Bargaining Update: DCTA Works to Pull DPS Into the 21st Century
Monday, April 3, 2017, 5pm
North High School
Sandoval Lecture Hall (B243), 2nd Floor
The DCTA Bargaining Team laid out a series of contract proposals to DPS representatives last night (April 3) that if enacted would effectively elevate DPS working conditions to meet contemporary workplace standards. The wide-ranging series of measures touched upon a number of teacher concerns all focused on meeting the critical needs of students throughout the district.
The proposals were presented as part of ongoing public negotiations between DCTA and the district, held at North High School since January. During the session DCTA had proposed changes to 18 contract articles while DPS presented changes to 12 articles. Teacher compensation, benefits, workload, classroom resources and class size were addressed as key factors to improving educational opportunities in DPS.
“We need to do something about class size. It’s out of control,” Rob Gould, of the DCTA Bargaining Team, said during a discussion on Article 8. “My wife has 32 and 30 in two different classrooms. We need to reign this in and have some parameters.”
“The English department at Thomas Jefferson lost a full teacher last year,” DCTA Vice President Lynn Valencia-Hernandez said. “Because of that my class sizes went to 41 in one class and 39 in the other. We’re talking about 16 year old students. Put their big bodies into little desks and then try fitting everyone in a class.”
District representatives agreed that class size is a serious issue, but provided little (if any) signs that DCTA’s concerns would be addressed. In addition to a proposal limiting class sizes to 20, the Bargaining Team pushed for the following contract reforms:
• $50,000 starting salary
• 12 weeks paid maternity/paternity/adoption leave
• All sick leave available at beginning of year
• Ensure all classes are provided sufficient materials and equipment to serve students
• Ensure DCTA representation for teachers facing complaints
• Caseload caps for special education teachers
• Contractual caseload sizes for SSPs
• A true non-probationary status for SSPs
• A “Whole Child” Article to provide students with wrap around services
Attendance at Monday’s session was substantial, particularly in light of the session falling on district teachers’ return from spring break. However, increased pressure will be necessary to ensure that district representatives are compelled to listen to and adopt DCTA’s reasonable, student-focused proposals. Unfortunately, DPS leadership did not attend the session, continuing the district’s history (except for the March 20th session) of providing not a single decision-making leader or board member to listen to teacher concerns.
“We need every teacher in the district to stand up and tell the district what they need to create the schools Denver students deserve,” said DCTA President Henry Roman. “Our schools will never be the educational institutions they must be if we don’t all come together to demand that the district hear the needs of students.”