DPS and Denver union agree to 8.7% salary increase for teachers; remove an incentive
The state’s largest school district and its teachers’ union have tentatively reached an agreement on a new contract.
After nearly 24 hours ofa deal was reached to give Denver Public School teachers an 8.7% pay raise.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), originally requested 12%, and the district initially offered 3.5%.
According to the letter released by Superintendent Alex Marrero, the new deal includes a starting salary for teachers of $50,130 and an additional school district investment of $2.5 million in employee benefits.
Another part of the agreement to benefit teachers is the protection of out-of-class time. This includes a 45-minute tax-free lunch and at least 300 minutes of independent planning time each week for elementary school teachers and 345 minutes each week for secondary school teachers. Marrero noted that these stipends represent the most for teachers in any school district in the metro area.
“As we continue our grand reset of experiences offered by Denver Public Schools, I look forward to working alongside all of our educators, families, and community members as we improve the experience for our students, families, and other stakeholders,” Marrero wrote in the statement. . “Together, we will fulfill our promise to ensure that every DPS graduating student is well-prepared to succeed in the path of their choice”
Denver teachers say the tentative agreement positions DPS with a competitive salary schedule. Dana Berge, with the DCTA Bargaining Team, said, “It’s going to be considered one of the best in the metro area and I think it will attract and retain educators in DPS and I think that was a goal. huge for us.”
The increased investment of more than $40 million in teacher compensation comes as DPS prepares to address a structural deficit due to declining enrollment.
The tentative contract removes a high-priority incentive designed to attract teachers to the 30 highest-need schools, said CU Denver’s Parker Baxter, director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis, “By removing these incentives to teach in schools hardest-to-serve schools could really hurt the district’s ability to attract high-quality educators to the schools where they’re needed most.”
The parties have agreed to end the special incentive that currently goes to 1,000 educators in the district’s poorest schools. They choose to use these funds instead of spreading them around the district to hire additional Special Service Providers (SSPs) and increase the number of DCTA job roles (job titles/positions) by 5%, so that instead of 30% of DCTA roles qualify for the incentive, now 35% do.
Baxter says this can have negative implications for the district’s stated commitment to equity, “It’s more difficult in an environment where the focus is really on getting the money across the system. ..rather than sending resources to where they are most needed.”
Superintendent Marrero believes the new terms will advance the cause of fairness.
He said, “Another 3-year contract and wait until three years. See what we’re going to do nationally.”
Like other districts, DPS faces the prospect of closing schools due to declining enrollment.
The tentative agreement is now going through a ratification process.