DPSCD Moves Closer to Competitive Teacher Salaries, Supporting Balanced Budget Under New Agreement
DETROIT – July 1, 2019 – Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) reached an agreement with the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) that includes step increases, one-time bonuses, and merit pay, moving the District closer to its goal to compensate teachers and staff with competitive salaries after years of disinvestment in the District. DPSCD Board of Education approved the agreement during its June Board meeting. The District is currently operating within a three-year agreement ratified in 2017 when DPSCD’s Superintendent Nikolai Vitti first took office, the wage-reopener negotiations are for the third year and will impact more than 4,000 district staff members.
“We are fighting every day to make our teachers the highest paid in America and strategically stretching our limited and inequitable resources to make that happen in a way that is fiscally responsible so our District never faces the financial disasters of the past,” said Nikolai Vitti, superintendent, DPSCD. “Although we have much more work to do to make our vision for teacher pay a reality, I am proud that we are building a legacy of increasing teacher pay in Detroit.”
When Dr. Vitti was appointed to the District in May 2017, one of his first tasks included negotiating a three-year contract for teachers. In July 2017, the union ratified the contract providing teachers with a 7 percent pay increase. At that time, Dr. Vitti made a commitment to teachers that he would continue to fight for pay increases until teachers in Detroit are the highest paid in the nation.
With this agreement and over the last three years, DPSCD’s most veteran teachers will see an increase in pay from $65,265 to $73,000, eligible teachers will also receive a $1,500 one-time bonus and an opportunity to earn up to $1,000 in merit pay. DFT non-teachers (assistant attendance agents, academic interventionists, substitute teachers, special instructors and the like) will receive a 3 percent pay increase and will also be eligible for a $1,500 one-time bonus.
Psychologists, school social workers, speech and language therapists, occupational and physical therapists on steps 1-10 will be moved to step 11, and others on steps 11-14 will move to step 15. This is one of the most impactful milestones in the agreement. This significant move was made in order to address staffing, recruitment and retention necessary for children in need of initial evaluations and re-evaluations to qualify for exceptional student educational benefits (formerly known in DPSCD as special education).
“This aspect of the agreement speaks to the District’s and union’s willingness to problem solve and move beyond conventional wage conversations to do things profoundly different to assist some of our most vulnerable students. I am proud that we were able to work “out of the box” to get this done for our students,” said Vitti.
The District also committed to providing a $3,000 retention/recruitment bonus for teachers employed at hard to staff schools. Teachers in defined job classifications for all current and new employees at the identified schools will be eligible.
“The School Board has maintained its commitment to increasing teacher salaries while maintaining a budget that is not only balanced, but sustainable. We want to thank the administration and union leadership for their hard work in reaching this agreement. This sets the stage for a strong summer of recruiting teachers and families for our third year of reform,” said Iris Taylor, president, DPSCD School Board.
The full proposal includes the following:
- Top-step District teachers to be paid $73,000. This surpasses the salary the most veteran teachers earned before wage reductions occurred under emergency management; they will also be eligible for a one-time $1,500 bonus.
- DFT members on Steps 1-14 will move one step and will be eligible for a one-time $1,500 bonus.
- DFT non-teachers, (assistant attendance agents, academic interventionists, substitute teachers, special instructors and the like) to be provided with a 3 percent salary increase, and they will be eligible for a one-time $1,500 bonus.
- Psychologists, school social workers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapist on steps 1-10 will move to step 11 and members on steps 11-14 will move to step 15.
- In compliance with the Merit Pay Law, there is a provision for a performance-based bonus of $500.
- A $3,000 one-time bonus for teachers in hard to staff schools as defined by job classifications (current and new employees) at the identified schools will be eligible.
“I want to thank Terrance Martin for his leadership and as a continuing partner in the work of improving outcomes for our children. Here in DPSCD, we believe that management and labor can work together to rebuild traditional public education. We are showing everyone this can happen despite legitimate challenges that can affect that relationship,” said Vitti.
About Detroit Public Schools Community District
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan’s largest public education system located in Detroit. It is governed by a locally elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District’s goal is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has 106 schools and educates 50,000 children.