DENVER – Asserting only the Denver Classroom Teacher Association and Denver Public Schools can mend their relationship, DCTA filed a response today with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment asking the state to stay out of contentious salary negotiations that resulted in 93% of Denver educators voting to approve a strike last week. The response urges the department not to exercise jurisdiction over this dispute, and to issue a prompt order that frees Denver teachers and special service providers to exercise their right to strike.
“Denver teachers believe state intervention in our negotiations with DPS would be futile,” said DCTA President Henry Roman. “DCTA certainly appreciates the time, resources and energy that state officials have dedicated to monitoring this labor dispute. But our officials need to fully appreciate we have studied the options for a new compensation agreement with DPS for five years, with very intense negotiations over the last 14 months. Reopening negotiations will not be productive until DPS recognizes our need for a fair, predictable salary schedule and commits to bring more funding to the public bargaining table.”
Describing the relationship between DCTA and DPS in “a state of disrepair”, the response emphasizes the parties remain too far apart on substantial issues for the CDLE or the governor to intervene and make a difference. Continuous negotiations guided by highly trained, skilled and respected mediators have not closed the expansive gaps that remain on how to best reward Denver teachers for their work and keep them in the schools that Denver students deserve.
“Clear philosophical differences with the district have prevented us from reaching an agreement. In its response to the state, DPS doubled down on its philosophy that teacher salary largely based on shifting, unpredictable bonuses and incentives is the way to go. We disagree,” explained Roman. “Our members believe a fair, reliable and transparent salary schedule with achievable standards is the only solution that will stop the massive flight of good teachers from Denver classrooms to other districts with normal salary schedules. We’re tired of trudging along in compensation experiments that are not working. We need a change now and state intervention won’t make that happen; only DPS can make that happen.”
Media may request the DCTA response submitted to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment by contacting Mike Wetzel (firstname.lastname@example.org) at CEA Communications.