The DCTA bargaining team negotiated with the district for three days last week. Conversations were centered around evaluations, educator voice, class sizes, caseloads, workloads, compensation and grievance procedure. Some contract articles were discussed through the interest based bargaining process however, our team determined that a traditional approach to bargaining is needed moving forward. This is mostly due to the DPS bargaining team’s positional nature.
We have made progress throughout negotiations, especially around LEAP evaluations and equity. There are also several challenges that we need to continue working through. Unfortunately, many of the district’s current proposals fall short of meeting students and educators’ immediate needs.
Here are some of the proposals we will continue to address and work through during tomorrow’s bargaining session:
- We are proposing a A $55,000 starting educator salary with a 12% COLA with step and lane increases. DPS countered this with a 3.5% COLA plus step and lane increases.
- We are additionally requesting that the district provide educators with salary step and lane increases that we have both agreed on. The bargaining team reminded the district of the challenges we are experiencing with overall rising costs.
- Adopting Educational Sign Language Interpreters, all Career and Technical Educators and Associate Teachers under the DCTA salary schedule. These individuals are often paid less than Teachers and SSPs.
- We want to ensure that educators continue to have access to extra duty compensation, especially as we continue to utilize contingency plans due to understaffing. Extra duty compensation should be paid at the average hourly educator rate, which is $50 per hour. The district continues to try and limit our access to extra duty compensation.
- We are asking to set goals to reduce class size and caseload caps.
- Class size caps of 20-24 students for K-3, 20-25 students for 4th and 5th grade, 20-25 students for middle school, 25 students for high school and 25 students for core class teachers. We are hopeful that DPS will commit to our class size cap proposal given that they are currently publicizing a 1:14 average class size in their recruiting efforts.
- Currently, there are no caseload caps for SSPs or special education teachers,
- We are asking for increased minutes for educators’ uninterrupted planning time. DPS wants to reduce the minimums of self-directed planning time minutes that educators are currently contractually obligated to. This has a significant impact on non-core subjects like art, physical education and music.
- We believe that open positions within newly consolidated schools should be guaranteed positions for the employees of the identified schools for consolidation. This is in alignment with community members who gave their recommendations on school consolidation criteria to the school board. However, the district would like to treat consolidated schools as school closures.
- We proposed doubling our benefit credit. DPS wants to remove the benefit credit for those who opt out of district health insurance (this affects 1,100 educators).
Our contract expires on August 31st. Please be aware that we are scheduled to bargain on the 31st; however, the location has changed. Please join us for our final bargaining session from 9 AM – midnight on August 31st on the 14th floor of the DPS Emily Griffith Campus (1860 Lincoln Street).
During this time we will engage in traditional bargaining and tackle several portions of the contract. We are expected to have many conversations including conversations around workload, class size, caseloads, benefits, school consolidations, benefits, COLA, compensation and salary schedule placement.