The Denver Classroom Teachers Association announced on Thursday morning that after three days on strike, they have reached a deal with Denver Public Schools officials.
The seven-page deal is a three-year contract agreed upon after the two sides sat down Wednesday for what turned into a 20-hour negotiation session, per 9News. The deal lays out a 20-step salary schedule, complete with both salary increases for every educator in the coming 2019-2020 school year and a set of controversial merit-based incentives. Teachers will return to work starting today.
Under the new agreement—which still must be ratified by the full union and then approved by the Denver Board of Education—teachers will receive between a 7 and 11 percent base salary increase. The old bonus system for senior DPS administrators, which tossed tens of thousands of dollars to high-ranking officials, will be axed. The school system will also provide a cost-of-living adjustment in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years based off the local consumer price index.
With the cost of real estate in the Denver area skyrocketing, teachers with stagnating base salaries were previously forced to depend on DPS’s wildly varied bonus system in order to make ends meet, let alone own a home. The teachers union voted to authorize a strike in late January, after 15 months of negotiations with DPS left the pair $8 million apart on their budget proposals. In the weeks before the strike, DPS, looking to avoid a walkout at all costs, sunk to threatening the teachers’ visas and, when the government shutdown was still in effect, floating the idea of hiring furloughed federal workers as scabs.
According to CNN, 2,600 teachers walked out starting on Monday. Those teachers were joined by many of their students, who, in the face of reported 50:1 student-teacher ratios, danced in the hall and marched with the teachers in solidarity.
One more time, for those in the back: Direct. Action. Works.