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Facing massive public outcry Detroit Schools Emergency Manager backs down from draconian cuts & slashing teacher wages

This post has been edited to clarify that the fine arts program at Detroit’s Renaissance High School is being saved.

Just a week after Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin, announced draconian cuts to schools, higher class sizes, a second round of pay cuts for teachers, and the closing of 24 schools, he has changed his mind:

After a public outcry, the Detroit Public Schools is walking back plans to cut teacher pay and boost class sizes.

The district is battling a $127 million deficit, and the Michigan Department of Education approved its revised deficit elimination plan last week.

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Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings

[NOTE: Edited to clarify that the DPS budget was created by the DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, not the School Board.]

When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:

  • DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
  • The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
  • 24 additional schools will close starting next year
  • Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
  • Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls

Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…

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Democrat Mark Schauer helps Detroit-area resident clean-up after flood. Gov. Snyder decides he’d better do that, too.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all…


Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer breaks down a child’s play set to remove it from a flooded Royal Oak basement, courtesy photo

Yesterday, Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer got his hands (and feet) dirty helping a Royal Oak resident clean up after the epic flood that flooded their basement. From his Facebook page:

We removed everything from the basement (the water damaged every basement on the block), cut and removed the carpet and mopped up.

Not to be outdone, Gov. Snyder today pledged to do the same and to also do it in Royal Oak:

Gov.…
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New hashtag to celebrate Rick Snyder’s tone deafness: #JustLikeTheDetroitFlood

Yesterday, Michigan Governor Snyder compared a hole in the roof of his $1.1 million “lake house” mansion (one of two mansions he owns) to the devastating impacts of the recent historical flood in Detroit.

I’ve been through a lot of things like that, Frank. We just recently had holes in our roof from storm damage to our lake house. We have a vacation place and we had a limb come down on the roof and had water running through the whole place; those experiences are not pleasant ones and they had to take some trees down.

To celebrate, I’ve launched a new Twitter hastag: #JustLikeTheDetroitFlood.…

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Rick Snyder has faced similar devastation to the historic flood in Detroit: he once had a hole in the roof of his mansion

It’s truly remarkable to see someone behave as tone deaf as Gov. Snyder did today in his flailing attempt to commiserate with metro Detroiters who are dealing with the intense impact of an historic flood event that has closed many highways, killed a 100-year old woman and an epileptic woman (among others), and has people trying put their lives together after their homes filled with water.

But he managed to do it.

Today he actually compared the epic flood damage to damage he once experienced at his $1.1 million “lake home” mansion and the loss of some trees. He did it on WJR radio’s Frank Beckmann Show.…

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Detroit Mayor Duggan extends water shutoff moratorium an additional 20 days, Detroit Water Brigade faces city opposition

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has extended the moratorium on shutting off water to the homes of Detroiters with unpaid bills for another 20 days, until August 25th. City officials are working on an improved process for collecting unpaid bills and plans to announce the new plan later this week:

Detroit’s moratorium on residential water shutoffs over unpaid water bills will be extended until Aug. 25 as the city prepares to release details of a plan to better handle collections of overdue bills.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said teams from his administration and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department worked through the weekend to redesign bill collections and will announce details of a new plan on Thursday.

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VIDEO: Chris Savage of Eclectablog welcomes Netroots Nation to Detroit

For those of you who missed the opening night keynote speeches at Netroots Nation in Detroit, here is my speech welcoming the conference attendees to the Motor City:

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UPDATED x3: Despite supposed moratorium, Detroit water shutoffs continue

Depends on what your definition of “moratorium” is, I guess…

Last week, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, bowing to pressure from Detroit bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes, instituted what they said was a 15-day moratorium on water shutoffs in Detroit. However, despite this, water shutoffs continue:

The Detroit water department recently announced a temporary break in its campaign to cut service to delinquent customers—but some people are still being shut off. [...]

[T]he temporary reprieve doesn’t apply across the board, as most people had assumed.

Spokeswoman Curtrise Garner says the water department remains committed to helping anyone genuinely unable to pay their bill.

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UPDATED: Despite protest on the left, Eclectablog will be at Netroots Nation in Phoenix next year – here’s why

Last Friday, a crowd of over 1,000 protesters, bolstered by hundreds and hundreds of Netroots Nations attendees, filled the streets of downtown Detroit. An event that would likely have seen scant national coverage became a huge media story with reporting by the New York Times, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Democracy Now!, the Los Angeles Times, and countless others. The attention the protest march and rally received, including a surprise main stage speech by actor and activist Mark Ruffalo, helped propel the plight of Detroit residents to the national stage in a way that it never would have without the presence of the Netroots Nation conference and the outpouring of support from those who attended.…

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Activists to rally in Detroit on Friday to protest water shutoffs, call for accountability for Wall Street banks

As Netroots Nation lands in Detroit, it does so during an unprecedented time in our country’s history. In an attempt to get over 90,000 water customers to pay upwards of $90 million in unpaid water bills. Over ten thousand Detroit residents have already had their water source eliminated in this draconian effort. Meanwhile, major businesses still have water flowing despite their own massive unpaid bills:

A local news investigation revealed that Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings, owed $82,255 as of April. Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play, owed more than $55,000. City-owned golf courses owed more than $400,000.…
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