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Northville, Mich. school system might ask for Emergency Manager

School board members in the affluent Metro Detroit town of Northville are considering asking the state to appoint an Emergency Manager because contract negotiations between administrators and employees have stalled.

Though the district has more than double the median household income of the state as a whole, state education funding cuts have forced Northville to cut $4.1 million in expenses and layoff 65 full- and part-time employees.

Superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher told The Detroit News that the board is now talking about requesting an Emergency Manager “as a last resort” if the district can’t come to an agreement on a two-year collective bargaining agreement.

The district made a proposal on June 20 for teachers to take a 9.25 percent salary reduction, two unpaid furlough days and no wage increases for the next two years. Northville teachers currently receive step raises averaging 5.23 percent.

The Northville Education Association’s counter offer was for full wage increases, four unpaid furlough days and a 1.5 percent pay cut for the next two years. The union also wants to reduce days of instruction from 180 to 176, eliminate parent-teacher conferences in the spring and add more late starts at Northville High School.

The ability to break contracts is among the most contentious provisions of Public Act 4 — the law that expanded Emergency Manager powers this spring.

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