Bobb ready to modify union contracts

DETROIT — The layoff notices that went out in Detroit Public Schools this week were no surprise, but a letter announcing changes in the collective bargaining agreement between the district and its teachers is a first under a new state law, according to an Associated Press report posted at

Nearly 5,500 Detroit Public Schools teachers and 248 administrators are now receiving layoff and non-renewal notices as the district prepares for a likely decline in student enrollment next fall, according to AP. The number called back will depend on final enrollment and employee resignations or retirements, AP reported.

Employees covered under the Detroit Federation of Teachers contract also will get letters stating that after May 17 some provisions of the collective bargaining agreement with the district may change, AP reported.  The changes are allowed under a new state law granting more authority to emergency financial managers like Robert Bobb, who has served in that role at DPS since March 2009.

“I fully intend to use the authority that was granted under Public Act 4 ...,” Bobb said in a statement, the AP report said.

Bobb said he has had “fruitful” meetings with union officials on potential contract changes, AP reported, but no details were given.

SOURCE:, “Detroit schools send layoff papers to all teachers,” April 14, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Taking Steps in the Right Direction,” April 8, 2011