The Latest: Hundreds of Detroit teachers picket over pay

AP News
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Posted: May 02, 2016 12:21 PM

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the sick-out by teachers that's closed dozens of Detroit schools on Monday (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

A few hundred Detroit teachers are picketing outside the district headquarters, protesting the possibility that some will not receive paychecks during the summer months if Detroit Public Schools runs out of money.

The district's state-appointed transition manager Steven Rhodes says 45,628 of approximately 46,000 students were forced to miss classes Monday as 1,562 teachers called in sick. The mass sick-out has forced the district to close 94 of its 97 schools.

Detroit's schools are expected to be out of cash starting July 1. The state earlier gave the district $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep it open through June 30 as the Legislature considers a $720 million restructuring plan.

Rhodes says the restructuring plan is needed to pay teachers who've chosen to have their checks spread over the full year.

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10:30 a.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says a sick-out that has closed all but three of Detroit's public schools is "not constructive" and hampers efforts to persuade lawmakers to approve a $720 million rescue package for the ailing district.

The governor told reporters in Flint on Monday that he hopes the House approves the Senate-passed legislation this month, but the sick-out "probably raises more questions and challenges to legislators."

The Detroit Federation of Teachers urged members to call out sick amid concerns the district couldn't pay teachers.

Snyder says he is focused on enacting the comprehensive plan to pay off the district's enormous debt and create a new district but also is thinking of backup plans.

He approved emergency funding to keep the district running in March, but the money will run out at the end of June.

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7:30 a.m.

All but three of Detroit's public schools are now closed for the day amid a sick-out by teachers protesting funding issues at the financially struggling district.

District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski said in an email early Monday that 94 of the district's 97 schools have been closed for the day. About 46,000 students are enrolled in the district's schools.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers on Sunday urged its members to call out sick following an announcement that the district wouldn't have enough money to continue paying teachers this summer, or funding summer school or special education programs, without further state funding.

The governor approved emergency funding to keep the district running in March, as lawmakers consider a $720 million restructuring plan to pay off the district's enormous debt.

Former bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes was appointed this year to oversee the district. He said Sunday that a sickout was "counterproductive and detrimental" to the efforts of those trying to help the school district.

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6:40 a.m.

Detroit Public Schools says most of its schools are closed amid a sick-out by teachers following an announcement that the district is running out of money.

District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski says in an email that 87 of the district's roughly 100 schools are closed Monday.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers urged members to call in sick a day earlier, pointing to a weekend announcement that the district will have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further state funding.

The union's interim president, Ivy Bailey, released a statement saying that "by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms."

Former bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who was appointed to oversee the district, says the union's "drastic call to action was not necessary."

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5:45 a.m.

Detroit Public Schools says dozens of schools are closed Monday amid a sick-out by teachers.

District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski says in an email 67 of the district's about 100 schools were closed for the day.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers on Sunday urged members to call in sick. The union pointed to a weekend announcement that the district will have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further funding from the state.

Former bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who was appointed to oversee the district, says in a statement the union's "drastic call to action was not necessary."

In March, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law emergency funding that's keeping DPS operating through the end of the school year as the state Legislature considers a $720 million restructuring plan.

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1:30 a.m.

Detroit Public Schools says at least 43 schools will be closed Monday amid a sick-out by teachers.

District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski made the announcement late Sunday night.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers earlier Sunday urged members to call in sick Monday. The union pointed to a weekend announcement that the district will have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further funding from the state. In March, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law emergency funding that is keeping DPS operating through the end of the school year as the state Legislature considers a $720 million restructuring plan.

Sick-outs earlier this year caused tens of thousands of students to miss class.