DENVER – The state confirmed today the accuracy of DCTA’s cost projections for a fair, competitive and transparent salary schedule for Denver teachers. The state’s memo to Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Denver Public Schools also acknowledged that a basic philosophy on how teachers and special service providers should be compensated is at the heart of the dispute. However, the state’s assertion that it was “in a better place” to find a resolution is misguided.
“Denver teachers do not want the state to intervene in a strike because state officials cannot appreciate the full measure of concerns we have with the way DPS pays its teachers and SSP’s,” said DCTA President Henry Roman. “Five years of studies and negotiations with the district have brought us to this point where teachers can only accept a real proposal that reverses our massive teacher turnover to neighboring districts. It’s useless to go back to the table, even with state intervention, if DPS only brings money IOU’s.
“Every day the state delays its decision on whether or not to intervene is another day our teachers are denied their right to strike. That is the only remaining tool at our disposal to fix the entire pay system that is hurting Denver students and driving down our competitiveness to attract and retain quality teachers,” Roman added.
Roman maintains the district needs to prioritize base pay for all teachers over incentives for some. DCTA has shown a willingness to compromise on incentives, having already agreed to three of the five types of incentives the district has proposed, but the continued over-reliance on incentives is not having the intended effect of persuading enough teachers to remain in DPS.
“The district’s own data is clear that unreliable, one-time incentives do not keep good teachers in Denver. The poor teacher retention rates across DPS tell us that all schools will soon be a challenge to fill with good teachers if DPS fails to compete with the higher base pay offered by other districts all across the metro region,” Roman said. “We believe the only way to get the district to take these issues seriously and to resolve our philosophical differences is to engage in a strike to achieve the schools our students deserve.” Gov. Polis and CDLE have until Feb. 11 to announce its intervention decision. DCTA members approved a strike by a 93% vote Jan. 22.