By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) – Thousands of Denver public school teachers walked picket lines for a second day on Tuesday, interrupting classes for some 92,000 trainees as union and school district authorities resumed contract talks that broke down over the weekend.
In the most current in a series of strikes to hit U.S. public school systems around the nation, the 5,650-member Denver Class Educators Association is seeking greater pay with a wage structure focused less on efficiency perks and more on cost-of-living increases.
The Denver labour dispute follows statewide teacher walkouts last year in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona, and a six-day strike in Los Angeles settled last month with a deal to lower 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 2 sides returned to the bargaining table late on Tuesday morning.
Outside Columbian Elementary school, a lots teachers picketed, including early youth education specialist Traci McKeehan, 48, who said she was confident a offer would be reached with a more predictable pay structure. The union states the existing system has led to large private wage variations from year to year, leading to greater rates of teacher turnover.
“In Denver, we’re losing teachers left and right,” said McKeehan, who was holding a indication that check out, “We’d rather be teaching.”
The Denver Public Schools district has said its most current proposal would raise instructors’ pay by almost 11 percent next year, while the union has called that figure pumped up.
On Monday, Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova informed reporters that the district has currently met numerous of the instructors’ demands for streamlining their complicated pay structure.
“We’ve made really substantial modifications already,” Cordova stated. “Many of the things I think that we hear our teachers grumble about, really aren’t about the proposition that we’ve put on the table, it’s about the existing system. And lots of of those things I agree with as well.”
District authorities vowed to keep all 207 schools open through the strike, staffed by alternative instructors and administration personnel. But on Tuesday the district said it cancelled pre-kindergarten classes.
The so-called ProComp pay system at the crux of the strike was initially welcomed by the union when it was instituted in 2005, promoted as a way of making it possible for teachers to develop their incomes through a mix of possible rewards. Those consist of rewards tied to student achievement and tougher teaching tasks, such as schools in high-poverty locations.
But the union states ProComp, one of the longest-running instructor pay schemes of its kind in the country, has instead worn down instructor pay in a city where the expense of living has skyrocketed in the past 10 years.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday revealed support for the teachers’ pay needs and provided to assistance moderate the conflict.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Extra reporting by Jann Tracey in Denver and Gina Cherelus in New York; Writing and extra reporting by Peter Szekely in New York, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Modifying by John Stonestreet and Matthew Lewis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost personnel and is created by auto-feed.
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