DPS teacher breaks down salary, explains strike

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DENVER — She’s your typical teacher, loves her job, loves her kids, And all she’s looking for is a little financial equity.

The temps are down. The signs are up. And teachers are out.

Voices heard, not by students, but by the community at large.

That’s why Denver public schools high school teacher Katie Williamson is here, “I know it’s cliché to say that everybody goes into education for the kids, but it genuinely is for the kids.“

Williamson teaches special education at John F. Kennedy high school in southwest Denver, but the lesson she wants you to know, is simple economics, ”At the end of the day when that two weeks is up, before I get my next paycheck, I’m still like, ‘Cool, I have eight dollars left in my bank account’.”

On paper, says Williamson, her salary looks good. On paper it says 50-thousand dollars but I bring home 36.” That’s thirty six thousand dollars, net income, In Denver, that’s not a lot,” she adds.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • $1100 rent
  • $600 car and insurance
  • $600 student loans
  • $400 food and misc
  • $160 internet and cell

Add in credit card debt, and yeah, that’s about eight bucks a month left, “If it’s, like, $100, I’m like ‘I’m rich!”

Williamson is critical of Denver Public schools administrative positions and pay, saying that a lot of people there make a lot of money. “They get to make upwards of six figures and then they get these bonuses on top of their six figures. I really don’t understand what they get, I don’t know what they get the bonuses for. But I know we don’t get bonuses.“

Denver Public Schools has already offered to trim some administrative jobs, up to 100 positions, ”It’s very top-heavy down there and that’s where a lot of our money is getting sucked to.“

The last thing Williamson says she wants to do is not teach, but says it’s very important to support her fellow teachers.

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