Detroit school board backs teacher bonuses, credit
The Detroit school board has approved plans to give bonuses to veteran district teachers as well as give credit for previous classroom experience to educators, union officials confirmed Wednesday.
Under an agreement board members voted on during a special meeting Wednesday, some 2,231 instructors at the top of the pay scale are slated to gain an extra $1,373.60 in December. New or returning teachers also are to be credited on the salary schedule with prior teaching experience inside or outside the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Previous contract language had only allowed two years of teaching experience to be counted.
Detroit Federation of Teachers leaders welcomed the move as a way to fill about 190 teacher vacancies in the district and reduce class sizes.
“My hope is that this helps us to meet our goal of recruiting more staff and retaining the staff we have,” Ivy Bailey, the union’s president, said Wednesday night. “We want quality people. Our kids deserve it.”
District representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The board was “pleased to unanimously vote in favor of the plan to offer bonuses and recognize the experience of those in and those coming into our district to educate our students,” member Angelique Peterson-Mayberry said.
The moves resulted from an agreement the union reached last month to improve the 2017-20 contract ratified last year for some 3,900 teachers and other personnel in the district, according to documents board members reviewed before the vote.
“There is strong consensus in our community that talented and capable teachers will be needed in all classrooms to accomplish the … goals of teaching all students at high standards and closing achievement gaps,” district officials wrote in an analysis of the new agreement.
The district said it had 275 teaching vacancies this time last year, and absorption of Education Achievement Authority schools meant 250 classrooms have been added.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and district officials have worked to address the shortage through recruitment fairs and other efforts.
Attracting more teachers also can help as administrators hope to add arts and music programs in the next academic year, Bailey said. “We definitely need more teachers. Recruitment and retention is the goal.”