All DPS schools are open and operating on normal schedules. Learn more at teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

Todas las escuelas de DPS están abiertas y operando en horario normal. Obtenga más información en teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

جميع مدارس دنفر العامة DPS مفتوحة وتعمل وفقًا للجداول الزمنية المعتادة. اطلع على المزيد عبر الرابط الإلكتروني. teacherstrike.dpsk12.org

Tất cả các trường của DPS đều mở cửa hoạt động theo lịch thường lệ. Tìm hiểu thêm tại teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

Dhammaan dugsiyada DPS waxay furan yihiin oo ku shaqeeyaan jadwaladii caadiga ah. Wax badan ka ogow halkan teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

ሁሉም የDPS ት/ቤቶች ክፍት እና በመደበኛ የጊዜ-ሰሌዳዎቻቸው መሠረት የሚሠሩ ይሆናሉ። ተጨማሪ መረጃ ከ ያግኙ። teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

सबै डिपिएस स्कूलहरू खुला छन् र सामान्य समय-तालिकामा चलेका छन् । धेरै जानकारी मा पाउनुहोस् । teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

Все школы DPS открыты и работают по обычному графику. Дополнительная информация на сайте: teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

ဒင္းဗားအစိုးရေက်ာင္းမ်ားအားလံုးကို ဖြင့္ထားၿပီး ပံုမွန္အခ်ိန္ဇယားအတိုင္း လည္ပတ္ေနပါသည္။ ပိုမိုသိရွိလိုပါက တြင္ ဝင္ေရာက္ၾကည့္ရႈပါ။ teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

Toutes les écoles DPS sont ouvertes et fonctionnent suivant leurs horaires normaux. Pour en savoir plus, rendez-vous sur teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.

Contacts: Community - 720-423-3054 |
Employees - 720-423-3900 |
Media - 720-448-3751 |
Safe2Tell - 1-877-542-7233

Valuing Our Teachers with Improved Compensation

In Denver Public Schools, we know the only way we’ll reach our vision of Every Child Succeeds is by attracting and keeping the best possible teachers for our kids. That’s why we are committed to working with our teachers and our teachers’ union to build a salary system that better supports our educators at every stage of their career.

In negotiations, DPS added $26.5 million to teacher pay, including an average 10% salary increase for teachers next year, as we worked to find common ground with the union on an agreement expiring Jan. 18. The union made few concessions, reducing their demands by $2.6 million. See a negotiations timeline.

Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement by the deadline and the union has voted to strike. The earliest the union could legally strike is Monday, Jan. 28.

We are absolutely committed to doing everything in our power to prevent a strike and have reached out to state leaders to request intervention. If they agree, this could push back the start of a strike. We also have publicly asked the union to return to negotiations.

If the event of a strike, we are committed to keeping our schools open for the more than 90,000 Denver students and families we serve.

Understanding DPS' Teacher Pay Proposal

Highlights of the DPS Pay Proposal for Teachers

Overview

  • Adds $26.5 million to educator pay on top of the $45 million that DPS committed in September 2017.
  • Increases the average DPS teacher’s base salary by 10% from 2018-19 to 2019-20.
  • Invests more money in predictable annual salaries and less in one-time bonuses.
  • Creates pathways for teachers to eventually earn $100,000 salaries.
  • Commits incentives for educators serving in our highest-poverty schools and our hardest-to-fill jobs. Data show 72% of DPS teachers would earn at least one of these incentives.

Plus, our latest proposal (Jan. 18) provides better support for every stage of an educator’s career:

For Early-Career Educators:

  • Increases a new teacher’s starting salary to $45,500, higher than Cherry Creek, Aurora, Jefferson County, Adams Five-Star and Littleton, and second only to Boulder.
  • Grows our tuition reimbursement and/or loan forgiveness by 50% so educators are eligible for up to $1,000 per year for a maximum of $6,000.

For Mid-Career Teachers

  • Promotes retention by providing a large salary bump after an educator dedicates 10 years of service in DPS classrooms.
  • Adds more options to increase annual pay so educators can build their base salaries without costly advanced degrees.

For Late-Career Teachers

  • Invests more in salaries and does not include salary caps common in other districts so DPS educators can receive continuous growth in pay over 30 years.
  • For example, a typical DPS teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 20 years of experience in our schools would earn a salary of $76, 750 (base pay of $70,750 plus one $2,500 incentive plus $3,500 for serving DPS kids for 10 years). In Boulder, that teacher would earn $49,665 because their salary system requires teachers to start working toward an advanced degree to grow their compensation.

What DPS' Pay Proposal Means for Teachers

See examples of what typical DPS teachers would earn under the district's proposal.

Learn More »

See DPS' Proposed Salary Schedule

Read the schedule to see proposed teacher pay at every stage of an educator's career.

Learn More »

How to Read DPS' Proposed Teacher Salary Schedule

Confused by how steps and lanes affect teacher pay? Start here.

Learn More »

Responding to Your Questions About Negotiations

FAQ about Negotiations and Teacher Pay

How do DPS teachers get paid and what is being negotiated?

DPS and the Denver teachers union — the Denver Classroom Teachers Association or DCTA — are jointly working to improve teacher pay in our schools. We agree that the current system needs to be simplified and that we need to invest more money in teacher compensation.

The current system is referred to as “ProComp” — short for a professional compensation system for teachers. It was intended to incent and reward the best educators to come to DPS and to stay in DPS. It got that name when Denver taxpayers agreed in 2005 to fund a mill levy that gives DPS $33 million a year to invest in incentives for things like working in high-poverty schools or hard-to-fill positions. 

Read the ProComp ballot language approved by voters.

DPS has two big contracts with the union. A master agreement that covers things like annual raises, class sizes and the amount of planning time for teachers. And the ProComp Agreement, which covers how the ProComp incentives work. Learn more about ProComp and how it works here. In 2017, DPS and DCTA renegotiated the master agreement and that agreement will be in effect until 2022. As a part of that agreement, DPS invested an additional $45 million in teacher compensation to guarantee average teacher raises of 5% in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 (total of 15% over three years).

Since the beginning of 2018, DPS and DCTA have been negotiating the ProComp Agreement. Regardless of what happens with these negotiations, teachers are still guaranteed raises for the 2019-20 school year. However, DPS and DCTA agree that we can do better and we’ve made some great progress so far on our mutual goals — specifically returning to a simple and transparent salary table and committing to invest more money in that system.

In its latest Jan. 18 proposal, DPS is offering an additional $26.5 million in teacher compensation. That’s on top of the $45 million committed to teacher raises in 2017 and on top of the $33 million in voter-approved annual funding for ProComp.

The additional $26.5 million in teacher pay includes:

  • $7 million in cuts to central-office or school-support staff and services.
  • $6 million from the governor’s anticipated budget that funds full-day kindergarten. Because DPS has been subsidizing full-day kindergarten, this will free up funds for teacher pay.
  • $6 million from the balance in the ProComp trust fund, to be used to transition educators to the new salary schedule.
  • $4 million from the governor’s anticipated budget to reduce the “negative factor” in state funding, thus increasing funding for DPS.

What progress have we made so far and what is currently being proposed?

Negotiations about the additional ProComp funding approved by taxpayers in 2005, which adds $33 million annually to teacher pay, have been ongoing. This includes 12 sessions since January 2018. Another five all-day bargaining sessions are scheduled between Jan. 8 and Jan. 18, 2019, when the ProComp agreement expires.

In the last year of negotiations, DPS and DCTA have made significant progress, including:

  • Agreeing that we need to have a simple and transparent salary schedule.
  • Agreeing that we need to decrease the number of incentives and invest more in base pay.
  • Agreeing that teachers who continue their education and receive a master’s degree or doctorate should continue to receive higher pay.
  • Signing a tentative agreement Dec. 4 on $2,500 incentives for those working in our most challenging roles to staff (for example, secondary math and special education).
  • Agreeing that we will no longer have an incentive connected to the School Performance Framework, the district’s school accountability system. Instead, we will create an incentive for schools doing great and innovative work around supporting the “Whole Child.”

Most importantly, DPS has agreed to re-open the contract the district signed in September 2017 and to invest millions of additional dollars in teacher compensation. In our latest proposal, we added $26.5 million to teacher compensation on top of the $45 million that we committed in the agreement signed in September 2017 and on top of the $33 million in ProComp funding. The union’s latest proposal would require an additional $29 million, on top of the $33 million in ProComp funding, or nearly doubling the ProComp budget.

We want to pay teachers even more but we have to deal with the reality of education funding in Colorado. In June, Education Week released a report showing the national average per-pupil spending on K-12 education is $12,526 per student. In Colorado, the report found, it’s $9,733 — or $2,793 less per student. For a classroom of 25, that’s a difference of nearly $70,000. It’s one reason why teacher pay across Colorado is ranked 30th in the nation.

Because of this funding situation, most of the new money that we are investing in teacher compensation will come from deep cuts in central administration services. We are also looking for efficiencies that can free up some additional dollars.

What are the facts about teacher pay in DPS and what would it look like under DPS’ current proposal? How does it compare to other districts?

Average teacher pay this year in Denver Public Schools — calculated by dividing the number of teachers by the total dollar investment in teacher pay — is $58,892 for regular classroom teachers and $60,228 for those teaching children with special needs. This salary is for 187 days of work a year.

Here are examples of what the district’s latest proposal would mean in actual pay for our teachers:

  • Starting salary for DPS teachers would be $45,500, higher than Cherry Creek, Aurora and Jefferson County, and second only to Boulder Valley schools.
  • Increases the average DPS teacher’s base salary by 10% from 2018-19 to 2019-20.
  • A DPS teacher with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience earning one ProComp incentive (based on current data, 72% of DPS teachers would receive at least one incentive) would earn $56,750 — the highest rate for this experience and education level in the metro area.
  • At the end of ten years, this same DPS teacher with a bachelor’s degree and earning at least one incentive would earn a total of $558,750 — the highest in the metro area.

See more examples of how the district’s proposal would impact teacher pay.

DPS teachers are paid differently than teachers in other districts and that’s by design. When Denver voters approved ProComp in 2005, they were approving a nationally groundbreaking plan, developed by district and union leaders, to pay teachers more based on factors such as performance and their willingness to serve in more challenging schools or positions. Read the original ballot language, which continues to be binding.

Similarly, Denver voters in 2016 approved an additional $14.5 million investment in our efforts to attract, retain and grow great teachers, particularly our teacher leadership model, which pays our strongest teachers up to $5,000 more annually to coach their peers.

While we are grateful to Denver voters for additional funding for teacher pay, it makes it more difficult to make comparisons across districts. For example, annual calculations by the Colorado Department of Education do not include ProComp funding in DPS, despite the fact that it contributes $33 million to teacher compensation each year and the average DPS teacher earns more than $4,000 each year in ProComp incentives.

Our research consistently shows teacher pay in DPS ranks among the top three in the metro area. DPS and the union signed an agreement last year that will increase DPS teacher pay by 15% over three years, or through 2019-20. And our latest proposal would add another $26.5 million, on top of the $33 million in ProComp funding approved by taxpayers.

See teacher pay schedules from other metro-area districts.

I am hearing talk of a DPS teacher strike this month. Is this possible?

DPS is committed to reaching agreement with the Denver teachers’ union to avoid a strike and ensure our kids’ education is not disrupted. However, because the union — the Denver Classroom Teachers Association or DCTA — is holding community meetings about a possible strike and has scheduled a strike vote for Jan. 19 (after the ProComp contract expires on Jan. 18) and Jan. 22, we are preparing for this possibility.

If the union votes to strike, we are committed to keeping our schools open and will seek the state’s support to do so.

DPS and the union have five all-day negotiations scheduled between Jan. 8 and Jan. 18, when the ProComp agreement expires. If we do not reach agreement by Jan. 18, the union has scheduled a strike vote Jan. 19. If the union votes to strike, DPS will immediately ask the state to intervene.

It is against Colorado law to strike while the state is working to resolve issues. During that period, we will use every resource that Governor Polis and his team can offer to help us reach agreement to avoid a strike. Under state law, the period of intervention can last up to 180 days (until July).

Although we believe we can avoid a strike during this school year, either by reaching an agreement with the union or with the state’s support, we are creating a strong strike contingency plan to keep our schools open and we will proactively keep you informed.

How is DPS working to use taxpayer dollars wisely?

DPS has cut administrative expenses in recent years to pay teachers more, and we have agreed to continue to cut more.

Over the past four years, we cut central-office or school-support staff and services by 8% to help fund higher raises for teachers and put more money into schools. Our latest proposal continues this trend, adding $26.5 million on top of the $33 million in ProComp funding approved by Denver voters in 2005.

Sources for the additional 26.5 million in additional funds for teacher pay include:

  • $7 million in cuts to central-office or school-support staff and services.
  • $6 million from the governor’s anticipated budget that funds full-day kindergarten. Because DPS has been subsidizing full-day kindergarten, this will free up funds for teacher pay.
  • $6 million from the balance in the ProComp trust, to be used to transition educators to the new salary schedule.
  • $4 million from the governor’s anticipated budget to reduce the “negative factor” in state funding, thus increasing funding for DPS.

The union’s latest proposal seeks an additional $29 million for teachers, or nearly double the $33 million in ProComp funding approved by voters.

It’s important to understand that investing in great teachers for our kids is about more than teacher pay. For example, a top priority for DPS and our community is closing student achievement gaps. This means investing in efforts like culturally-responsive training, practices and materials for our teachers, increasing mental health and whole child supports, better teacher to student ratios in our most highly impacted schools as well as increasing their pay.

Finally, while the teachers’ union represents about 5,500 employees, DPS employs nearly 15,000 across our district. We have also sought to make significant investments in raising the pay of employees who are currently earning the district’s lowest hourly pay rates. It’s essential to the operation of our schools that we also offer competitive wages to our classroom assistants or paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians and food-service workers.

How is DPS helping teachers keep up with the high cost-of-living in Denver?

Our latest pay proposal includes increasing a new teacher’s starting salary to $45,500, higher than Cherry Creek, Aurora, Jefferson County, Adams Five-Star and Littleton. It also includes increased supports for every stage of an educator’s career.

In addition to proposed pay increases, DPS is actively partnering with organizations to support our employees as our city’s cost-of-living escalates. This includes partnering with housing programs, such as Landed, that offer down payment assistance, and collaborating with Oakwood Homes to offer educators discounts on new homes.

DPS also has created a cost-of-living toolkit that connects teachers with services to help with home-buying, childcare, prescriptions, public transportation and parking, insurance, tuition reimbursement, pay advances and educator discounts.

Like many other employers in Denver, we are constantly seeking new ways to support our employees. If you are aware of opportunities, please email communications@dpsk12.org.

Teachers in my school often change. What is DPS doing about teacher turnover?

DPS is working hard to reduce teacher turnover and we are seeing positive results: Teacher retention has increased over the past three years to 86%. For our teachers of color and top-performing teachers, retention was even greater: 87% of our teachers of color and 91% of our top-performing teachers returned to DPS this year. Learn more about teacher retention in DPS.

Our proposal also focuses on retention by investing more money in “steps” or the increases given for receiving a positive evaluation and staying another year, rather than “lanes” or the increases given for attaining more education.

For example, our pay for teachers with bachelor’s degrees is higher than almost all other districts and continues to increase for 30 years. In contrast, many districts, such as Boulder, cap teacher pay increases after several years and require that teachers start working on additional degrees to increase pay. Learn more about how teacher salary schedules work.

We don’t want teachers to be required to invest in additional degrees to grow their salary. So our pay proposal includes an salary bump of $3,500 for teachers who stay in DPS for 10 consecutive years.

At the same time, we know that our teachers value additional education and often seek to be lifelong learners. So we continue to honor advanced degrees in our proposal, and our pay for teachers with master’s degrees and doctorates is highly competitive with metro-area districts.

We also value retention by continuing to advocate for strong bonuses for educators in our high-poverty schools and for those in hard-to-staff positions. On Dec. 4, DPS and the union reached a preliminary agreement that hard-to-staff incentives will continue.

I am worried about how a teacher strike could affect my family. What can I do?

Your voice is important. We encourage you to visit our public negotiations page at greatteachers.dpsk12.org to learn more about this issue, submit questions and sign-up for email updates.

We know the possibility of a teacher strike is scary for families and we are committed to keeping you up-to-date on this issue. Please know we are committed to keeping our schools open if union members vote to strike. Even if DCTA votes to strike, they legally cannot leave classrooms until Jan. 28.

What's next and how can I keep up with what’s happening?

Please double-check to ensure your contact information is up-to-date with your school(s). This means you should quickly receive any school-specific information impacting your family.

We also encourage you to sign up for negotiations updates at greatteachers.dpsk12.org and to follow DPS social media (Facebook and Twitter), where we’ll be posting updates.

In addition, negotiations sessions are open to the public and you are welcome to attend. The schedule is posted below. We’ll be sharing updates after every session and we’ll let you know on social media if sessions will be livestreamed.

January negotiations:

  • Bargaining Session 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, Acoma Campus, 1617 S. Acoma St., Denver, CO 80223.
  • Bargaining Session 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, Acoma Campus, 1617 S. Acoma St., Denver, CO 80223.
  • Bargaining Session 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, Acoma Campus, 1617 S. Acoma St., Denver, CO 80223.
  • Bargaining Session 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, Acoma Campus, 1617 S. Acoma St., Denver, CO 80223.
  • Bargaining Session 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, Acoma Campus, 1617 S. Acoma St., Denver, CO 80223.

I am hearing so many conflicting claims. How can I tell what’s true and what’s not?

We understand the confusion and are committed to providing factual information. Please check greatteachers.dpsk12.org, where we will be publicly responding to questions submitted by our staff, students, families and community. If you do not see your question answered, please submit it at greatteachers@dpsk12.org or email communications@dpsk12.org.

Retaining Great Teachers

Teacher retention in DPS has increased over the past three years, with 86% of our educators returning to our schools this year.

For our teachers of color and top-performing teachers, retention was even greater: 87% of our teachers of color and 91% of our top-performing teachers returned to DPS this year.

We believe retaining strong teachers means thriving schools and better outcomes for our kids.

Learn more about teacher retention in DPS. »

Meet the DPS Leaders Negotiating Teacher Pay

Susana Cordova, Superintendent

Susana, a former teacher, is mom to a DPS graduate and a high school senior.

Debbie Hearty, Chief Human Resources Officer

Debbie is a former teacher and mom to two DPS students.

Mark Ferrandino, Chief Financial Officer

Mark has one student in DPS, a first-grader.

Michelle Berge, Chief Legal Counsel

Michelle has a first-grader in DPS as well as an incoming kindergarten student.

Additional Information and Background

Upcoming Events

Five all-day bargaining sessions are scheduled before the DPS-union contract expires Jan. 18. All are public and open to anyone who would like to attend.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Acoma Campus, 1617 S. Acoma St., Denver, CO 80223.
  • Friday, Jan. 11,  9 a.m.-5 p.m., Acoma Campus.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Acoma Campus.
  • Thursday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Acoma Campus.
  • Friday, Jan. 18, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Acoma Campus.

Watch past meetings here.