SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - Southfield Public Schools wants to freeze teacher wages but offer educators lump sum payments if enrollment improves, according to the Observer & Eccentric.

Floyd Allen, the district's chief negotiator, said that the district is asking for the wage freeze, as well as caps on health care payments and greater flexibility in hiring and layoffs as part of current contract negotiations, the Observer & Eccentric reported.

In discussing the matter at a school board meeting, Allen said that employee unions have asked for 5 percent raises, according to the Observer & Eccentric. Ted Peters, chief negotiator for the Southfield Education Association, told the Observer & Eccentric that the 5 percent request was only an opening proposal and that he was surprised that Allen raised the matter publicly, saying such discussion typically remains at the bargaining table.

Allen cited the state economy and continuing enrollment decline as reasons for the district's bargaining positions, the Observer & Eccentric reported.

The Observer & Eccentric, "Schools go public with bargaining goals," Dec. 21, 2008

Michigan Education Report, "Collective Bargaining 101," Feb. 23, 2007