Denver Public Schools is not abiding by contract for raises, teachers union alleges

Denver teachers union says district is not abiding by contract for pay raises; district says union has a different interpretation of contract
Posted at 10:29 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 12:10:36-04

DENVER — The sidewalk outside of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday was filled with teachers in red shirts who allege the district is not upholding its end of a financial agreement from 2022.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) claims teachers will not receive the pay raises they anticipated next school year due to the alleged actions.

“It's just more money that I could be making that's just being left on the table because of the decisions that they make," said Joseph Karwin, an English teacher. “[The raise] was definitely going to be higher than what it's going to be.”

Karwin and his fellow teachers spoke during the public comment portion of the DPS school board meeting after the rally.

“A lot of teachers don't feel like they're respected, and that's reflected in compensation and the way they're treated," said Karwin. “The big thing right now is just making sure somebody hears us.”

Moira Casados Cassidy, vice president of DCTA, said the district made a promise that must be kept.

“DPS will lose teachers, absolutely. I mean, I've watched that happen every single year at DPS, that my co-workers go to other states, go to other districts, go to other fields," said Casados Cassidy. “This is a tiny portion of their budget and we're fighting over it.”

Those with DPS said the process must go through a dispute resolution, not the school board since DCTA filed a grievance. In a follow-up statement, DPS claimed the union has a different interpretation of the contract than the district.

Denver Public Schools has great respect and admiration for every member of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA). Denver Public Schools is following the August 2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) language that aligns teacher pay to increases in state funding for K-12 education. DCTA is disputing the interpretation of the agreement.

While funding has increased, specific triggers within the CBA were not met. The CBA states that when these triggers aren’t met, DCTA members will receive the next pay scale step and lane plus a cost of living adjustment (COLA), not to exceed the COLA total which is 5.2%. DCTA members will also receive a one-time payment of $1,000.

Over the last two negotiated agreements between DCTA and Denver Public Schools, their membership has seen salaries increase by 47.29%. That is higher than the Consumer Price Index (25.52%) and higher than Per Pupil Revenue increases (39.35%). The average salary of a DCTA member was $57,283 in the 2018-19 school year. Next year’s average salary is expected to be $84,375.

DPS will follow the dispute resolution process outlined within the CBA to resolve this disagreement.

The District will continue to honor the negotiated agreement.
Bill Good, DPS Spokesperson

Collinus Newsome, the sister of Wayne Mason, one of the deans who was shot at East High School last year, spoke during Monday's board meeting. She told Denver7 she was upset by the DCTA protest.

“When I walk this way and I see them all out here, I'm furious. Where was that energy when East High School was getting shot up?” asked Newsome.

Newsome believes there should be similar energy directed at school safety initiatives.

DPS and DCTA will renegotiate the contract in 2025. The school district said pay raises outlined in the current contract will take effect this July.

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