New round of teacher absences to close at least five Detroit schools

At least five public schools in Detroit will be closed on Wednesday, and many others could follow suit, as teachers call in sick to protest at deteriorating conditions, Detroit Public Schools said.

It is the second such action in as many weeks, with 64 of the district’s 97 schools forced to close on Jan. 11 due to a high volume of teacher absences.

The district said on Facebook the five schools that will be shut on Wednesday were likely to be the first of possibly many.

Detroit Public Schools is drowning under $3.5 billion of debt and needs to be rescued by the state of Michigan, according to a report released this month by Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit public affairs group.

The district has been under state oversight since 2009, but continues to struggle financially because of falling enrollment and hefty pension and debt obligations.

Teachers have complained of crumbling infrastructure, mold in the classrooms, leaky ceilings and too many students per class.

The Detroit News reports that teachers on Wednesday also plan to hold a noon rally and vote on an ongoing program of calling in sick until their demands are met.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Editing by Alison Williams)


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