DPS and Teachers Union Unable to Reach Agreement

Jan. 19, 2019
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Denver – Denver Public Schools and its teachers union, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, were unable to reach agreement on teacher pay Friday night, setting the stage for what could be the district’s first strike in 25 years.

The district made numerous attempts to meet union demands, including pouring $26.5 million more into teacher pay and offering an average 10% raise for teachers next school year. Tonight, after DPS provided a counter proposal to the union, the union bargaining team ended negotiations with over an hour of time left on the clock until the agreement expired.

“As a lifelong DPS student and educator, I know that our teachers have outsized impact on our students,” said Superintendent Susana Cordova. “That is why we proposed one of the most competitive compensation systems in the state. We agree with our teachers that this is not enough and we will continue to fight to address the inadequate funding of our education system in Colorado.”

“We came to the table to bargain in good faith and offered proposal after proposal – adding $26.5 million and responded to structural concerns – in an attempt to reach an agreement,” Cordova said. “During this time, they made little concession in their demands, reducing their overall request by $2.6 million.”

Highlights of the district’s latest offer include:

  • Average 10% increase in teacher pay for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Additional $26.5 million in total teacher compensation.
  • Average starting salary of $48,000 with one incentive (which 72% of teachers receive), the highest starting salary in the region and a minimum of $45,500 with no incentives- second highest after Boulder.
  • Over 70% of DPS teachers with a Bachelors or a Masters would have the highest lifetime earning potential of any of their peers in the metro area.
  • No caps on salaries for all teachers and continuous growth in pay over 30 years.
  • Commits to attracting and retaining teachers in our highest-poverty schools and hardest-to-fill positions with incentives of $2,500 to $7,500. More than 70% of DPS teachers would earn at least one $2,500 incentive.
  • Promotes retention in Denver schools with a salary increase of at least $3,500 after ten years of serving Denver kids. At the union’s request, the district also restructured their proposed salary schedule, adding more ways for teachers to earn money based on college credits.

“We want and need our teachers in our classrooms,” Cordova said. “We hope the union will continue negotiations so we can reach an agreement that shows how much we value our educators.”

Union leaders have scheduled a strike vote over two days, beginning Saturday, Jan. 19. The second voting session is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22. If union members vote to strike, the first possible day would be Jan. 28.

Cordova said the district is committed to keeping schools open and operating on normal schedules during a strike to prevent disruption to the more than 90,000 students and families DPS serves.

“We encourage our teachers to look at our latest proposal and compare it to what is being offered in our neighboring districts,” Cordova urged. “We believe the compensation we’re offering, at all stages of a teacher’s career and in lifetime earnings, is among the best in Colorado.”

To see the district’s latest proposal and comparisons to other districts, please visit