DPS, teachers union to restart negotiations to try to avert strike

DENVER -- Negotiations will resume Thursday between Denver Public Schools and its teachers union, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

Teachers have authorized a strike as they seek better pay. But both sides are coming together to try to find common ground or risk a strike or state intervention.

Negotiations will begin at 5 p.m. at the DPS Acoma campus. District officials will share a new proposal with the union that builds on the current plan to increase the average base salary for teachers by 10 percent next year, Superintendent Susana Cordova said.

Both sides agree teachers need more money. But the union says the district's current proposal isn't enough for teachers to live and work in Denver.

After the strike vote earlier this month, Denver Public Schools asked the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to intervene.

The department has until Feb. 11 to decide if it will get involved.

"We have to really look at this fairly, impartially, and weigh all the information we're collecting and have informal conversations with both sides to determine what our next step is," spokeswoman Cher Haavind said.

The union has asked the state to stay out of the contentious negotiations. It wants to exercise its right to strike.

On Wednesday, teachers marched from the State Capitol to district headquarters, sending the message that if they don't get what they want, they'll walk off the job.

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