DENVER – Thousands of educators from the state's largest school district will leave their jobs Monday after more than 15 months of fruitless teacher pay talks.
As public school teachers in Denver prepare to strike for the first time in 25 years, we have collected answers to the most pressing questions that parents, teachers, students and all others can ask about leaving. teachers.
WHY IS THE STRIKE ARRIVING?
Central to the disagreement between the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and the Denver Public Schools District (DPS) is a compensation system set up in 1999, known as the Professional Compensation System for Teachers (ProComp).
The ProComp contract, which expired on January 18, offered more than a handful of incentives for teachers, nurses, psychologists and psychologists to earn more money in addition to their base salary.
So what is the problem?
Both parties claim to have proposals that they believe will improve the current salary scale, which determines how and what salaries teachers are paid. The teachers 'union has proposed $ 28.5 million for teachers' salaries; the district had only offered $ 23.3 million back Saturday night.
In addition to the difference of $ 5.2 million, both parties disagree on how teachers should increase their pay over the years.
The district plan places teachers in very poor schools where positions are hard to fill at the top of the list when it comes to receiving bonuses. The union's proposal gives teachers more opportunities to get a pay raise as they get more money to continue their education.
WILL SCHOOLS BE CLOSED?
Susan Cordova, Director of Denver Public School
The district is committed to keeping schools open during the strike and announced that an announcement would be sent Sunday to parents to tell them if their child's school would be open the next day.
This will not be the case for all preschool classes, which will be canceled due to the district's inability to meet stringent requirements for qualified staff in these classes, Cordova said, adding that They would strive to provide opportunities for the 4,714 currently enrolled children. in the district's early childhood education programs.
In addition, a spokesperson for the DPS said that a daily assessment would be made to determine if there were a sufficient number of teachers and substitute teachers – as well as supervisors of the central office – to keep district schools open during the strike.
The strike will have no impact on lunch and transportation to and from school, DPS officials said, but extracurricular activities such as sports could be affected, according to each school. . Parents are welcome to contact their child's school for clarification from school officials on these programs.
Should I take my child to school in the event of a strike and will it be prudent to do so?
The district says yes, because most schools will be open during regular business hours.
The preschool education courses will be canceled as long as the strike continues. The district will not charge tuition fees for days when preschool classes are canceled.
District officials said that on each campus, members of the DPS security team would work with heads of institutions to ensure that buildings "remain accessible in the event of a protest or event. picketing ".
Will there be enough substitute teachers for my child?
At a press conference one day after the teachers' union voted for the strike, Cordova said the district would have substitute teachers on hand.
The district database currently has 1,500 visiting teachers and has already offered positions to at least 300 candidates.
The district will also hold three job fairs – Friday, Tuesday and Thursday – at its downtown headquarters to welcome new teachers.
DPS officials said it would cost the district about $ 400,000 a day for schools to work with alternates and administrators.
WAS LEARNING OF STUDENTS HAPPEN DURING THE STRIKE?
District officials have stated that your child will not watch movies all day in case teachers leave the classroom.
Officials stated that in the event of a strike, "high quality lesson plans" would be provided to each student for each subject and grade level.
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the district has already spent more than $ 136,000 for the first two days of classes in the event of teachers' strikes.
CAN TEACHERS PARTICIPATING IN THE STRIKE BE OBLIGED TO RETURN TO CATEGORY?
the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) said the DPS would "probably ask a judge" to make a court order forcing teachers to return to their classrooms. But this will only happen if the judge determines that the strike poses a threat to public health or safety.
CAN A TEACHER LOSE THEIR EMPLOYMENT IF THEY ARE STRIKED?
The teachers union says it depends, but it is unlikely, because state law provides special protections for teachers in these cases. DCTA officials said the district should prove "negligent in duty" or "insubordinate", and even then, teachers have the right to follow due process to challenge the school board.
The union said "that it is highly unlikely" that the Denver District School Board is devoting the time, energy and expense needed to process a teacher dismissal file. , knowing that thousands of teachers will participate in the strike.
DO TEACHERS PERMIT EVERY DAY COMPENSATION AND RECEIVE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS?
The district may withhold wages during a strike,
. However, teachers and the district may negotiate catch-up days with equal compensatory pay.
Striking teachers are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
HOW CAN I PREPARE THE STRIKE?
According to the district, one of the most important things parents can do to prepare for a strike is to make sure their students' contact information is up to date in the paper.
and that the drug information is up-to-date. Questions can also be answered at the Family Helpline at (720) 423-3054.
WILL THE CITY HELP THE STRIKED PARENTS?
The city of Denver is mobilizing to help families affected by the teachers' strike.
Mayor Michael Hancock announced Friday that the city's recreation centers and public libraries would be open to families who would choose not to send their children to school on Monday.
The 30 Denver Recreation Centers will be open from 8 am and post-school programs, as part of the MY Denver program, will be staffed with a full staff, announced city officials in A press release.
Denver children ages 5 to 18 will have free access to all of the city's recreation centers with their My Denver card.
Hancock also stated that all Denver Public Library locations will also be open from 10 am and that "additional passive and active programs" will be available at all sites. Municipal libraries will also have pre-packaged snacks available to children as needed.
Finally, Hancock said the city's free and healthy meal plan would provide long hours of operation and increased capacity to serve Denver children in recreation centers.
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