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Detroit Teachers' 'Sickout' Closes More Than 90 Schools

Teachers march outside the district headquarters on Monday in Detroit.
Carlos Osorio
/
AP
Teachers march outside the district headquarters on Monday in Detroit.

More than 90 Detroit public schools were closed Monday because of a teacher "sickout" over pay.

The public schools will run out of money after June "unless Michigan lawmakers approve hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term aid," Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek tells our Newscast unit.

Without that longer-term funding, teachers who spread their paychecks throughout the year would not get paid for work they had already done.

Cwiek reports:

"Detroit Federation of Teachers leader Ivy Bailey says teachers didn't want to take this step, 'But we have to do something. We have to get people's attention, and they have to do the right thing.' "

The emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools, Judge Steven Rhodes, called the teachers union's decision "unfortunate" and "drastic," in a statement posted on the DPS Facebook page Sunday night. He added:

"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."

That legislation — a $720 million restructuring package — passed the state Senate in March and is pending in the House, according to Michigan Radio.

There are 46,000 students in the public school district, the Detroit Free Press reports, and 97 schools — 94 of which were shut down Monday due to the protest.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.
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