By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) – Thousands of Denver public school teachers will walk the picket lines for a third day on Wednesday, interfering with classes for about 92,000 trainees after union and school district authorities ended talks with no offer in sight, union authorities said.
In the most current strike in a series to hit U.S. public school systems, the 5,650-member Denver Classroom Educators Association looks for higher pay with a salary structure focused less on performance rewards and more on cost-of-living boosts.
The Denver labor disagreement follows statewide teacher walkouts last year in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia, and a six-day strike in Los Angeles settled last month with a offer to cut class sizes and raise incomes by 6 percent.
Talks in Denver broke down on Saturday, triggering the very first walkout by instructors in Colorado’s biggest city given that 1994.
The two sides returned to the bargaining table on Tuesday, however late in the day a DCTA spokesman said talks had ended for the night and would resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday. He decreased to comment on whether a deal was close.
No agent of the school district was instantly readily available to comment.
The Denver Public Schools district has said its newest proposition would raise instructors’ pay by nearly 11 percent next year, while the union has actually called that figure inflated.
On Monday, Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova informed reporters the district had already fulfilled lots of of the instructors’ demands for simplifying their complicated pay structure.
“We’ve made actually significant changes currently,” Cordova stated. “Many of the things I think that we hear our instructors complain about, really aren’t about the proposal that we’ve put on the table, it’s about the existing system. And numerous of those things I concur with as well.”
District officials swore to keep all 207 schools open through the strike, staffed by substitute instructors and administration workers. However on Tuesday the district said it canceled pre-kindergarten classes.
The so-called ProComp pay system at the crux of the strike was embraced by the union when it was instituted in 2005, promoted as a method for instructors to develop their salaries through a mix of possible rewards.
Those include perks connected to trainee achievement and tougher mentor projects, such as schools in high-poverty areas.
But the union says ProComp, one of the longest-running teacher pay schemes of its kind in the nation, has rather eroded teacher pay in a city where the expense of living has skyrocketed in the past 10 years.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday revealed assistance for the instructors’ pay demands and provided to assistance moderate the disagreement.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Extra reporting by Jann Tracey in Denver and Gina Cherelus in New York; Composing and extra reporting by Peter Szekely in New York, Abundant McKay in Atlanta and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by John Stonestreet and Clarence Fernandez)