The Denver teachers' union overwhelmingly approved a new contract that will change how they are compensated.
Nearly all union members voted for the new agreement, negotiated by the union and Denver Public Schools, that ended a three-day teachers' strike, Denver's first in 25 years, on February 14. The contract will raise teacher salaries by an average of 11.7 percent and create a more traditional salary schedule and more defined pathways for teachers to grow their salaries. The contract will only be ratified if it's approved by the school board.
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"This agreement secures fair, predictable base pay for Denver educators and will go a long way to eliminating pay fluctuations that have made it difficult for educators to plan a teaching career and a life in Denver," said union president Henry Roman in a statement. "With competitive pay in place, the district has taken an important first step in reversing the worst teacher retention rate in the metro area and providing much-needed stability for student learning."
The union and district had been negotiating the new contract since November 2017. Union members wanted to revamp ProComp, the district's pay-for-performance system that has been in place since 2005, because they argued it facilitated unpredictable year-to-year bonuses and incentives. They wanted a more predictable, straightforward salary system that relies more on base pay and less on bonuses.
The final weeks of negotiations were a stress test for Susana Cordova, the district's new superintendent. Though she received some criticism from union members, union leaders often credited Cordova with working to make a deal.