Why We Walked Away

Dear Denver teachers, SSPs, parents, students, and community,

 

Last Thursday, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) Bargaining Team met with the District in one last effort to get to a deal and to avert a strike. Our priorities have consistently remained the same:  to bargain a fair, competitive, and transparent salary schedule so that educators can afford to live in the communities we serve and so our students can have educators that stay in the district for the entirety of their careers.

 

 We hoped that after a 93% strike vote and a rally and march that included over 1,000 of you, the District would finally take Denver educators seriously. We thought that they would bring a proposal that honored our priorities and keep teachers and kids in classrooms. Instead, they chose to promote the model that was overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of educators in Denver. Instead they decided that the voice of their educators was not important to them.

Our primary concerns with the district’s proposal are:

  1. It does not adequately fund the first year of the contract and does not allow for incremental increases to the salary schedule.
  2. Their “Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) minus the cost of steps and lanes” provision effectively undermines the salary schedule. Under the district proposal no matter how hard educators work, or how much continued education we pursue, the only increase we actually receive is the COLA increase and with rising insurance premiums and other costs, it isn’t even a full COLA increase. So, our buying power remains the same and we never get ahead. In the event of an economic slowdown, the COLA might be less than the steps and lanes cost, meaning that educators might actually have a salary freeze that year or worse, actually lose money.
  3. Finally, by offering less than the full COLA amount, our schedule becomes less competitive, because other districts use the full COLA to adjust their schedule. Ultimately, this does nothing to address the turnover crisis we have now, which negatively impacts our students.  

The district continues to emphasize their priority of keeping more money in bonuses for teachers who work in hard to serve schools. Our proposal includes bonuses for those hard to serve schools, but we know that putting more money into base pay is what will attract and retain high quality educators, which is what our students deserve.

 

  We know the district has the ability to adequately fund a salary schedule and to agree to the structure that we have proposed. Unfortunately, they have failed to demonstrate a willingness to do so, which is why we must now strike for our students, our schools and our profession. 

 

 Henry Roman, President

Denver Classroom Teachers Association