Dis­trict of­fer­ing ap­prox­i­mately 10 per­cent raises to teach­ers this year.

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Kirk Mitchell

Den­ver Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Su­sana Cordova said the dis­trict is of­fer­ing ap­prox­i­mately 10 per­cent raises to teach­ers this year, putting ed­u­ca­tors on a track to make as much as $100,000 an­nu­ally.

“Based on what we’re propos­ing to­day, the av­er­age teacher’s base salary will grow by roughly 10 per­cent,” Cordova said in her on­line video mes­sage re­leased late Fri­day. “That’s growth from this year to next year, not growth over mul­ti­ple years. We’ve also cre­ated a path­way to a $100,000 teacher, and that’s in our base pay.”

But Mar­garet Bobb, a re­cently re­tired DPS teacher, wrote an email to The Den­ver Post say­ing that the av­er­age teacher salary in Den­ver last year was $53,000. The 10 per­cent salary in­crease wouldn’t bring most teach­ers any­where near $100,000, ac­cord­ing to her.

“That sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t bring DPS up to par­ity with other metro dis­tricts, who get the same state fund­ing as DPS,” Bobb wrote, re­fer­ring to the 10 per­cent raise.

Cordova’s mes­sage comes af­ter two days of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween DPS and the Den­ver Class­room Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion in which ed­u­ca­tors said they are pre­pared to strike for the first time since 1994.

Al­though Cordova has vowed to keep schools open re­gard­less of a strike, she said she will work hard for a res­o­lu­tion.

“I know we can get an agree­ment,” Cordova said in her mes­sage.

Three more bar­gain­ing ses­sions are sched­uled for this week. The con­tract cov­er­ing the dis­trict’s 4,300 teach­ers ex­pires Jan. 18, and the union has sched­uled a strike vote for the fol­low­ing day if an agree­ment isn’t reached.

Ac­cord­ing to the dis­trict’s pro­posal Tues­day, DPS would add $17 mil­lion to­ward teach­ers’ pay. The union is ask­ing the dis­trict to in­vest about $30 mil­lion to­ward teach­ers’ pay.

In her mes­sage, Cordova said she and other dis­trict of­fi­cials have lis­tened care­fully to teach­ers’ con­cerns.

“We’ve heard about the im­por­tance of grow­ing the pie of fund­ing avail­able to in­vest in our teach­ers and SSPS (special ser­vice providers),” she said.

“We’ve heard clearly the im­por­tance of pre­dictabil­ity in mak­ing sure teach­ers know where they are on the salary ta­ble and how their salary will grow over time. We’ve heard about hon­or­ing teach­ers’ in­vest­ments in their education,” she said. “I’ve def­i­nitely heard frus­tra­tions about not mov­ing quick enough to get to an agree­ment. I share that sen­ti­ment, and my com­mit­ment is to do ev­ery­thing I can to reach that ne­go­ti­ated agree­ment that ev­ery­one can feel good about.”

The dis­trict is of­fer­ing to add a lane on its salary ta­ble that in­creases wages based on how much teach­ers are earn­ing, Cordova said.

In an email, sub­sti­tute teacher Nina Bar­ber wrote that she would not work if there is a teach­ers strike af­ter wit­ness­ing nu­mer­ous prob­lems at her school dur­ing the 1994 strike. She said it was chaotic. “I re­tired last year, frus­trated that I could never again in­crease my base salary no mat­ter how loy­ally I con­tin­ued to work for DPS,” Bar­ber wrote.

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