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Detroit Schools Accused of Robbing Teachers

DETROIT (CN) - Detroit Public School employees say the district is taking money from their paychecks to destroy the public school system and replace it with charter schools. The class action claims that Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit Public Schools, is deducting a "total of $10,000 from each teacher's paycheck and its sum will be paid to them, if at all, only months, years or decades later, when they resign or retire from the district."

Teachers, counselors and other school employees want the school district enjoined "from attempts to extort a forced loan from their pay without their consent, for 40 bi-weekly pay periods beginning Jan. 12, 2010."

Bobb's position as emergency financial manager gives him "full authority over all financial transactions by the district, including the payment and means of payment of employees," according to the complaint in Wayne County Court.

The teachers say the "compelled loan" will "force many of the best teachers out of the district and will make it impossible to replace them with the best-qualified new teachers" thus "destroying the public schools."

On Dec. 3, 2009 Bobb and the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) approved the "deduction of $250 each pay period for a total of 40 pay periods." The lawsuit challenges the validity of the DFT's vote and claims it does "not have the legal authority to authorize the district to forcibly extract a loan from the pay of the individual employees."

The employees fear that with the district's financial troubles and "Bobb's continual threats to file bankruptcy" the "forced loan" will never be repaid and the money will be used to "fund consultants, charter companies and similar schemes to destroy the public schools of the City of Detroit."

The teachers want Bobb restrained and enjoined from deducting the money from their paychecks. They are represented by George Washington with Schef, Washington & Driver.

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