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Published: Monday, 7/2/2012

Pact imposed on teachers in Detroit schools


DETROIT -- The state-appointed emergency manager running the Detroit Public Schools imposed a contract Sunday on the district's teachers, the district has announced.

Roy Roberts is empowered by Michigan's emergency manager law to impose work terms on employees.

"This new collective bargaining agreement with our teachers provides the flexibility needed for our schools to be successful and to meet the educational needs of the children and families who come to us," Mr. Roberts said in a statement. "It also produces the savings necessary for the district to ultimately return to financial solvency and remove the debt that erodes financial resources reaching the classroom."

District spokesman Steven Wasko declined to reveal terms of the contract, saying Mr. Roberts wants the Detroit Federation of Teachers to inform its members first.

The Associated Press left email messages Sunday night with union President Keith Johnson and other union officials seeking comment.

Detroit's schools came under state management because of persistent budget deficits under an elected school board.

Mr. Wasko said there were no negotiations but that administrators held several consulting meetings with union leaders.

The budget for 2012-13 is 25 percent lower than the budget for 2011-12. That's because the district will lose 15 schools, their students, and employees to a new district for underperforming schools that's run by the state.

The district says it's projecting an enrollment of 51,927 in 2012-13. That number excludes the estimated 11,020 students in the schools that are coming under the state's new Education Achievement Authority. Detroit's enrollment has fallen by about 100,000 in the last decade.

"Detroit has great teachers and dedicated educators and I have met and witnessed the work of a number of them over the past 14 months," Mr. Roberts said. "Having this contract in place provides the stability they need and deserve to continue to meet the many challenges they face on a daily basis."

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