Detroit teachers brace for district overhauls; prepare to file lawsuit

More than 400 teachers laid off at the start of school year, not called back

Published On: Nov 14 2012 08:39:03 AM EST

Teachers with the Detroit Public School District are preparing to file a lawsuit against the district over school layoffs.

The layoffs happened at the start of the 2012-2013 school year when more than 400 teachers were laid off and never called back to work.

A press conference on the lawsuit will be held Wednesday morning.

It comes on the heals of a meeting Tuesday night, when the school board held its first meeting since Michigan voters repealed Public Act 4, which had empowered the state of Michigan to appoint such managers in financially struggling municipalities and school districts such as the Detroit Public Schools.

The first thing to go is the newly-created Education Achievement Authority which took over a dozen of the district's lowest performing schools.

"We want to make clear, we did not enter in that contract, we do not support the contract, and we haven’t even been made privy of that," said Board President LeMar Lemmons.

The Board also approved re-organizing and dramatically cutting down the academic staff in the Central Office. Also given the ax is a contract with Eastern Michigan University and two programs.

The moves are bold but nothing is set in stone. Everything is contingent upon the certification of the election and judicial approval.

More court battles are ahead. The teachers union is expected to sue the district, alleging hundreds of teachers were improperly laid off at the start of the school year.

"If we can't get it corrected through reason, we'll get it corrected through justice," said Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.

Emergency Manager Roy Roberts was not at Tuesday night's meeting. His future in a more limited role at this point is unclear.

The Board president said they want Roberts gone but they are willing to work with him.