$30M in restored pay, bonuses OK’d for Detroit teachers
Detroit — A plan to provide Detroit teachers with about $30 million in raises, bonuses and reimbursement funds was approved by a state financial review committee, the school district’s superintendent announced Thursday.
Raises that credit teachers for more than two years of service and repayment of Termination Incentive Plans funds, when teachers lent the district $250 a pay period, are headed to teachers by September. Both are included in the Detroit Public School Community District’s 2018-19 budget, which was approved last month by the board.
The bonuses will come from the district’s surplus and should be paid by December, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said.
Last week, the Detroit school board approved the plans to give the bonuses to veteran district teachers as well as credit for previous classroom experience to educators.
Under the deal, some 2,231 instructors at the top of the pay scale are slated to gain the extra $1,373.60. New or returning teachers also are to be credited on the salary schedule with prior teaching experience inside or outside the district. Previous contract language had allowed only two years of teaching experience to be counted.
Vitti said the raises, which recognize teacher experience beyond the two-year limit, cost about $3 million; one-time bonuses of $1,373.60 for teachers at the top of the pay scale will cost about $3.3 million; and the one-time repayment of TIP funds will cost about $22 million.
The plan will benefit all members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, including teachers, guidance counselors, social workers and psychologists. Vitti said about 80 percent to 90 percent of teachers will benefit from the plan. Newer teachers with less than two years of experience would not, he said.
“This is a very proud announcement and an example of the new district problem solving regarding the problems we inherited over a decade of emergency management,” Vitti said. “We will fully recognize experience outside Detroit to help recruit and fill vacancies and address our classroom size issue.”
Teacher AuStina Nelson thanked Vitti for the change in policy.
“Being recognized for your years of experience, the dedication you put in working for student day in and day out,” said Nelson, who teaches at Earhart Elementary-Middle School. “I am looking forward to Dr. Vitti pulling new teachers in to reduce our class sizes. So this is just wonderful all the way around.”
Detroit Federation of Teachers leaders welcomed the move as a way to fill about 200 teacher vacancies in the district and reduce class sizes.
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.