DPS preparing for potential teacher strike

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DENVER, -- FOX31 has new information on how the Denver Public School District will respond in the event of a teacher strike.

DPS said they will pay substitute teachers more than double the normal rate, to keep schools open. Typically, a substitute will make $106 dollars a day, but with a strike, the district will offer substitutes $212 a day and $250 for retired teachers.

Tuesday night is the final night for Denver Public School teachers to cast their vote on whether they want to strike for the first time in 25 years, all in the name of fair wages.

Late Friday night, the union rejected the districts offer after weeks of bargaining over pay structure. In the event of a strike, a spokesperson with DPS said, “our schools will continue to operate on their normal schedules. Transportation, food service, and after-school care (discovery link) will continue to operate.”

“We have a strong group of substitutes who work with us on a regular basis,” Superintendent, Susana Cordova said.

DPS has 1200 substitute teachers in their active pool, 300 are retired teachers. The district is now recruiting furloughed federal workers as potential subs and are attending furloughed worker fairs.

DPS said they will prioritize students with special needs in the deployment of alternative staffing arrangements. They said they will utilize central office administrators, many of whom are veteran teachers and specialized service providers.

The district plans to provide orientation and training to all substitute teachers. They will have lesson plans that are both grade and subject-specific for substitute teachers to use with students.

FOX31 asked how the district will replace school nurses in the event of a strike? DPS said there are 100 nurses in the schools who could possibly strike. “We will reach out to contract agencies we’ve worked with before to hire nurses and move people from our central office with a nursing license out into the schools.”

In order to become a DPS substitute, you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, you need to apply for a license with the Colorado Department of Education and once you clear that hiring process – guest teachers need to work a minimum of five assignments a month, with exceptions.

DPS said among the most important steps parents can take to prepare for a strike is to ensure that all emergency contact information for your child is up to date in the Parent Portal. Also make sure all info about your child’s medications are current.

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