Denver Teachers Vote on Possible Strike After Compensation Negotiations Fail

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DENVER – After a full week of negotiations and months of negotiations underway, Denver public school teachers (DPS) are voting on a possible strike after a late night of fruitless pay talks.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) held a strike vote at Riverside Church in the Highlands from 9 am to 5 pm the Saturday. Another vote will be held at the Knights of Columbus (1555 Grant Street) beginning at 4:30 pm. On Tuesday 22 January at 9 pm, if the majority of votes cast is "favorable" to a strike, it could be the first strike in the district in 25 years.

"The time has come, that's enough," said Amber Wilson, a teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School.

Wilson said she was tired of dealing with financial instability as a DPS teacher.

"I did not expect my salary to reach me by the end of the month, the end of the month, or the early 40s," Wilson said. "We need a predictable salary schedule so that our educators will know in a transparent way what they will do over the course of their careers so they can plan their lives in Denver."

There is a difference of $ 8.5 million between the proposals described by DCTA and DPS.

"It's only 1% of their total budget, less than 1%, which gives us that $ 8 million to allow our teachers to be where they need to be," Wilson said.

DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova said that there were some places where the parties agreed, but she also pointed out areas where the district was not willing to change d & # 39; 39; opinion.

"The difference between our proposals and what we will not compromise is making sure we have the money to pay for the teachers who work in our schools where poverty is most extreme," Cordova said.

The current DPS proposal would raise teachers' salaries by an average of 10%, but some teachers believe that this is still not enough.

"It was hard to know that if a strike were to occur, we would have no income during the period that lasts," said Mark Mallaney, a teacher at Denver High School School of the Arts. "Right now, it's getting harder and harder to live and work as a teacher in Denver."

Cordova said the district was willing to continue negotiations.

"We think it's of paramount importance that we reach an agreement," Cordova said.

The results of the strike vote will only be published mid-week after the closure of Tuesday night's vote. Teachers said they still plan to be at school next week when the school is in session.