Letter: Unions aren’t ripping off DPS

Re: Jarrett Skorup’s June 10 column “Unions should lobby on their own dime”: Skorup, who is a policy analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, claimed that the Detroit Public Schools “may be the worst offender” in participating with local unions in a “release time scheme.” According to Skorup, this “rip-off” results when a local union gets a school district to allow union officials to spend time working on union business, instead of teaching students, and then the district pays the salary and benefits for these officials.

Skorup is all wrong. DPS and its unions have a firm agreement that the unions fully reimburse DPS for all of the pay and benefits that their officials are paid while on union business.

For example, this year, DPS has billed the Detroit Federation of Teachers a total of $270,256.53, and the DFT has paid DPS that amount. DPS has billed the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals a total of $88,201.78, and that union has paid us that amount. Other unions are also current in their obligations to DPS, except for the amounts owed for their most recent invoices. Only one union has a significant balance, but has committed to reconcile the dispute with DPS.

I am on record as saying that I will not conceal any wrongdoing committed at DPS. However, DPS got this one right.

Judge Steven Rhodes, emergency manager

Detroit Public Schools