It pays to be excessed in Detroit

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Last month, TQB highlighted New York City's practice of paying 'excessed' teachers (typically teachers who lose their current assignment after a drop in enrollment) salaries and benefits while they look for a new position. We now learn that cash-strapped Detroit also has been paying excessed teachers full salaries and benefits for several years through an "unbudgeted fallout account," only recently unearthed thanks to an audit conducted by the Council of the Great City Schools. It is not clear yet whether these teachers, who are not included in the district's budget, are actually working or just collecting checks.

These excessed teachers are estimated to have cost Detroit between $30 and $60 million this year alone, a good portion of the district's looming $210 million debt. More teachers are expected to be excessed or laid off this year and are no doubt hoping they too are eligible for the special account.

Apparently, the school board knew nothing of the fallout account. School board president Carla Scott noted: "It's like when you clean out your closet. You discover things and ask, 'How did this stuff get in here?...For the first time in two years, we actually know what's going on. We should have been in crisis mode for the last 10 years."