Denver Public Schools, teachers union battle over bonus pay

DENVER -- Just a month after thousands of teachers rallied at the Colorado Capitol for more money for public schools, pay hikes and pension protections, Denver Public Schools is still in a heated negotiation with the teachers' union about bonus pay.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association, DCTA, and DPS have already have a five-year contract for teachers' base salary. The negotiation is for ProComp, the pay-for-performance bonuses teachers receive for student test scores, teaching in low-income schools and more.

"I think there’s the momentum right now and the awareness," DCTA president Henry Roman told FOX31.

Roman and the union are fighting for the bonuses to increase.

The district is set to receive additional money next school year. It could be between $25 and $50 million depending on enrollment, free lunch numbers and more.

But DPS told FOX31 the extra money is already spent on teacher base salary raises and raises for other employees.

As for ProComp pay, the district said in a statement:

"ProComp tax revenues only increase each year by inflation, which was 3.4% this year. Other than increases for inflation, there is no new revenue from ProComp. The discussions are how can we devise a clearer, fairer system for our existing ProComp dollars that will be more predictable, provide incentives for teachers to teach in our highest poverty schools, and build more base dollars over a teacher's career."

But many teachers and the DCTA want more money now.

"If we want to recruit and retain teachers we definitely need to pay them competitively," DCTA's Roman said.

The average teacher base salary for DPS is about $50,000, according to the Colorado Department of Education. But that number increases to nearly $58,000 when the district includes ProComp.

DCTA and DPS are set to have another negotiating session for ProComp in June.

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