DETROIT - Michigan Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair Township) has introduced three bills aimed at discouraging teacher sick-outs by providing tougher fines and penalties for teachers and unions involved.
The bills are aimed at giving the Michigan Employment Relations Commission greater authority to hold mass hearings of teachers deemed to be in violation rather than individual hearings of teachers.
Teachers will face increased fines and potential loss of certification. The same holds for unions.
The bills also seek a broader definition of "strike," that would include sick-outs being defined as an illegal work stoppage.
Pavlov is also drafting a letter seeking an explanation from the auditor general as to why the condition of Detroit schools is so dreadful, given the $2 billion in bond money spent for physical upgrades to buildings.
He wants an audit into where the money went, and why it was invested in buildings that are now closed or demolished. He believes this is a case of mismanagement.
Pavlov represents Michigan's 25th State Senate District.
"It shortens up the timeframe in which strike conditions can be reported. Right now, it's too loosely interpreted. So we're going to build in some measure that would allow the state superintendent to declare that strike conditions exist, number one. That's the first thing, identifying the problem," said Pavlov. "Then we go from there and we start talking about ways in which teachers get back into the classroom. Everybody knows that striking is illegal."
Teachers within the Detroit Public Schools district have been absent in recent weeks while they protest the what many have called "deplorable" conditions at some of the schools. They're also seeking better pay.
More than 80 schools were closed on Wednesday in Detroit due to a teachers sick-out.
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