After another marathon bargaining session between the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and DPS on Friday at the Acoma Campus, teachers and SSPs rejected vehemently the proposal DPS made in the last hour of the session, moving them another step closer to a strike.
Once again, the teams met publicly to resolve the long-standing issue of low, uncompetitive pay in Denver and the resulting high educator turnover. After a largely unproductive morning, DPS presented a counter proposal to a roomful of community members, students, teachers, and SSPs. In their proposal, DPS added the possibility of a lane change for educators with an MA and 30 additional credits and took out the concurrent enrollment lane change. Additionally, DPS added a lane for educators with a PhD, which is only about 200 educators in the entire district. Finally, they proposed that the next agreement would expire on May 31st in 5 years. This move was seen by the DCTA Bargaining Team as tactic by the district to prevent future strikes as May 31 is only a few days before the summer break typically begins in DPS.
In the DCTA bargaining team’s response, members expressed that they are glad the district committed additional money to educator compensation (the district claims $6 million more, but our team has yet to verify that number), but expressed that it is not enough to raise educator compensation to a professional wage. Also, the structure must include lane movement for blocks of credits/professional development units, like almost every other district does. If it does not include these aspects, teachers and SSPs will continue to leave DPS in favor of other districts or careers.
Under the current DPS proposal, lane movement continues the confusion of the current system, and for a large number of educators, makes lane movement extremely limited. Despite DCTA’s insistence that continued education can look different for different educators and should be rewarded with lane movement for of credit or professional development units, DPS has refused to add them. Does the District think that they do not matter? Nearly every other Colorado district would disagree.
Educators resoundingly stated that they want to see a salary schedule which looks like every other district, and anything short of that goal causes skepticism and doesn’t solve the teacher retention crisis in DPS.
Frustrated with the lack of progress, Roman asked the DPS team if the proposal was their “last, best, and final offer?”
Susana’s response? “I don’t think there’s any way we’d be able to come up with additional money beyond what we’ve put in.”
Only three sessions remain before the expiration of the compensation system, called ProComp. Union members and leadership have committed to taking a strike vote on January 19th if agreement isn’t reached by the expiration date. Come to public bargaining at 1617 S. Acoma St. on January 15th, 17th, and 18th starting at 9am and continuing until at least 5pm for the final resolution of this and other outstanding concerns.