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DPS: Our Commitment to Our Teachers

DPS Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova sent the following update to our teachers this week as we prepare for a final day of contract negotiations Thursday with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. Additional information about negotiations includes:

 

Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017

Dear Teachers,

Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova, who attended Barnum as a student, returned on the first day of school this year.

Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova, who attended Barnum as a student, on the first day of school this year.

As many of you know, our contract with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) will expire at midnight tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 31, unless the parties reach agreement to renew and extend the contract. Although we are concerned about how far apart we remain on the extensive changes to the contract that the DCTA is seeking, we are fully committed to reaching agreement to renew the contract. We are entirely willing to renew and extend the language in the current contract.

Commitment to reaching a contract

We believe that we are a stronger district — and one that can better recruit and retain teachers — when DPS and DCTA are united in addressing the challenges that you, our teachers, face. Although negotiations can create tension in that relationship due to the tough nature of these conversations, we want to work closely with you to improve your experience in DPS. We are fully committed to ensuring that the rights and protections teachers currently have continue, and we believe that renewing and extending the contract is the best way to do that.

Commitment to increased compensation, improved benefits

Our compensation offer this year is the most generous in the metro area, with a 5.6% increase in our spending on teacher compensation — what equates to an average raise of $3,000 per teacher. This includes:

  • A $1,100 increase in base pay for every teacher on top of the base pay increases that you receive through ProComp or the traditional salary schedule.
  • Extension of the hard-to-serve ProComp incentive ($2,649) for all of our Title I schools. For the first time, it will also be provided to our teachers on the traditional salary schedule. This extends the incentive to another 1,200 teachers, which means that approximately 70% of our teachers will receive this incentive.

For benefits, we have proposed decreasing the cost of any medical plan that covers children by $100/month or $1,200 a year.

If our offer is accepted, it will mean that over the most recent five years, our teachers will have received an average pay increase of almost $14,000 (or nearly 27% in total compensation).

Commitment to strongest teacher supports

We will continue the strongest set of teacher supports in the metro area, including:

  • Lowest student-teacher ratio: Denver’s student-teacher ratio of 15:1 is well below that of neighboring districts.
  • Most protected time for teachers: DPS leads other districts in the most protected, non-classroom time for teachers. This includes a 45-minute duty-free lunch every day plus at least 300 minutes of self-directed planning time per week for elementary/ECE-8 teachers and 345 minutes per week for secondary teachers.
  • Greatest number of non-student contact planning days for teachers. Our proposal includes 12.5 non-student contact days while most districts have 10 days.

Commitment to the Whole Child

We agree with DCTA that support for the Whole Child is essential. For that reason, we went to our voters last year to secure $15 million annually to expand our supports. This translates into schools hiring additional nurses, counselors, social workers and others in service of their students and families. It will also help maintain our leadership in the metro area of having the lowest student-to-teacher ratio and the strongest social-emotional supports for students. However, we recognize that there is so much more that we can do in this area and we would be happy to work with DCTA and our teachers on how to strengthen our whole child supports, including more paid teacher home visits, nutritious meals and physical exercise for students, and social, emotional, physical and mental health resources.

Learn more about our commitments to teachers here.

As we work through the final days of our negotiations, thank you for your continued dedication to Denver’s kids. We hope our contract will be signed Aug. 31, and we know our work to provide the best schools for our students and supports for our staff will continue for years to come. We commit to working alongside you every step of the way.

Warm regards,
Susana