DPSCD Reaches Contract Agreement with DFT, Increased Salaries and Highest Starting Teacher Salary in Michigan Highlight Accord
School Board and Superintendent Make Good on Commitment to Substantially Raise Teacher Salaries through Reoccurring Increases and Bonuses, Bump Hourly Employees to $15 per Hour
- Since 2017, starting teacher salaries have increased by more than $15,000 ($35,682.30 to $51,019).
- Since 2017, average teacher salaries have increased by more than $13,000 ($56,921 to $70,380).
- Max teacher salaries have increased nearly $10,000 ($66,264 to $76,027) under local control.
- The District’s new starting salary of $51,019 is the highest starting teacher salary of any district in Michigan.
- The District’s new average teaching salary ($70,380) means it will move from 287th highest average teacher salary in the state of Michigan to 35th highest average teacher salary (based on the most recent data available from the Michigan Department of Education 2018-2019).
DETROIT – October 6, 2020 – Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) and the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) Local 231, reached agreement on a one-year successor contract. The parties began bargaining in February of 2020 prior to the COVID-19 mandatory school closure and agreed to confine the negotiations to a one-year term due to the uncertainty of school funding in proceeding years. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and DFT President Terrance Martin agreed to terms on September 24. DFT members ratified the agreement on October 5.
This is the third contract agreement between DFT, the current Superintendent and the DPSCD Board of Education over a four-year period, which has also included the signing of dozens of Letters of Agreement on various reform topics. The Superintendent is authorized to negotiate on the School Board’s behalf in negotiations and receives thresholds of funding and terms as defined in closed sessions. The School Board will officially approve the agreement at the October Board Meeting.
Since 2017, DPSCD teachers have incurred steady pay increases, some as high as $15,000 in three years, since DPSCD returned to local control under an elected school board and appointed superintendent. These actions support the District’s continued progress of attracting and retaining teachers and will assist in continuing to prepare for large scale teacher retirements in the coming years. At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the District had 275 teacher vacancies but started this year with fewer than 50, concentrated mainly in special education.
“A lot of people and school districts talk about being “teacher first” or “teacher centric” but they lack the actual track record, experience, commitment and ability to problem solve through complicated budgets and competing interests to make it happen. This administrative team and School Board has delivered on its promise to improve salaries, benefits and working conditions to retain and recruit teachers, even amid a pandemic,” said Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. “Our work is not done. We must overcome a legacy of inequitable funding to be fully competitive with surrounding districts at every experience level, but it is undeniable that we are making tremendous progress. We will continue to work at this until our teachers are the highest paid in the country. This is what they deserve and more importantly, this is what our children deserve to receive the education they need.”
DFT members include 4,353-unit members who directly serve students across 54 job classifications primarily functioning as teachers, master teachers, training and support coordinators, and auxiliary staff members such as academic interventionists, attendance agents, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and treating therapists that serve our most vulnerable student populations.
“One of the District’s priorities is to support exceptional talent. As a board we knew in 2017 our teachers deserved salary increases, best in class professional development, and a clear pathway to growth,” said Iris Taylor, DPSCD Board of Education President. “Over the past three years, we have upheld our promise to Detroit’s teachers and staff. Starting teacher salaries have increased by more than $15,000 ($35,682.30 to $51,019), average teacher salaries have increased by more than $13,000 ($56,921 to $70,380), and maximum teacher salaries have increased nearly $10,000 ($66,264 to $76,027).”
Below are the negotiated terms of the 2020-2021 One-Year Tentative Agreement under consideration by DFT unit members:
- A one (1) year collective bargaining agreement effective July 1, 2020 and expiring June 30, 2021;
- New teachers hired during the 2020-2021 academic year shall be hired at the step 11 level (base starting salary of $51,071). This shall be the only step movement for these unit members during the 2020-2021 school year;
- New teachers hired during the 2020-2021 academic year with advanced degrees beyond a bachelor’s degree shall be hired at the step 11 level (base starting salary of $58,142 - $58,742). This shall be the only step movement for these unit members during the 2020-2021 school year;
- DFT unit members on the teacher salary schedule currently on steps 1-14 shall move one step on the salary schedule as of the beginning of the 2020-21 school year;
- DFT unit members at the top step of the salary schedule shall receive a base wage increase of 2.74% as of the beginning of the 2020-21 school year;
- All DFT unit members not on the teacher salary schedule with an hourly rate below $15 shall be increased to a minimum hourly rate of $15 per hour as of the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year;
- All other DFT unit members not on the teacher salary schedule shall receive a base wage increase of 2.74% as of the beginning of the 2020-21 school year;
- DFT unit members employed by DPSCD on or before November 17, 2020, and on the payroll at the time the bonus payment is issued, shall receive a $1,500 bonus;
- Retired DFT unit members employed by DPSCD on or before November 17, 2020, and on the payroll at the time the bonus payment is issued, shall receive a $900 bonus;
- Unit members in a long-term substitute position on or before September 24, 2020 who remains continuously employed in a long-term substitute position, that is, without a break in service, until the end of the school year, shall receive a $900 bonus paid on or before June 30, 2021;
- Eid-Al-Fitr shall be a recognized observance on the 2021-2022 academic calendar as negotiated in a separate Letter of Agreement and a calendar template mutually agreed upon by the parties: and
- Nine (9) letters of agreement supportive of academic programs, supplemental assignments, and District initiatives were included as part of the ratification package.
About Detroit Public Schools Community District
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan’s largest public education system. It is governed by a locally elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District’s mission 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 more than 100 schools and educates 51,000 children. For more information, visit detroitk12.org and follow @detroitk12 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.