Detroit schools EM cancels 10% pay cut, won't increase class sizes

Teachers would have faced 10 percent pay cut starting Oct. 1

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools are canceling a plan to cut employee pay by 10 percent and increase class sizes, Emergency Manager Jack Martin announced Tuesday.

The proposals were included in the district's deficit elimination plan.

To cover the costs of rolling back the two money-saving proposals, DPS is proposing the extension of its deficit elimination plan through 2021. By then, according to DPS, not only will the deficit be eliminated, but the district also will be free of its legacy debt, which is currently at $53 million a year. Right now, DPS has a $127 million deficit.

"As I have said numerous times before, maintaining and growing our student base is the only way to ensure that the district is sustainable into the future," said Martin during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "The retention and attraction of students is absolutely critical to our future, and this year's and future enrollment will be a key determinant in not only the reduction of our deficit, but more importantly growing the district."

Under the plan, teachers' pay would have been cut by 10 percent on Oct. 1.

Class sizes will remain at 25 for grades K-3 (which would not have been altered even under the previous plan), 33 for grades 4 and 5, and 38 for grades 6-12. Martin noted that based on average daily attendance, DPS's class sizes across the district last year averaged only 16 students.

The plan, filed with the Michigan Department of Education, also called for the closure of 24 schools or buildings over four years, starting with the 2015-16 academic year. DPS officials did not specify which schools would be closed, but the plan said a task force will be formed to assess options.

Related: DPS may have to consolidate more schools

The district has been under state control since 2009, when its deficit reached as high as $327 million. It now is facing a $121.5 million projected deficit at the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year.