The session started out with some tension and a tentative agreement. The discussions opened up with the two teams discussing the District’s last proposal which would add between $400,000 and $600,000 into educator compensation. DCTA Chief Spokesperson Rob Gould responded by saying that the District needed to get more serious about paying educators in order to avoid a strike. $100 per teacher is just not enough. The District was then presented with two options on the Hard-to-Staff incentive. The first was to pay educators who qualify for this incentive $2,800 per year, again matching the amount proposed by the District, or the $2,500 per year originally proposed by the Association. The District signed the tentative agreement for $2,500, vowing to put the money saved from their proposal into base salary. You can read the tentative agreement by clicking here
Ron Cabrera, DPS Interim Superintendent announced that Susana Cordova will most likely be the next superintendent of DPS schools and read a short statement from Cordova, saying she knows educators are critically important to the work of the schools and that she cares about increasing teacher pay.
The District then revealed their latest proposal. The DPS proposal came, once again, without actual dollar amounts in the salary table, although it claimed to have $11 million added to base pay. The DCTA bargaining team spent several minutes asking specific questions about the proposal but mostly got back fuzzy, unclear explanations of where the money was coming from and how much it really was from Chief Financial Officer, Mark Ferrandino. But by the end of the session, the numbers didn’t quite add up. The DCTA bargaining team and most of the members in attendance weren’t sure if the offer on the table was real, nor if the prioritization of spending was supported by any data. Our team has asked for additional details and numbers, and Ron Cabrera vowed to provide them by the end of the week.
A continuing point of contention is the District’s insisting on making LEAP performance a category on the salary table. In the District’s proposal, teachers earning 4 years of distinguished ratings would move a lane on the salary table. Under questioning from the DCTA bargaining team and members of the audience, the District admitted that only about 300 teachers earn distinguished ratings in any given year with multiple years being quite a bit less common. The DCTA bargaining team has stated several times that they will not agree to a deal that includes lane movement that is tied to evaluations.
For now, our members remain rightfully suspicious and cautiously optimistic about the movement we may have seen from DPS last night. Perhaps in their desire to avoid a strike, DPS has decided to take teachers and SSPs more seriously. Come to bargaining on December 12th starting at 5 pm and support your bargaining team’s efforts at winning fair compensation for all Denver educators.