The DCTA and DPS Bargaining Teams re-grouped last Thursday night to begin the arduous process of determining key issues surrounding the creation of a new ProComp agreement – and identifying commonalities among those issues in an effort to engage Interest-based Bargaining (IBB) where appropriate.
Lead by Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service facilitator Kayla Mack, the teams first reviewed the issues each side identified as their biggest concerns in the first ProComp Bargaining Session earlier in November, working to find similarities among each side’s list and ways to merge like-focused issues.
The DCTA team quickly recognized its top issue of implementing a salary schedule, with step and lane movement, acknowledging that teachers and SSPs are challenged to plan their careers or their lives due to an inability to easily know where they stand financially at any given time.
“Teachers have real difficulty identifying where they are on the salary schedule and how they can find out what they’ll be making in two, three or five years,” said DCTA Bargaining Team member Rob Gould. “There’s a lot of moving parts.”
The DPS team’s top issues were similar in that they focused on base salary and its trajectory.
“One of our first questions was ‘what drives base growth’ since I think we talked about how our biggest concern is how do we look at base growth and second, ‘what is the trajectory for that base growth,’” said DPS team member Michelle Berge.
Thus, in probably one of the easiest agreements the teams will ever reach, the first issue was determined to be: “Can we have a salary schedule – and what would it look like?”
In the IBB process, once an issue is identified the next step is for teams to work together to identify the interests that create the compelling needs for the issue on each side (and again, find common ground among those sometimes competing interests). With the help of the facilitator, both teams spent time together identifying the interests for each party that fall under the first issue (e.g., “predictability,” “fairness,” “logical,” etc.). However, during this process one interest (“being connected to the ballot language”) threw a wrench into the proceedings.
It was felt on both sides that the requirement of meeting the ballot language was a much broader matter than merely being an interest under one issue. Following a brief caucus, both teams agreed to elevate the requirement of meeting ballot language to an issue-level topic – and determined that identifying ALL issues should be the top priority before diving deeper into each individual issue.
After lengthy conversations – and at least one more quick caucus – a final list of all issues to be reviewed was agreed upon:
- Can we have a salary schedule – and what would it look like?
- How do we meet the requirement of “teaching and hard-to-staff schools”?
- How do we meet the requirement of “teaching and hard-to-fill positions”?
- How do we meet the requirement of “increasing teaching knowledge and teaching skills by successfully completing ProComp-approved advanced degrees, professional teaching standards licenses and additional training”?
- How do we meet the requirement of “positive evaluation of teaching performance”?
- How do we meet the requirements of “meeting or exceeding objectives for student learning”?
- How do we meet the requirements of “achieving distinguished school status”?
- How do we transition to ProComp 3.0 and continue and strengthen our collaborative oversight?
The remainder of the night focused on an informal discussion of issues 2 and 3, in an effort to identify the key interests under each issue – and fully understand the meaning and intent behind the ballot language. In the next Bargaining Session, discussion will pick up at this point to run through each of the issues outlined above.
The next ProComp Bargaining Session is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 7 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1617 S. Acoma St. in Denver.