Denver teachers end strike after reaching deal

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Denver teachers have reached a deal with Denver Public Schools and are set to return to the classroom after going out on strike Monday.

“This agreement is a win, plain and simple: for our students; for our educators; and for our communities,” said Denver Classroom Teachers Association President Henry Roman in a statement Thursday.

“No longer will our students see their education disrupted because their teachers cannot afford to stay in their classrooms.”

The teachers said they wanted higher, stable salaries, because the school district uses unpredictable bonuses to compensate for low base pay.

Union representatives said a “breakthrough” came Tuesday night when the two sides were able to find some “common ground,” and eventually reached a tentative agreement that will need to be ratified by the union’s membership.

Under the agreement, teachers would see 7% to 11% increase in their base salary and a “transparent 20-step salary schedule,” the DCTA said. It would also end “exorbitant five-figure bonuses” for senior administrators.

DCTA lead negotiator Rob Gould said the new salary schedule is “a lot better” and would help to retain and recruit talented educators for the benefit of Denver’s students.

“Teachers will be able to stay in Denver, and we’ll be able to keep our experienced educators here for our students,” he told CNN.

Teachers represented by the DCTA “may return to the classroom today,” the union’s statement said, though Gould said some teachers had been up all night and would be taking an unpaid day off.

‘Many areas of agreement’

The school district said in a statement that the agreement would see an investment of $23 million in teachers’ pay.

“This is a strong investment in our teachers — in both their base salary and the equity incentives,” Superintendent Susana Cordova said. “I’m very pleased we were able to reach a deal and in the collaborative way we worked together today.”

“There was a recognition that we share many areas of agreement,” Cordova added, “and we worked hard to listen and find common ground on the few areas where we had different perspectives.”

More than 2,600 teachers spent several days standing in the cold to demand higher salaries in a bid to stop more educators from leaving the city.

About 1,400 central office staff members and 400 substitute teachers had to fill in for more than 2,600 striking teachers. Each day cost the district more than $400,000, a spokeswoman said.

Denver’s strike was just the latest in a wave of teachers strikes that spread across the country last year that has continued to gain strength.

In some, teachers got what they wanted. Other times, they didn’t. And in some states where teachers scored victories, unions say lawmakers are now retaliating with new bills.

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