Denver Teachers Reach Tentative Deal To End Walkout

Teachers from Castro Elementary School cheer at a rally at the Colorado State Capitol on Monday. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Teachers in Denver who were on strike over wages and bonuses have reached a tentative agreement with school district officials to end their walkout. The strike began Monday, after 15 months of negotiations ended without a deal.

If approved by the rank-and-file, teachers could return to the classroom as soon as today.

“This agreement is a win, plain and simple: for our students; for our educators; and for our communities,” Denver Classroom Teachers Association President Henry Roman, an elementary school teacher, said in a statement.

“No longer will our students see their education disrupted because their teachers cannot afford to stay in their classrooms.”

Roman says the agreement ensures that educators have a transparent salary schedule and will be less dependent on unpredictable bonuses.

The agreement has a 20-step salary schedule, clear increases of between 7 percent and 11 percent in base salary, cost of living increases and “an end to exorbitant five-figure bonuses for senior DPS administrators,” the teachers association said.

“All week, the nation has looked to Denver with hopeful hearts,” Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said. “We are so proud of Denver’s educators and this historic agreement that will provide greater opportunity for Denver students and stability for their schools.”

To take effect, the tentative agreement must be ratified by a majority of members of the teachers association.

It’s the first strike among Denver teachers in 25 years. It follows a slew of walkouts in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina and Los Angeles.

“People call it burnout, but that’s not the right word,” John Haycraft told Jenny Brundin of Colorado Public Radio as the bargaining this week was underway. “I haven’t burned out. I’ve been demoralized.”


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