Denver Teachers' Union Overwhelmingly Approves New Contract

Denver Teachers' Union Overwhelmingly Approves New ContractEXPAND
Conor McCormick-Cavanagh
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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.

"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. 

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