Bonuses remain large issue as DPS strike date nears

DENVER -- Teachers have made it clear that they don't agree with the bonuses given to Denver Public Schools administrators and central office staff. They've said it repeatedly: the $4 million used as bonus money could go toward increasing teacher base pay.

The topic of bonuses is one of many discussed during failed negotiations between DPS and the teachers union about teacher pay. On Wednesday, DPS requested the state's Department of Labor to intervene.

After looking at the numbers, one will find an elementary school principal who started in that role in 2013 makes over $100,000 and got a $31,500 bonus in 2018.

How the district gets to that number needs a little explanation. A full description of the system is listed on the district's website.

The Problem Solvers showed the numbers to a retired administrator from Jefferson County. That district is on a different pay scale.

“These guys are well compensated, so they’re making comparable to what we got in Jeffco, probably more before the bonus," Griff Wirth said.

Wirth says he sees the needs for bonuses, but also says there should not be such a big gap between administrators and classroom teachers.

He says with the way legislators have crafted the state budget, it's hard for anyone to get exactly what they deserve.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that superintendents and boards would like to offer packages that keep everybody happy, but we have a system [that] is shorted funding by the legislators," Wirth said.

Teachers also get bonuses based on a number of factors. Those can be found online.

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