DENVER – Another day of negotiations have wrapped up between the state’s largest school district and its teacher’s union. The two parties now have three days left to reach an agreement to avoid a strike.
Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association appeared gridlocked for a portion of the morning. The district then met in caucus for a closed door meeting.
“The reckoning has come,” One DCTA union member said.
It was a heated debate at times, with both sides of the table expressing their proposed structures.
“We need the structure to be our structure, then we can move forward,” Denver Classroom Teachers Association’s lead negotiator, Robert Gould said.
“We are all in to get there but struggling with how to move forward when the structure we’ve seen from you has not changed,” One DPS member said.
As part of the proposal, DPS said they will make significant cuts to their central administration and put $23 million dollars toward teacher pay, which translates to a ten percent base salary increase for educators. But local teachers said that won’t make enough of a difference to combat the cost of living in Denver.
“I’ve had to sleep on friends’ couches. I rely on my parents greatly as a mid-30 year-old, professional with a master’s degree,” teacher, Dana Berge said.
The teacher’s union is now leveraging for $30 million dollars and incentives for teachers while they pursue higher education.
“Higher educated teachers means better education for our students, and we just don’t see that reflected in the DPS proposal,” Berge said.
The DCTA organized a survey by a Boulder research group. https://kdvr.com/2019/01/15/dps-teachers-union-to-resume-negotiations-to-try-to-avoid-strike/ Harstad Strategic Research polled 600 people and found 60 percent would support a teacher’s strike. Meanwhile DPS said they want to reach an agreement but said the union won’t budge on their demands.
“The union, their proposals have actually gotten more expensive, so it’s gotten harder to get to a place where we’re in agreement, if we’re not both making adjustments,” DPS Superintendent, Susana Cordova said.
There are two more full days reserved for negotiations taking place on Thursday and Friday, before the current contract expires.