DPS teachers rally, march for higher pay in downtown Denver

DENVER -- Hundreds of Denver Public Schools teachers took to the steps of the Colorado State Capitol on Wednesday evening for a rally and march to demand higher pay as a potential strike still looms.

“What do we want?” “Fair pay.” “When do we want it?” “Now” teachers chanted.

When asked why she was at the rally, George Washington High School teacher Emily O'Ryan said, “So I can get a living wage and stop working a second job."

From the Capitol, teachers and their supporters marched to DPS headquarters at Lincoln Street and East 19th Avenue.

“I took a $5,000 pay cut to play team DPS, but unfortunately, my rent doubled,” said Sara Goodwin, a Park Hill Elementary teacher.

So, where do things stand with the strike? Last week, Denver Public Schools asked the state's Department of Labor to intervene. The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (the union representing DPS teachers) issued its response on Monday, asking the state to stay out of their contentious salary negotiations. They want to exercise their right to strike.

Now, the Department of Labor has a 14-day period to make a decision on whether to get involved. The deadline is Feb 11. They will deliberate and have informal conversations with both sides to gauge whether their intervention will help.

“If we decide not to get involved, the teachers may strike. And so this waiting period, if you will, of the 14 days delays the strike, number one, and also allows -- hopefully -- both sides to come back together," said Cher Haavin, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Both DPS and the DCTA will come to the bargaining table again on Thursday at 5 p.m.

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