“About 1,200 miles east, teachers in Denver have also reached their limit as negotiations with the school district have remained at an impasse over teacher compensation for more than 14 months. The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) was gearing up to strike last Monday, but the school district thwarted the plan with a request for state intervention.
The 3,000-member union must now wait up to 10 more days for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to decide if he will intervene — which could delay the strike another 180 days as the negotiations enter into a fact-finding phase. Teachers, guidance counselors and nurses could face civil fines and even have their licenses revoked if they were to strike during this period.
Denver teachers’ compensation is set up under a system called ProComp, which offers teachers incentives for working at a school that attains high test scores. While the district touts the system, the union argues it is overly complicated and creates frustration and uncertainty among educators about their pay.
“You cannot financially plan your future when you have that kind of variability in pay,” Roman says. This lack of reliable pay is driving what he calls Denver’s “teacher turnover crisis.” The union wants a traditional salary schedule that matches that of most other school districts. Moreover, he says, the district spends exorbitantly on bonuses for “people who are already well-paid” — its administrators.”
“Hope is the feathered thing that perches in your heart.” ~ Emily Dickinson