Big meeting in #Detroit #1u #union #IBEW (Taken with Instagram at I.B.E.W. Local 58 Union Hall)
Big meeting in #Detroit #1u #union #IBEW (Taken with Instagram at I.B.E.W. Local 58 Union Hall)
By Eric T. Campbell
The Michigan Citizen”
DETROIT — Detroit Public Schools (DPS) emergency manager and Educational Achievement Authority (EAA) board chairman Roy Roberts is “inflating” his administrative success, according to a new study. Despite promises otherwise, the EM is directing more resources to his administration than the classroom.
Roberts has consistently criticized DPS bureaucracy, saying it directs only 55 percent of its revenue to the classroom. He further promised to increase that number to 95 percent in DPS and the state-mandated reform school district, the EAA.
A new report by the Detroit Data and Democracy Project contradicts Roberts’ numbers, indicating that Roberts has used differing formulas to support his claims.
The report, entitled “Emergency Manager Roy Roberts Pledges 95% of Funds to Classrooms: Ambition or Deceit?” was authored by Dr. Thomas C. Pedroni, Wayne State associate professor of Curriculum Studies and director of the Detroit Data and Democracy Project.
“Roberts greatly inflates his success in the area of classroom dollars and achieves the 90 percent figure by calling every expense category, except administration and debt service, ‘school based costs,’” the report states.
Using the same formula utilized by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), the one that Roberts uses to disparage DPS’ recent classroom expenditures of 55 percent, Roberts is actually putting even less into DPS classrooms.
Pedroni estimates that number to be 48.3 percent.
“Roberts was using a much more generous assessment for his own performance,” Pedroni told the Michigan Citizen. “And it’s not just that his numbers are wrong … remember this is the whole basis for his existence.”
Pedroni says that, in general, charter schools use the same tactics that Roberts employed. National studies conclude that charter schools dedicate more money to administration than to classrooms compared to public schools.
Roberts appeared before City Council July 17 to give his 2012 report on the state of DPS. During his statements, he announced that the DPS budget deficit is now only $72 million.
Detroit Board of Education President Lamar Lemmons says that number is also skewed to fit the appearance that Roberts has led the district out of financial despair.
Lemmons told the Michigan Citizen that DPS is really $272 million in debt if you include the long-term payments associated with the $200 million deficit elimination bond negotiated by Roberts in November 2011.
“You can show anything if you change the formula to get the results you want,” Lemmons told the Michigan Citizen. “He’s certainly done that before.”
To read Detroit Data and Democracy Project’s report on Robert’s classroom expenditures, visit https://sites.google.com/site/detroitdataanddemocracyproject/
Contact Eric T. Campbell at email@example.com
Shelby Mustang GT500 #unionmade #Detroit (Taken with Instagram)
Rachel Maddow on Michigan Emergency Manager Law and the Michigan GOP’s war on democracy.
Lansing — Steve Goff has taught high school history in a rural Midland County school district for 18 years since spending 10 years in the U.S. Army.
To make up for those lost years in his teaching career, Goff bought 10 years of credit in the public school employee pension system with plans of retiring in summer 2014 at age 54.
But Goff said he might have to work another six years at the Meridian School District if state lawmakers approve legislation overhauling the retirement system and requiring school and community college employees to be 60 to qualify for retiree health care. The father of five said the legislation disrupts his and his wife’s retirement plans.
“It fundamentally alters our plans, our hopes and our dreams,” Goff said during a Senate committee hearing Wednesday that drew dozens of public school and community college educators and retirees who decried sweeping changes to their pension and retirement health care plans as unfair.
Facing a $45.2 billion unfunded liability in the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, GOP lawmakers are hoping to fast-track the bill this spring to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk to relieve rising retirement costs for school districts and community colleges.
The legislation is a priority for Snyder and GOP legislative leaders, the governor’s spokeswoman Geralyn Lasher said. Senate Bill 1040 would impose higher pension contributions on most employees hired before 2010. Critics say the bill upends retirement plans for employees in their late 40s and 50s whose combined years of service and age would have to equal 85 for them to qualify for health insurance.
“I’m potentially three years from retirement and now I’m looking at another 14,” said Terri List, an English teacher in Saginaw Township Community Schools who also bought several years of credit to speed up her retirement. “I understand times are tough and we all need to tighten our belts a bit, but we don’t need to use the tourniquet.”
The bill also would require retirees to pay 20 percent of their health care premiums — mirroring new co-pays the Legislature imposed on public sector employees last year. Under the bill, most educators, administrators and support staff hired between 1990 and 2010 would see their pension contribution rise to 8 percent of annual salary, up from between 3 percent and 6.4 percent, depending on when they were hired and their salary.
About 30,000 employees hired before 1990 who contribute nothing to their pension would have to begin paying 5 percent per year into MPSERS. The bill allows employees to opt out of the higher payments by accepting a lower pension calculation, moving to a 401(k)-style retirement plan for their remaining years of service or freezing their pension.
Gary Olson, former director of the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency, questioned the constitutionality of changing pension contribution rates for existing employees. When the lawmakers overhauled the retirement system for state employees in 1997, the Attorney General’s Office said they could not alter promised pension benefits for existing employees, Olson said.
Olson, a consultant, was hired by a coalition of employee labor unions to study the legislation.
Mary Reynolds, finance director of Farmington Public Schools, said the bill is a welcome financial relief for cash-strapped school districts. Her district faces a $3.5 million increase in pension and retirement contributions for employees next school year.
The Senate Appropriations retirement subcommittee has scheduled a second hearing April 18 on the bill. State Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, who sponsored the bill, said he expects the Senate will pass a version of the bill by the end of the month.
Detroit News Staff Writer Karen Bouffard contributed.
A conservative-leaning news website says it has obtained documents from the United Auto Workers’ Internet server that show the union is behind a new, nationwide campaign to train 100,000 Americans for “sustained non-violent direct action” on behalf of “the 99 percent.”
The Daily Caller says the documents show the UAW is helping to organize a coalition of 43 organizations calling itself “The 99% Spring.”
The documents, which it says were downloaded from an “unprotected area of the UAW’s Web server,” include press releases, social media plans and a list of talking points.
But a source told The Detroit News that they were “posted by accident” to the union’s website. That person said the UAW is part of the coalition, but not its “mastermind.”
The UAW would not comment on the document leak.
Executive Editor David Martosko acknowledged that his group learned about the documents from a hacker.
“We downloaded the material and connected it back to their website,” he said. “It shouldn’t surprise anybody that a labor union is behind the latest iteration of the Occupy campaign.”
On its own website, The 99% Spring identifies itself as an outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street movement that took over city squares and newspaper headlines last fall.
“This spring we rise! We will reshape our country with our own hands and feet, bodies and hearts,” the group says on its own website.
“We will take non-violent action in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi to forge a new destiny one block, one neighborhood, one city, one state at a time.”
UAW President Bob King has made no secret of his support for the Occupy movement or its latest, more confrontational evolution.
“In April, we’re going to be part of a broad coalition that’s going to be training our membership and anybody who cares about justice in this society in nonviolent direct action,” King told union members in Flint earlier this month at a rally marking the 75th anniversary of the Flint Sit-Down Strike that led to the recognition of the UAW.
King said their first target would be the General Electric Co. shareholders meeting in Detroit on April 25.
“It is morally wrong — it is absolutely wrong — that they make billions and billions and billions of dollars and pay not a single penny in taxes,” King said of GE. “Enough is enough. We’re the 99 percent who want 100 percent fairness for everyone.”
But Martosko said the $168,073 in salary and benefits he says UAW documents show King earns annually puts him in the other camp.
“He is the 1 percent,” Martosko said. “I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it, but he shouldn’t act like he’s a pauper.”
The Daily Caller was started by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, an aide to former vice president Dick Cheney.
We hear a lot of talk from politicians in Lansing about creating jobs and making education a top priority, but Michigan’s middle class families know talk is cheap.
Last year our elected officials cut more than $1 billion from our K-12 schools, community colleges and universities so they could provide a $1.7 billion tax cut for businesses. These cuts won’t reduce class size, they won’t address barriers to student success, and they won’t put people back to work.
Now a small group of anti-union politicians and corporate special interests like the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are trying to make Michigan a so-called right-to-work state.
Let’s be clear. This is nothing more than a blatant power grab that will weaken the middle class and won’t create jobs.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.”
A right-to-work law in Michigan would give even more profits to CEOs at the expense of our jobs, our retirement security and our kids’ future.
In states with right-to-work laws, employees earn an average of $1,500 less per year, have a lower standard of living and no job security. Currently, six of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates in the nation have right-to-work laws on the books.
Of course, we all know this isn’t really about rebuilding Michigan’s economy. If it were, middle class families in states that have passed right-to-work laws would be better off, but that’s simply not the case.
In fact, in right-to-work states like Mississippi, Texas and Idaho, workers’ pensions were gutted. Thousands of workers who had been contributing to their pensions for decades were left with broken promises and no retirement security.
The politicians and corporate special interests who are pushing this unfair legislation know that unions are a check on corporate greed, and they are working overtime to silence the collective voice of our teachers, nurses and firefighters.
Corporate CEOs spent more than $1 billion to elect politicians who are willing to do their bidding and give them free rein over our economy.
If these attacks succeed in weakening unions, what will be left to check corporate power and fight outsourcing? CEOs will be able to rob workers of their voice, to lower wages and to ship even more jobs to China.
Gov. Rick Snyder has said he doesn’t want Michigan to become a right-to-work state, and I couldn’t agree more.
This issue is far too divisive, and will tear Michigan apart at a time when we should be focused on creating jobs and investing in public education to give our kids a better future.
When it comes to rebuilding our economy, talk is cheap. And since right-to-work is all about shortchanging workers, it’s clear this flawed proposal is wrong for Michigan.
David Hecker is president of the American Federation of Teachers Michigan, a union that has 35,000 members in the state.