Teachers for Denver Public Schools went on strike Monday, after negotiations in between the district and union broke down over the weekend in an continuous pay conflict that has lasted for 15 months.
According to school officials, representatives from the Denver Classroom Teachers Association walked out of the talks on Saturday, and won’t return to the negotiation table until Tuesday in spite of a plea from Superintendent Susana Cordova to continue working to avoid a strike.
On Monday early morning, educators formed picket lines outdoors schools throughout the city, KCNC-TV reported, and are preparation to rally outside the state Capitol at 2 p.m.
Both sides reportedly concur that the district’s 5,300 instructors are worthy of a raise in their base pay. The New York Times reported that performance-based bonus offers are at the heart of the dispute, with instructors opposing variations and variations in incentive pay.
The Times stated the average Denver instructor makes $63,400 per year, and CNN reported that lots of educators are struggling to afford Denver’s expense of living.
According to t
he Denver Post, DPS’s newest offer consisted of slashing 150 positions from its main workplace in order to totally free up $20 million, committing $55 million more to instructors’ base incomes over the next 3 years. This amount would raise base salaries by nearly 11 percent next year, and boost annual rewards for working in high-poverty schools from $2,500 to $3,000.
Union President Henry Roman discussed in a statement why the DCTA turned down the deal, saying, “Teachers were stunned when DPS proposed hiking rewards instead of putting that new loan into base pay where it might make the whole district more competitive.”
The Post reported that all of the district’s schools were open and staffed by substitutes Monday morning, while 2,100 instructors called in missing. DPS preschool classes were canceled amidst the strike, however, due to a absence of “sufficiently licensed assistance staff.”
For the previous 20 years, Denver teachers have actually been paid under a program called the “Professional Payment System for Teachers,” or ProComp, for brief.
According to NPR’s Jenny Brundin, “It lets instructors get a number of bonuses to encourage them to take things like hard-to-staff positions for math, or work in a high-poverty school. But over the years, it became actually complicated and unpredictable.”
Brundin described, “Some of the incentives would unexpectedly vanish or diminish. And teachers state that makes it actually hard to plan or even pay rent. In interviews with about 40 instructors I did, not one might inform me precisely how much they made.”
Both sides agree that the pay system needs to be streamlined.