DPS Teacher strike


Viviana Gonzalez

Teachers go around the Capital with their posters to strike against DPS

Viviana Gonzalez, Staff writer

Denver Public Schools is one of the largest employers in Denver, employing about 4,300 teachers and schooling around 90,000 students.

Teachers everywhere have been struggling to negotiate better salaries, and DPS teachers began a strike Feb. 11. After Denver Public School teachers voted to go on strike, most going to the capital of Denver, Colorado and some protesting in front of schools.

With thousands of teachers participating, DPS was in desperate need of substitutes and was paying substitute teachers double the usual rate. Later that week on Thursday, DPS and the teachers union Denver Classroom Teachers Association finally reached an arrangement and negotiations ended with a labor agreement, so teachers could return to their schools that day.

The tentative agreement states that teachers will receive a 7 to 11 percent raise next school year and cost of living increases in the following two years. The district stated that some of that money will be coming from the 150 job cuts they will have.

On the day the strike began, many of the teachers who were voicing their opinions spoke out on their real feelings. DPS teacher Candice South says many students have supported them with their understanding, that it isn’t just about pay but it’s about ensuring they have high quality teachers throughout their education. She also feels DPS is struggling with negotiations because, “they need to figure out where they are going to prioritize the money.”

Many don’t agree with strikes and felt it was unnecessary because it would cause no change but waste time and money. It was estimated that the strike would cost about $400,000 every day it went on. However, this did cause a few changes to be made through the negotiations. Prior to the strike starting pay for a teacher was $43,255 yearly. After the strike, they agreed to raise the starting pay for a teacher to $45,800.

It may not seem like much, but it’s a small victory toward raising teacher pay and can be seen as the beginning of  real change. The community support of the teachers showed how more people are becoming aware of this educational issue.