Detroit Schools Do Not Have 'Low Pay' or 'Crowded Classes'

And if supplies are short, recent corruption charges may explain why

A recent Associated Press story about a kickback and bribe scandal involving principals in the Detroit made reference to an illegal sickout by teacher union members that shut down schools for two days. The AP reported: “Dozens of schools were forced to cancel classes this year as teachers called in sick to protest low pay, lacking supplies and over-crowded classrooms.”

ForTheRecord says: Not quite. The average Detroit Public Schools teacher made $63,716 in 2014-15, according to the latest data released by the Michigan Department of Education. The amount is almost $2,000 more than the average salary for all Michigan teachers, which is $61,978.

Class size records released by DPS last fall show the average Detroit classroom held 22.45 students. Just 562 of the 11,588 individual classes (or 4.85 percent) had 40 or more students, a figure that included gym, band and sports classes that traditionally have large numbers of students. By comparison, the average classroom size in Saginaw Public Schools was 21.28 students.

As for supplies, the Detroit district has a checkered history. The current scandal involves 13 officials taking bribes and kickbacks for helping vendors collect payments for supplies that were never delivered. An earlier scandal involved large quantities of new textbooks and other supplies left to rot in an abandoned district warehouse.

Moreover, if the district lacks supplies it is not for want of funding. Detroit also does well in overall funding. In the previous school year, DPS received $13,743 per student from all sources. The average amount for all Michigan school district was $9,457.