Denver teachers strike

Negotiations
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Denver teachers have overwhelmingly voted to accept a new contract reached after a three-day strike earlier this month.

The teachers' union announced Monday that 97 percent of members voted for the deal. It provides an average base pay increase of 11.7 percent in the next school year for teachers and support staffers like social workers.

Benjamin Marcial
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Denver teachers ended a three-day walkout Thursday and returned to their classrooms after their union reached a tentative deal raising their pay as much as 11 percent.

The deal was worked out in talks that lasted through the night and signed shortly before classes started, giving the teachers short notice and little time to get to their schools. They were encouraged to return to their classrooms if they felt ready, even though the deal awaits ratification by the full union membership.

Denver teachers
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Updated at 2:20 p.m.

Denver school administrators and teachers are making progress as they try to end a three-day strike but still must address a major hurdle regarding educators' pay.

The bargaining team representing teachers agreed Wednesday afternoon with much of the school district's proposal regarding how teachers can increase their pay based on experience, education and training over time.

There is still no agreement yet on a top district priority: Bonuses for teachers in high-poverty schools and other schools the district prioritizes.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

Denver teachers and district leaders are continuing negotiatons to try end a strike over pay with the help of a federal mediator.

"I wish we weren’t here. I miss my kids. I run two special ed programs at my school," said middle school psychologist Benjamin Marcial during a caucus break.

Tuesday's talks come a day after over half of the city's teachers walked off the job. The negotiations began with discussions over changing Denver's pay system to more closely resemble those in other districts which more easily allow teachers to advance in pay based on experience, education and training. Both sides alternated meeting publicly and then taking time to discuss proposals in private.

More than 10,000 special education students will be "extremely impacted" by the Denver teacher strike, a new class action lawsuit alleges. The suit, brought on behalf of the students against the school district — on the first day of the strike — argues that without trained teachers and caregivers, the students will be put in jeopardy.

Rally
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

Denver teachers rallied at the state Capitol at 2 p.m. after going on strike over failed pay negotiations.

The Denver Public Schools district has proposed raising starting teacher pay from $43,255 to $45,500 a year. That's $300 a year less than the union's proposal, which would add $50 million a year to teacher base pay, according to union officials.