DENVER -- Teachers walked out of a bargaining session fully prepared to strike after rejecting a new offer that the union called a "waste of time."
Denver Public Schools presented a proposal that builds on the one presented on January 18. The newest version would add $3 million for teacher compensation during the 2020-2021 school year and guarantees cost of living raises. According to the district, it would add $50 million for teacher salary increases over three years.
The lead negotiator for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association said the proposal felt more like an IOU. He reminded the district that teachers approved a strike by a 93 percent vote before asking Governor Jared Polis to respect their right to strike.
Tonight was a lost opportunity for students, parents and the community. Denver teachers are very disappointed that DPS did not take this bargaining session seriously. The district offered no new ideas for creating a fair, competitive salary schedule that will keep good teachers and special service providers in our schools. Instead, DPS offered the promise of more money in the future, but after several years of broken promises, we’re not willing to accept an I.O.U. DCTA remains committed to good-faith bargaining when DPS is ready to come back to the table with a thoughtful proposal aimed at reversing the massive teacher turnover our students suffer from year after year.
The DCTA is waiting on a decision from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment as to whether or not the state will step in during a labor dispute. A decision is expected by February 11.
Superintendent Susana Cordova told Denver7 her team will regroup and reach out again because she believes it's important to continue negotiations. She said a strike would be unfortunate and incredibly disruptive.
I am disappointed that the DCTA did not engage in the discussion or bring a counter proposal. They chose to leave at 6:45 p.m. when we were scheduled to bargain until 8 pm. We came committed to negotiating, and had anticipated we would have the opportunity to share additional ideas with DCTA about the structure of the new system. We would have been willing to provide a counter-proposal if we had seen one brought forward by the Association.