Detroit teachers have approved a one-year contract that freezes their salary levels for a second year and defers payment on five workdays until future years.
While the deal made no one happy, it spared teachers the 5 percent pay cut district officials had originally proposed. It also avoided most layoffs threatened last spring as the 140,000-student Detroit system continues to grapple with a deficit that was estimated at some $200 million in its $1.5 billion budget in the past school year.
“We’re not sitting here thinking this is a great, great contract,” said Janna K. Garrison, the president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. “But under the circumstances, we think we were able to get something we could work with for a year.”
The 10,500-member union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, threatened to strike at the beginning of the school year, but voted instead to return to work on the basis of the contract the members then ratified in results announced Sept. 16.
In addition to the salary freeze and the deferred pay, the agreement takes away five of the teachers’ 15 sick days until the end of the year and requires them to pay more for nongeneric prescription drugs.
On the other hand, Ms. Garrison said, more than 1,900 of the 2,200 teachers who were sent layoff notices in the spring have already been recalled, and she expects the remaining teachers who want to work to be recalled as well.
District officials did not return calls seeking comment.
A version of this article appeared in the October 05, 2005 edition of Education Week