Photo above: The DCTA and DPS Bargaining Teams in the first ProComp Bargaining Session
Your DCTA Bargaining Team and representatives from DPS met just before the Thanksgiving break for the first bargaining session to negotiate terms for a new Professional Compensation System for Teachers (ProComp). Observers of previous bargaining sessions held this year may have noted a significant difference in the proceedings, which were facilitated by Kayla Mack, a specialist with the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS).
“FMCS is a relatively small independent federal agency of the executive branch created in the 1940s,” Mack explained at the start of the session. “We do mediation, grievance mediation, employment mediation and also facilitation at the collective bargaining table and in other ways.”
The FMCS facilitation was agreed upon by both parties prior to Thursday’s session and is designed to help steer both parties to productive use of time and information through the bargaining process. As part of the facilitation, both DCTA and DPS also agreed to consider engaging Interest-based Bargaining (IBB), a negotiation process that encourages more open communication and discussion at the table. Mack spent the first part of Thursday’s session detailing the IBB process and answering questions from the teams.
“Everyone participates of (his or her) own volition and I will have no regulatory authority, no enforcement authority,” Mack said of her facilitator role. “I will remain neutral at all times and will not advocate for a party or position.”
The IBB process, Mack explained, consists of five steps:
- Define the issue or issues
- Develop interests
- Generate options through brainstorming
- Evaluate options with criteria
- Develop a solution through consensus
Following a lengthy explanation of how the IBB process works, both teams acknowledged their willingness to proceed – with the understanding that there may be some adjustments to the process along the way. At any time that Interest-based Bargaining becomes untenable to either party, Mack explained that bargaining can revert to traditional methods.
The first step in the process, identifying key issues, filled the remainder of the night’s agenda – with both teams providing input for an initial list of issues to be resolved during the bargaining process. The following is the list of issues that was generated during this discussion:
- What drives base salary growth?
- What’s the trajectory of base growth?
- Is base growth accessible to everyone? (teachers and SSPs)
- How do we recruit and retain quality teachers?
- How do we meet the requirements of the ballot language (mill levy)?
- How do we keep it simple?
- How do we keep it predictable?
- How do we recruit and retain career teachers?
- How can we honor teachers who want to stay in the classroom for the duration of their career?
- How do we close the achievement gap?
- How do we ensure our best teachers are teaching at our most highly impacted schools?
- How do we ensure the overall solvency of the trust and the general fund?
- How do we account for future population growth?
- How do we ensure that the general fund is paying for teacher salaries at the same level as their traditional schedule and ProComp is used for incentives?
- How do we fix the salary schedule?
- How do we create the $100,000 teacher?
- How do we create transparency in the system?
- How do we ensure that ProComp encourages collaboration between teachers?
- How do we ensure that the SPF does not negatively impact ProComp or LEAP?
- How do we change or eliminate top performing/high growth?
- What do we do with the other incentives?
- How do we value professional learning?
- How do we ensure that the program reflects credible research and best practices?
- How do we transition to ProComp 3.0?
- How do we limit overhead and get as much of the trust into teachers’ pocket?
- How do we ensure the best allocation of resources across the District?
- How do we continue our collaborative oversight?
Both teams will work to refine these issues in the coming two weeks, consolidating those issues that are connected and prioritizing the list to begin working on defining interests of each issue for all parties. Teams are expected to return to the table with their consolidated and prioritized lists at the next ProComp Bargaining Session scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30.
“We’re excited to move forward with this process and work to provide the professional compensation Denver teachers deserve in order to meet the needs of students,” DCTA President Henry Roman said. “Our experienced bargaining team – fresh off their great work on the Master Contract – are ready to dig in.”
The next ProComp Bargaining Session is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the 1617 S. Acoma St. in Denver.