All the nearly 5,500 teachers in the Detroit school system have been sent layoff notices as the troubled district prepares for an expected drop in enrollment.
In addition, the 5,466 employees covered by the Detroit Federation of Teachers’ contract will receive letters stating that, after May 17, some provisions of the collective bargaining agreement may change under a new state law giving broader powers to the district’s state-appointed financial manager, Robert Bobb. The law, signed last month, gives the financial manager the authority to toss out union contracts to help balance the books.
The layoff notices are part of a process to allow the district time to assess staffing needs before the start of the next academic year, according to a press release. Detroit’s enrollment has dropped from about 175,000 students in 1997 to about 74,000 students now, and that number could fall to about 56,500 by 2014, according to Mr. Bobb’s estimates. Districts are obliged to alert teachers that they may be laid off, though most rarely lose their jobs.
A version of this article appeared in the April 27, 2011 edition of Education Week as Detroit Teachers All Get Pink Slips