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Denver Public Schools, teachers union reach tentative 3-year agreement

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Posted at 9:10 AM, Sep 01, 2022

DENVER — A few hours after their contract was set to expire, Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association came to a tentative, three-year contract agreement Thursday morning.

Once finalized, the deal will increase returning teachers’ average salary by 8.7% and bring the starting salary for a DPS teacher to $50,130, according to DPS. It also includes additional district investment of $2.5 million towards employee benefits, a 45-minute duty-free lunch every day, at least 300 minutes of self-directed planning time each week for elementary educators and 345 minutes per week for teachers in secondary schools. Educators will also be paid for time spent participating in leadership committees.

"I think that first year teacher starting at 50,000 is very competitive rate in the Denver metro area, and it will retain and attract teachers to DPS, which is something we're in desperate need of. The overall 8.7% increase for that first year across the board for educators is a big salary increase, and I think can really help combat the price of inflation and cost of living in Denver that can really support our educators," said Dana Berge, an ECE teacher and member of the bargaining team.

DPS said a platform will also be established to allow for conversations to advance racial and education equity in the district.

“We, as a district, have had a problem both recruiting and retaining our BIPOC educators and our students. That's something that we want to improve upon,” DPS teacher Valerie Henderson previously told Denver7. “Addressing microaggressions that BIPOC educators are facing, and then some consistency in how our Black Excellence Plan is rolled out in our schools throughout the district needs to happen.”

Denver Public Schools, teachers union reach tentative 3-year agreement

"Our equity article that we passed is a big step towards supporting our BIPOC educators and students in the district as well," Berge said.

The agreement also includes the establishment of a committee to review and oversee ongoing improvements to DPS’ growth and performance system, which will include reviewing class size data to address concerns.

“When you have passionate educators and you have a passionate system, we can’t rush the process. A tremendous amount of credit because they conceded but also met us halfway as we did as well. I want to give DCTA a tremendous amount of credit because they conceded, but also met us halfway, as we did as well,” Marrero said immediately after the groups came to the tentative agreement. “When it came to those articles and items that mattered, i.e. compensation benefits and collaboration, no one wavered. I'm proud to say that I'm the proud superintendent of the district that rewards our teachers handsomely, whether it's compensation or benefits.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.