DPS sickouts expected to end Wednesday; teachers to be paid

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They are going back to class - teachers at Detroit Public Schools were promised they will be paid this summer.

This ends two days of protests that kept kids home from school. It is a victory for teachers now -- but there are still many questions about the future of the district.

Those questions are about the DPS rescue package legislation making its way through Lansing. In the meantime teachers are feeling a bit more secure after their union received a letter from DPS promising that teachers will be paid over the summer.

"DPS recognizes the contractual obligation to pay teachers what they have earned and we'll assure all teachers that we will honor that legal obligation," said Ivy Bailey, Detroit Federation of Teachers reading a letter from DPS Transition Manager Judge Stephen Rhodes.

It effectively ends the two-day teacher lock out that closed 94 of the district's 97 schools.

"No one would go to their job and know that they're not getting paid," said teacher Angelita Davis.

Educators learned over the weekend those who opted to spread out their pay over the summer, may not receive a check after June 30. They did not receive any guarantee from DPS they would be paid until late Tuesday.

It's unclear just where the money is coming from or if DPS had it all along.

"I'm very relieved to be going back to school tomorrow," said DPS teacher Andrew Rodgers. "And we only hope that these assurances come through. That's all we can do it at this point."

"We're putting our trust in Judge Rhodes," said Davis. "Our trust is in him. He's our employer and we trust him because if he can't deliver, the union will stand up."

"It's a letter," said Amanda Engel, DPS teacher. "It says we guarantee you guys will be paid. But until my first check in July shows up in my account ..."

"We'll all be sweating," added Rodgers.

With the summer pay crisis seemingly over, another dark cloud looms over Detroit schools - a House Appropriations Committee approved a frugal DPS rescue package. It is $200 million less than the Senate's version - paces new limits on collective bargaining and teachers would have to reapply for their jobs in the newly formed DPS.

"We've sacrificed so much for the city and this is what we get in return," said Valencia Cade, DPS teacher. "They should be ashamed of themselves."

"What was passed in the House today by the appropriators was dead wrong," said Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president. "If Michigan believes in its children, then a more reasonable package has to be signed off on. Will it take a fight? Of course it is going to take a fight."

State Sen. Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) says if the package approved Tuesday makes it through the House - don't bank on it getting through the Senate, as is.

"This plan that the House just passed was available for consideration when we presented and passed our plan," Johnson said. "I think where their votes in the affirmative for what we put out of the Senate are highly indicative of where they really are - and what they want out of the process.

"Is it a never thing, no. I think the Senate Republicans are very content with what we did."

FOX 2 spoke with Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall who says that package will probably make it through the House. The Senate will vote it down, the House will vote the Senate versions down and ultimately they'll meet somewhere in the middle.

The union is telling the teachers to go back to class but will all comply. There is a faction of teachers loyal to former DFT president Steve Conn. Conn says there is more than 100 teachers who will stay out of the classroom Wednesday and we will have to see what kind of impact that will have.

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