DENVER — The clock continues to wind down on the current contract between Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.
A strike could be in the future if the two sides do not come to an agreement by midnight Friday, when the contract ends.
The negotiation room was packed Friday, but for most of the day, the bargaining table was empty. The DPS team worked in private trying to finalize its last proposal to the union.
“I still remain optimistic,” DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova said.
“On this final day, we’re hopeful. But at the same time, our teachers — they’re ready to go. They’re done,” said DCTA negotiator Robert Gould.
The DCTA has a long list of things it wants, including salary increases and incentives for training. DPS had previously offered a 10-percent increase to base salaries, but the union said the offer did not go far enough.
The school district is offering $26.5 million, $8-$9 million below what DCTA is asking for.
“It gets us closer than where we thought we were,” Cordova said. “I wish it were more. We are simply at the end of our limit in terms of what we’re going to be able to invest in our current circumstances.”
If there’s no new agreement, teachers will vote to strike. The strike vote will be held both Saturday and Tuesday.
“No teacher wants a strike. No teacher wants to go out and be away from their kids. Teachers don’t want to be away from their classrooms, but at the same time, the fleecing of Denver, the fleecing of the administration has to stop,” Gould said.