Detroit teachers: We won't work for free

Posted at 2:25 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 16:25:27-04
On National Teacher Appreciation Day, teachers with Detroit Public Schools staged another "sick out" protest saying they're being asked to work for free.
The Detroit Federation of Teachers union says the district squandered tens of millions of dollars meant for teacher salaries, and now has no money to pay teachers through the summer.
Most teachers put aside part of their paycheck through the school year so they can still receive pay during summer break.
DPS says it will run out of money on June 30th and be unable to pay teachers money they have technically already earned.
Ivy Baily is the interim president of the teacher's union.
"I’m taking my money and I’m putting it aside and I’m trusting the district that it’s going into a pot somewhere," she said to a crowd of reporters, Tuesday. "But that’s not the case. The money has been spent."
Leaders with DPS say they understand teachers need to be paid, but said instead of calling out sick they should be calling their lawmakers in Lansing to get more funding.
Jeffrey Gisstennar's son attends Renaissance High School in Detroit. Gisstennar is the president of that school's PTO. He says this teacher protest has been brewing for years.
"We keep putting band-aids and chewing gum and spit on this process until we (finally) say ok enough is enough," he said. "Right now, with the teachers saying enough is enough (lawmakers) have to do something."
The second "sick out" in a row may have forced lawmakers' hands.
The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill, Tuesday, which would pull $500 million from the state's general fund to help pay off DPS's debt.
Teachers like Chevelle O'Brien say they want to go back to class.
"I actually miss my students. I actually want to teach," she said. "At the same time if we’re not going to be paid for the summer what are we supposed to do?."
The union says it will be meeting Tuesday night to consider what is next. That could include a formal strike.