Final Negotiations Scheduled for Thursday
DENVER (Aug. 30) – After an 11-hour bargaining session Monday, negotiators for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association say the school district has failed to compromise on a large number of issues still to be decided on in a new contract for teachers.
The current contract expires tomorrow, giving teachers and administrators one last opportunity to sit down together and reach consensus. The leader of Denver Public Schools was notably absent from the Monday session.
“We didn’t see Tom Boasberg at the bargaining session, and it again proved difficult to make meaningful progress in the talks without the superintendent at, or at least near, the bargaining table,” said DCTA President Henry Roman, who has attended nearly all 24 bargaining sessions held in 2017.
“We’ve seen over many months that the district bargaining team is not empowered to make decisions on our proposals, and valuable time is wasted at every meeting when their side leaves public bargaining to privately ask their district leaders for guidance,” continued Roman. “We’re out of time now. We need Superintendent Boasberg in the room tomorrow if we’re going to have any chance of agreeing to a contract by the deadline.”
Teachers are anxious to continue the school year without a contract in place, made clear at morning walk-ins held this week at East High, George Washington High and other schools across the district.
Policies supporting the whole child top the list of issues that teachers want to see resolved in a new contract. Roman said contract language proposed by DCTA will benefit all students – benefits such as including fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch, a nurse in every school, mandatory recess, sufficient instructional materials and lower caps on the number of students per classroom.
“Everything the teachers have proposed is reasonable and great for our kids. It is disheartening that the district does not seem to value or trust what the teachers have voiced as a priority to improve our schools,” said Katherine Murphy, a parent of two DPS students. “Parents and community members paying attention to bargaining are concerned that, if a contract is not reached this week or very soon, learning will be disrupted and the wellbeing of our teachers and students will be compromised well into the school year.”
The final public bargaining session for the DCTA and DPS teams is tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Acoma Building (1617 S. Acoma Street).