Detroit schools launch hiring effort for smaller classes in fall due to social distance need

The Detroit Public Schools Community District announced a hiring push to increase staffing so by fall it can accommodate smaller class sizes by offering more.

"We know we have to recruit more teachers for the fall, because we will want to reduce class sizes to expand social distancing," said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, the DPSCD superintendent.

In order to boost the recruiting drive, it is increasing the pay for new teachers, Vitti said.

"It is going to be the strongest, most competitive salary for beginning and teachers with a couple years of experience," he said.

The additional experience and salary credit will allow a new teacher to receive up to $51,071 beginning in the next school year.
It's an increase that makes DPSCD the highest starting teacher salary in metro Detroit.

And the increase will take place despite budget woes from the state as it responds to the coronavirus crisis.
"We have a strong fund balance that we've built over the last three years and will be receiving federal CARES Act money," Vitti said.

Vitti said he wants only the best educators to apply.

"We are not looking for quick fixes here," he said. "We want people that are committed to the profession and want to dedicate themselves to DPSCD now but into the future, until they retire as teacher professionals."

FOX 2 reached out to the teachers' union and its president, Terrance Martin released a statement saying,

"We look forward to continuing a larger discussion with the District that results in increased salaries for all those we represent," said Terrence Martin, President, Detroit Federation of Teachers.

Vitti said that he wants the same things Martin does, for all teachers in the district.

"We want the same thing," he said. "We have mutual interests in continuing to increase teacher pay for all teachers. In fact, over the last three years we have increased teacher salaries, on average, $10,000."

Vitti says he just wants the very best teaching the district's students. 

"We just need the great teachers in front of them at scale with consistency," he said. "We're getting there. And I think this will be the year that that we're just about fully staffed."