Denver Denver  teachers  win  pay  trek  in ‘historic’  deal  to  end  strike

Denver Denver teachers win pay trek in ‘historic’ deal to end strike

By Anne Rowe for DPS board, March 15, 2019

Denver Striking Denver public school instructors might be headed back to classrooms Thursday after reaching a “historic” offer with the school district to increase their pay. The Denver Class Teachers Association declared its three-day strike over and members are set to vote on whether to ratify the deal reached about 6 a.m. on Thursday with the Denver Public School District. “This agreement is a win, plain and simple: for our students; for our teachers; and for our communities,” union president Henry Roman, an primary school teacher, said in a statement. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images South High School ninth grade instructor Tessa Zatorski, left, chants while picketing exterior South High School, Feb. 11, 2019 in Denver. The tentative offer invests an extra $23 million in teacher pay, enhancing the base wages of Denver’s more than 5,600 educators by an average of 11.7 percent next year and providing cost of living increases in years two and three of the agreement, according to a declaration on the Denver Public School District site. The contract likewise reforms the general pay system for instructors to make it less trustworthy on pay-for-performance benefits, which the union had called cumbersome and undependable. The offer produces a “20-step” wage schedule that will award teachers with greater pay for participating in professional development. The agreement also reforms the so-called “ProComp” system for instructors who work in the highest-poverty schools and in hard-to-fill position by supplying rewards of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. David Zalubowski/AP Educators bring placards as they walk a picket line outside South High School, Feb. 11, 2019, in Denver. Details of the arrangement are expected to be published on the Denver Class Teachers Association website later on Thursday. “Teachers are anticipated to return to work in order to get pay today,” the school district’s statement checks out. The agreement should be validated by the entire union subscription and authorized by the Denver Board of Education. “We’re extremely happy to have reached this agreement that supplies our educators with a fair, transparent, and highly competitive salary system,” the school district’s statement reads. The agreement not just ends the first teachers’ strike in Denver in 25 years — it concludes 15 months of often acrimonious settlements. Both sides of the labor settlements hope the arrangement will be enough to keep instructors from going to surrounding school districts to get a hike in pay. Throughout the strike, union authorities stated the district had a teacher-turnover rate of more than 20 percent a year due to teachers moving to other school districts to get a pay increase. Roman said the deal “provides stability for students who, for the past ten years, have had their education disrupted by a payment schedule that drove their teachers away from the district.” Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association, praised teachers for “being brave and strong and for standing up for Denver students and our occupation” in a declaration. “They have led the method for our whole state by bringing to the leading edge our students’ requirement for certified, committed, and caring teachers that can pay for to stay in the classroom and live in the communities where they teach,” Baca-Oehlert’s declaration reads.