Published: Tue, February 12, 2019

Denver teacher strike: Thousands walk out for better pay

Denver teacher strike: Thousands walk out for better pay

After another meeting on Saturday, February 9, failed to make progress, either, DPS touted the generosity of its proposal, which "offered an additional $2 million in base pay for teachers and specialized-service providers", with funding coming "from the elimination of an estimated 150 positions in the Central Office", as well as "an increase in incentive pay for educators who teach in schools with the highest poverty rates, revisions to pay increases based on professional development and the elimination of performance bonuses for Central Office senior staff". Administrators were so overwhelmed dealing with assorted troubles at the school that they were essentially unavailable to help teachers at the classroom level, even when scenarios involving students, parents or guardians turned potentially risky.

"It is a problem for our kids not to have their teachers in class", Cordova said. The strike is estimated to leave 92,000 students over 160 public schools without their teachers for an unknown period of time, The Post reported. However, the district has canceled classes for 5,000 preschool children because it doesn't have the staff to take care of them.

Union leaders told reporters they were frustrated with failed talks over the weekend aimed at reaching a deal.

The teachers union and Denver Public Schools met Saturday in an attempt to reach a new contract after more than a year of negotiations, but both sides left disappointed. They are expected to sit down at the bargaining table again Tuesday.

The strike happened after the administration of Polis, a Democrat, decided last week not to get involved, believing the negotiating positions of administrators and teachers were not very far apart.

Denver teachers went on strike Monday after failing to reach a deal with administrators on pay.

It comes after teachers walked off the job in Arizona and West Virginia a year ago and Los Angeles teachers went on strike last month. She also threatened to report striking immigrant teachers for deportation and vowed to keep the schools open with substitutes at double pay.

"By us doing this we finally became united", he said, marching with fellow teachers, members of other unions and students.

The dispute is over the school district's incentive-based pay system.

Emotions swirled as union representatives rejected a new DPS proposal that cut central office jobs in an effort to free up more money for teacher pay. More than 30 percent of Denver teachers have been in the district for three years or less, according to DCTA. They also hope that a win on pay will help them when it comes time to negotiate other issues when their overall contract expires in two years.

The state says a walkout will cost about $400,000 a day and would eat up 1 or 2 percent of the district's annual operating budget in about a week. Denver teachers plan to strike today.

It's the latest action in a wave of teacher activism since last spring, when teachers walked off the job in West Virginia.

Chicago's 2012 teacher strike, which like Denver's reflected resistance against a certain brand of education policy as much as a bid for improved compensation, lasted seven school days.

Cordova says the district will review that plan for individual schools each day.

In encouraging both sides to come to an agreement, Gov. Jared Polis has pointed out that this money will no longer be available to help pay teachers if it is spent on the strike.

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