

“Wages that are owed to teachers should be paid. I understand the frustration and anger that our teachers feel. I am, however, confident that the legislature will support the request that will guarantee that teachers will receive the pay that is owed to them. The DFT’s choice for a drastic call to action was not necessary.”