PONTIAC, Mich. - A circuit court judge has offered to facilitate discussions between Pontiac school teachers and the school district over the district's reorganization plan, according to The Oakland Press.

Judge Rudy Nichols refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the district by the Pontiac Education Association over the layoff of all teachers, but also has refused to grant the teachers an injunction that would have put the layoffs on hold, The Press reported.

He told the sides to try to work out their differences over layoffs, recalls, reassignments and unemployment benefits, according to The Press.

The school district gained widespread attention this spring when it issued layoff notices to all unionized employees, saying it would call them back as needed according to seniority, qualifications and certification. The district plans to close half its schools and combine others to address its overspending problem, The Press reported.

The teachers union filed suit, claiming the plan violates the collective bargaining agreement. In denying its request for an injunction, Nichols said the union failed to show it would suffer irreparable harm, and also noted that the collective bargaining agreement outlines procedures for handling disputes, The Press reported.

The Oakland Press, "Judge tells district, Pontiac teachers to keep talking," May 21, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "Pontiac to lay off 700-plus," March 11, 2009