Skip to comments.Detroit Schools Spending Blues: Contracts That Bind
Posted on 05/12/2012 6:21:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
When Detroit Public Schools were assigned an emergency financial manager by the state, we thought he would have the power to turn things around, more or less, with a snap of his fingers.
Turns out thats not the case, due in large part to a thick document known as a teachers contract, or collective bargaining agreement. In Detroit (and most other school districts across the nation) these documents contain seemingly mundane provisions that cost taxpayers and school districts millions of dollars.
Those provisions have been sucking a lot money out of Detroit Public Schools, a cash-starved district that cant afford to waste a penny. We took a look at some of the districts labor expenses in our newly released report, Sucking the Life Out of Americas Public Schools: The Expense of Teachers Union Contracts, Part 3, Detroit Federation of Teachers Contract.
DPS spent millions of dollars in 2010-11 on expensive items stipulated by the Detroit Federation of Teachers collective bargaining agreement.
They included automatic step salary increases for the remaining teachers ($15.6 million), reimbursement for unused sick days ($12.5 million), longevity bonuses ($665,336), super step pay increases ($435,000) and overage pay for teachers with a few extra kids in their classrooms ($376,082).
Eighty to 85 percent of all general fund school spending is dictated by a typical teacher contract. Emergency manager or not, a school district like Detroit cant change its spending habits overnight because it operates under this type of restrictive agreement that prohibits flexibility and efficiency.
Emergency managers in Michigan have the legal power to void these labor contracts, but doing so would cause a great deal of labor unrest that DPS can ill-afford at the moment.
Detroit is a prime example of a school district that benefits its adult employees very well. But what about the students? At the same time the district was spending millions of dollars on employee perks in 2010-11, it was laying off thousands of teachers, leading to crowded classrooms, and cancelling student programs.
This begs the question do public schools exist for kids for the adults who staff them? Detroit school officials should ask themselves that question before they negotiate another union contract.
There will be some legal attempts to stop the changes coming, but it’s going to be tough fighting them off. So if you are a teacher with the city...your $90k in salary a year probably has seen it’s peak. You might want to lessen your lifestyle.
It’s said to be implicit in all contracts that all parties are acting in good faith - exhibiting fairness, reasonableness, and decency. I wonder if they could void the contract on those grounds.
This illustrates the problem with labor unions. Over time, the wages, benefits, hiring and work rules deviate further and further from those which would be imposed by the market. They ultimately bear no resemblance to economic reality. They do not adjust to changing economic circumstances as they do in a free market. Yet, you can’t change them, at least without fighting a world war. They are completely inflexible.
Having said as much, I would say however, that they are good for their own members, provided that they don’t put the employer out of business. It’s just like a parasite. They get fat off the host, provided they don’t kill it.
Of course, it’s not so good for the host in any event. And the rest of us (who are not union members) are the host.
“You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you give enough money to the Democrats
So wait for the contract to expire, and negotiate the new terms. Instead of bitching about the work rules of the teachers, change them. Say no to the perks, and stand your ground, Detroit. The teachers won't strike in this economy.
That is what is happening with teacher's contracts all over the country. Teacher's are taking pay cuts and freezes, and contracts are being rewritten from the ground up. And the teachers themselves are fine with it -- it is the unions who are whining about it. Most teachers hate their unions. Trust me on that.
The people in administration who signed those contracts didn’t care because they were spending “government money” and it is endless,or so they think.And there are way too many administrators and co-ordinators.Then there are all the idiot government mandates for forced sex ed,and diversity.
The emergency administrator should fire the a**holes who signed the contracts,void the contracts,cut the administration staff by at least half,etc.
All government run operations tend toward bloated staffs and wasteful spending.
Doing what must be done when it must be done is what a manager is for...so why are these people being called “managers”?
One union to rule them all,
one union to find them.
One union to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
They need to consult with the governor in their neighboring state of Wisconsin on how to handle these matters. I won’t hold my breath waiting for them to do that.
As the former (deceased) head of the NY teacher's union said; “We'll start teaching kids when they start paying union dues.”
In a word, these public schools (or indoctrination centers) are filled with greedy union thugs and aided and abetted by public politicians who think nothing about spending other people's money (that is, taxpayers). These teacher contracts and work rules negotiations are like two wolves and a sheep sitting down to decide what is for dinner. Surprise! Lamb chops (taxpayers) are on the menu for dinner.
“I wonder if they could void the contract on those grounds.”
Local and state governments are sovereign. No past legislative body can bind a future legislature to previous actions. If that were the case, there would be no need to hold elections to change the direction of previous legislation. There is no such thing as an omnipotent legislature that can pass plenary law.
These contracts can be cancelled by the current Detroit legislative body at any time unless there is a state law that prevents it.
In fact, back in the 1990s, the federal courts made several rulings stating that local governments are sovereign and the federal government cannot force them to enforce federal laws.
Meanwhile, authorize a few hundred non-union charter schools.
$90thou for a half year’s work???....
its not about the host or the parasite...its supposed to be 100% about the students, but alas, they don’t matter...
adminstrators LOVE to shout the moon with the teachers contracts...why?...because they can claim that THEIR own salary needs to be proportionatly higher...