Less than a day after the Los Angeles teachers have agreed on a contract deal and ended the sixth-day strike, their counterparts in Denver announced striking actions.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Associations (DCTA)' lead, Rob Gould confirmed Tuesday that 93 percent of unionized teachers supported a strike for better pay. According to Gould, who represents 5,635 educators in the Denver Public School system, the strike can start as early as the upcoming Monday. Gould also added that his colleagues are striking not only for better pay, but also for their profession and not at last place, for their students.
The Denver's teachers' union has already informed the local authorities for a potential strike on January 8. However, the state law requires them to wait 20 days before leaving their working places to strike.
According to DCTA, the district's bonus system has changed significantly since 2005, leaving teachers dependent on earning additional bonuses for things outside of their control. In DCTA's view, the amended bonus system has forced many educators to change jobs and opt for districts with more traditional payment schemes.
Now, the Colorado educators require a higher base pay, as well as bonuses for working in a high-poverty institution and for having students with high test scores. In addition to that, teachers also insist on getting remuneration for continuing their education and improving their qualifications. The Denver Public School District confirmed it is open to negotiations with the teachers but added they would find substitute teachers or professionals with a relevant teaching license to keep the students in the classroom.
Although in Colorado the teachers are legally entitled to strike, the state could intervene. If that happens, the walkout could be delayed by up to 180 days, past the ongoing academic year. However, the local government did not prevent the Pueblo teachers from striking over better pay in May last year. Back in spring, the majority of the local 20 schools were closed by the one-week strike, leading to a 2 percent cost-of-living retroactive raise and a 2.5 percent increase in the current school year.
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova has already expressed her support for the teachers, admitting their right to fight against the low state financing in Colorado.
The Colorado district's website says that the starting teacher salary is $39,851 while the average salary amounts to $50,449. In this case, do you support or oppose the teachers' strike in Colorado?