Teacher group: Sickouts to close ‘most DPS schools’

The Detroit News

At least five Detroit Public Schools were expected to be closed Wednesday as teachers continue sickouts to protest school conditions and a state plan to split DPS in two and create a new, debt-free district.

Burton International, Clemente, Drew, Emerson and Munger are “the first of possible many” closures Wednesday, DPS officials announced on the district’s Facebook page Tuesday night. All staff members are expected to report to work.

The notice came shortly after the group called Detroit Teachers Strike to Win warned of school closings Wednesday.

“Most DPS schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, as teachers continue to sick out in protest of Governor Snyder's plans to continue attacking public education in Detroit,” read the statement by Detroit Teachers Strike to Win Committee on Tuesday night.

Teachers also plan to rally and picket outside the Hilton Garden Inn, 351 Gratiot, to support ousted union president Steve Conn in his appeal hearing before the American Federation of Teachers National Executive Council, according to the statement.

“Teachers will then march for a noon rally outside Cobo Hall, and take a strike vote for an ongoing sickout until they have won their demands for quality public schools; an end to Snyder’s “New Co/Old Co” plans; replacing emergency management with a fully empowered, elected school board; and full state financial reimbursement for the Detroit Public Schools.”

Repeated teacher sickouts have closed dozens of schools in the district. Teachers said they stayed home to protest broken boilers, leaky roofs and other problems in DPS schools.

Last week, Mayor Mike Duggan toured several schools in response and the city began inspections of all DPS schools. Visits to the 20 most problematic buildings are expected to be completed this month, and the rest by late April, officials have said.