Den­ver teach­ers to strike af­ter con­tract talks fail

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nation&world - By Thomas Peipert

DEN­VER — Den­ver teach­ers are plan­ning to strike Mon­day for the first time in 25 years af­ter failed ne­go­ti­a­tions with the school dis­trict over base pay.

The teach­ers union and Den­ver Pub­lic Schools met Sat­ur­day in an at­tempt to reach a new con­tract af­ter more than a year of ne­go­ti­a­tions, but both sides left dis­ap­pointed.

The Den­ver Class­room Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion re­leased a state­ment af­ter the meet­ing say­ing the dis­trict’s pro­posal lacks trans­parency and “pushes for failed in­cen­tives for some over mean­ing­ful base salary for all.”

“We will strike Mon­day for our stu­dents and for our pro­fes­sion, and per­haps then DPS will get the mes­sage and re­turn to the bar­gain­ing table with a se­ri­ous pro­posal aimed at solv­ing the teacher turnover cri­sis in Den­ver,” said Henry Ro­man, pres­i­dent of the teach­ers union that rep­re­sents about 5,600 ed­u­ca­tors in 207 schools.

Mean­while, Su­per­in­ten­dent Su­sana Cor­dova said she was “ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed” that the union walked away from the table in­stead of con­tin­u­ing to work toward an agree­ment.

“We pre­sented an up­dated pro­posal that re­sponds to what we heard from our teach­ers, aligns to our val­ues of eq­uity and re­ten­tion ... and sig­nif­i­cantly in­creases the base pay for all of our ed­u­ca­tors,” Cor­dova said.

Teach­ers plan to picket around the city be­gin­ning Mon­day as the dis­trict of about 90,000 stu­dents tries to keep schools open by staffing them with ad­min­is­tra­tors and sub­sti­tutes.

The two sides dis­agree about pay in­creases and bonuses for teach­ers in high-poverty schools and other schools that the dis­trict con­sid­ers a pri­or­ity. Teach­ers want lower bonuses to free up money for bet­ter over­all salaries, while ad­min­is­tra­tors say the bonuses are nec­es­sary to boost the aca­demic per­for­mance of poor and mi­nor­ity stu­dents.

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