DETROIT (WJBK) - Kids are back in class and on Tuesday, Detroit teachers have a new tentative contract.
"I'm going to sum it up in three words: Christmas in September," said veteran teacher Lenore Ellery.
This is how Ellery describes the tenative deal betweeen the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the newly formed Detroit Public School Community District.
The plan has no concessions or givebacks and includes, among other things, a 3 percent bonus for everyone at the top of their salary scale, pay raises for everyone who can still move up the ladder, restoration of official classroom size limits and compensation if those limits are broken.
"It's pretty good. It's better than I thought it would be," said Victoria Adams.
"For the first time in like seven years the teachers will be able to have the opportunity to have a fair contract," said Marcus Walton.
It's a deal but I still don't think that it's not a deal.
But there's dissension in the ranks. The union is still negotiating for affordable health insurance and for many the first tenantive agreement after the DPS rescue plan doesn't restore what teachers lost.
"It's like a slap in the face it's like, they've taken over $20,000 away and now they're just offering a thousand dollars here $1,200 -- I say no," said Gina Hatcher.
Hatcher is referring to the nearly $7,000 paycut teachers at the top of the salary scale took about seven years ago. They never made that money back and even now they'll only receive a $2,000 bonus compared to the thousands they lost.
"We really believe our teachers deserve more but because Lansing kind of took advantage of us the money was not there," said Ivy Bailey, DFT interim president. "I think people need to be clear, the community needs to understand that $615 million were give to us and we were told that was a payout would pay off all the bills and the debt, the district is still in debt. When it was all said and done they ended up with $25 million to transition from an old school district to a new school district. C'mon people, our kids deserve better than that. That is not enough money to give our kids the resources and keep the quality educators they deserve to have."