DETROIT – The Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD) announced an increased salary for new teachers beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Teachers new to the district will receive a salary of up to $51,071 -- the highest starting teacher salary offered in Metro Detroit, according to DPSCD.
Officials say the increased salaries are an effort to attract and retain teachers in the district, which has experienced large numbers of teacher vacancies in previous years.
“There is absolutely nothing more important to the learning process than having an outstanding teacher in every child’s classroom. Although we have been pleased with our progress of recruiting and retaining teachers to fill our vacancies, one teacher vacancy is too many for the student who has a substitute teacher,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD Superintendent. “This investment will prevent a greater teacher recruitment crisis for our students when you consider the national and regional shortage of undergraduate students choosing to be a teacher, and the fact that nearly a third of our teachers could retire at any moment and another third of teachers could be in a position to retire in one to four years. If we do not act with a sense of urgency regarding the recruitment of teachers to DPSCD then we slow the progress our children are making and own the failure to develop a long-term strategy to prevent the vacuum that a mass retirement could create over the next five years.”
DPSCD says that teacher vacancies have fallen from 275 in 2016-2017 to 70 in 2020. The district says their average teacher has seen a salary increase of nearly $10,000 within the last few years.
Still there is significant competition to attract and retain “excellent educators” for some Michigan school districts, DPSCD says. According to officials recent data shows that Michigan has experienced a 67% decrease in students enrolling in teacher preparation college programs.
The district hopes that the new salary proposal will help fill teacher vacancies in preparation for the upcoming school year.
“The District remains staunchly committed to improving compensation for all educators to ensure Detroit’s children have access to the highest quality teachers possible," said Iris Taylor, president of the DPSCD Board of Education. "We will continue to work to make all of our teachers the highest paid in the state and country.”
The district is also planning to reduce class sizes for the fall, as teachers and students return amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
All Michigan K-12 schools have been closed to in-person lessons since March when the pandemic hit the state. Many school districts have since moved to virtual, remote education to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is not yet clear how or when schools will resume lessons for the 2020-2021 academic year.