DCTA Updates

  • There are two primary agreements between DPS and DCTA: the Master Agreement and the ProComp Agreement.

    • The current 2017-2022 Master Agreement was signed September 2017 and covers wages, hours, and other conditions of employment. It includes compensation increases for teachers for the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 years. For copies of current agreements between DPS and DCTA, please visit the Employee Associations page and look under the DCTA section. 
    • The second agreement is the ProComp Agreement, which covers how we spend the roughly $33 million we receive each year from the dedicated ProComp mill levy, money which must be spent according to the terms of the mill levy that DCTA and the district jointly put to voters in 2005.

Current DCTA Updates

  • Feb. 15, 2019

    Reaching a Tentative Agreement, Building a Stronger Spirit of Collaboration

    Dear Educators,

    I'm very pleased that we were able to reach a tentative agreement this morning with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA). The last several weeks have been very hard. I know they were incredibly difficult for you, as they were for all of us at the bargaining table. We all share a commitment to our students -- to giving them a great education and a great future. Anything that detracts from that mission is painful to us all.

    I want to tell you again that I so appreciated hearing directly from so many of you during negotiations. It helped me better understand the differences in perspective we have on some issues. But more importantly, it reinforced and deepened my appreciation for how much we have in common, deep down, in what drives us every day to do this work. That continued to lift me up during every difficult conversation and every disappointing turn.

    Our shared mission as educators prevailed. It created a stronger spirit of collaboration during negotiations on Tuesday and Wednesday. It carried us to the tentative agreement.

    We have lived up to our joint commitment to invest significantly more in your base pay, which will mean a salary increase of 11.7% next year, and cost-of-living increases in the following two years. (Click here for details on the salary terms.) We have also maintained our focus on equity and stayed true to the intent of our taxpayer-supported ProComp by empowering our highest-needs schools to help close our opportunity gaps by recruiting and retaining great teachers.

    On top of the very solid common ground we reached on the terms that are down on paper in the tentative agreement, I'm even more heartened and encouraged by the spirit of collaboration that surrounded the table as we finished our work. It's why I wanted to lead our district -- to create a new way of working together to tackle the hardest problems we face.

    I feel like we confronted and talked through some long-simmering areas of tension and distrust. I feel like we cleared air that had turned stale and sour. It pushed us to some tense and difficult moments, but I feel like we pushed through, rose above, and came together. It will make our partnership stronger and remind us of how much unites us -- on both the systems we put in place for supporting you, our teachers, and the values and dedication we bring to our life's work.

    As we go forward, I look forward to working alongside you -- now, with the potential for a deeper, more trusting spirit of collaboration. That can keep us united, keep us strong, and help us ensure that we're fulfilling the tremendous promise that walks through our classroom doors every day when the school bell rings.

    Warm Regards,


  • Feb. 12, 2019 - Joint Statement from DPS and DCTA

    Joint Statement from DPS and DCTA
    "Today, Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association worked in good faith to find common ground on ProComp. We exchanged proposals that are moving us closer and are hopeful that we will get to an agreement soon. However, we need a little more time to resolve the outstanding issues, and we will resume our negotiations tomorrow morning at 10 am at the Denver Public Central Library."
    Henry Roman                 Susana Cordova
    DCTA President              DPS Superintendent

  • Feb. 12, 2019 - Negotiations Continuing Today for DPS and DCTA

    Dear Team DPS, 
    We wanted to provide an update on our discussions with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association on reaching a new contract and ending the teacher strike.
    The two sides have spent the day at the bargaining table, having productive conversations toward an agreement. The talks are still continuing into the evening, and we will continue to provide you with updates. Please check back on DPS' Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout negotiations tonight, and we'll share an outcome of the meeting as soon as it concludes today.  
    All DPS schools will be open tomorrow, regardless of the progress of today's negotiations. Preschool (ECE) classes will be canceled again tomorrow if teachers are still on strike. We will notify these families in the event preschool classes resume tomorrow. 
    We appreciate the work and dedication of the staff all across the city who have been critical to keeping our schools open this week. And we also appreciate the support and understanding of our parents and community members.
    We will continue to provide updates as developments occur.

  • Feb. 11, 2019 - Returning to Negotiations with DCTA Tomorrow

    Dear Educators,

    I'm eager to return with DCTA leadership to contract negotiations tomorrow. I know this has been a difficult time for you, and I very much appreciate everyone who has reached out to me directly to share their thoughts about the contract talks. You have my assurance that I am committed to reaching an agreement as quickly as possible.

    Right now, we have agreed to resume talks at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Feb. 12.

    Our overriding priority in these discussions remains making a much stronger investment in the base salary of our teachers and maintaining a focus on equity and empowering our schools in high-poverty areas to help close our opportunity gaps through great instruction.

    I remain optimistic that, when we work hard together to talk through the different perspectives we have on the small number of areas in the contract where there are disagreements, we can reach an agreement soon and have everyone back in their schools with their students.

    Thank you for your commitment to our students. And I look forward to bringing you more updates on the progress of our contract discussions.

    Warm Regards,

  • Feb. 10, 2019 - Information and Guidelines for a Strike

    Dear Educators,

    As you know, DCTA has announced plans for teachers to strike Monday, Feb. 11. Read this message for more information about DPS' latest proposal and other updates about the Feb. 9 negotiations.  

    Please review the information and guidelines below for teachers and SSPs regarding participation in the strike:
    • Teachers and SSPs will not face corrective action for participating in a legal strike.
    • Any employees who wish to support the strike are not permitted to use district resources to do so.
    • Any teachers and SSPs participating in the strike will lose their full salary for all time not worked.
    • Any individuals participating in picketing activities must not interfere with regular school operations and are expected to follow these guidelines.
    Please know that we are committed to reaching an agreement with DCTA that demonstrates how much we value your hard work and dedication. We will continue to share updates with you as they are available. If you have questions, email greatteachers@dpsk12.org .

  • Feb. 9, 2019 - Union Walks Out on Negotiations at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Rejects District Offer that Adds $2 Million for Base Pay

    Dear Team DPS,
    I'm disappointed that the DCTA walked away from the table today. DPS presented an updated proposal that responds to what we have heard from teachers, aligns to our values of equity and retention, honors the ProComp ballot language, and significantly increases the base pay for all our educators. 

    Some highlights of our proposal tonight include:
    • We worked to close the gap between us by bringing an additional $2 million investment in base pay for teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs). This investment will come from additional, painful cuts to our central departments, which we estimate to be an elimination of about 150 positions in the central office. These are really tough decisions, and these cuts will mean the loss of dedicated professionals and will limit the support services we're able to provide to schools.
    • Our offer also includes the elimination of performance bonuses for central office senior staff. We would invest those funds directly in our highest-needs schools, with a proposed increase in incentive pay for teaching in our schools with the highest poverty rates. Our offer increases that incentive from $2,500 to $3,000. This is a powerful tool our school leaders value for attracting and keeping outstanding teachers in their schools. It's also a core part of DPS' plan to close opportunity gaps for historically underserved students.
    • On average, our educators would see an almost 11% increase in their salaries next year, under our latest proposal. The average teacher salary would increase from about $55,000 to $61,000 next year. And this brings a total investment of $23 million in new funds next year into teacher compensation, and a total investment of $55 million over the next three years. 
    • Revisions to how professional development would increase pay, using a structure similar to Boulder Valley School District.
    DCTA responded with a counter proposal that offered technical changes to the process for earning additional pay for professional development. They did not make any offers that brought us closer together on financial terms. 
    And again, what's most disappointing is that the union walked out on negotiations instead of continuing to work toward an agreement. DCTA ended negotiations at 7:30 p.m. and indicated they will not return to the table until Tuesday.

    There's still time to reach an agreement. I want to be clear that we are willing to continue working every minute we have available to us to avoid a strike and the disruption it would mean for our students, families and teachers. There has been progress the past two days, and we remain ready to come back to the table to keep working toward an agreement.
    What you need to know if there is a strike
    We will share more information with you soon. If you have any immediate questions, please reach out to your principal or supervisor. Learn more about the strike, access family resources and find the latest updates at teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.
    Thank you for your continued commitment to our kids during this difficult time. We will continuing working hard to find a resolution.  
    Warm Regards,

  • Feb. 8, 2019 - Continuing to Negotiate Toward an Agreement

    Dear Team DPS,
    Tonight, we met with the DCTA leadership to continue negotiating our ProComp Agreement. It was a productive conversation -- DPS shared a proposal, the DCTA gave us feedback and we committed to return tomorrow to continue working. This is how we will avert a strike -- by staying at the table to get an agreement.
    The proposal that we brought tonight again responds directly to what we have heard from our teachers:
    • We have heard that the old pay system is too complicated. We agree and have proposed a simple, transparent salary table with steps and lanes.
    • We have heard that we need more money invested and higher base salaries. Yes! That’s why we have proposed investing an additional $23.5 million into teacher compensation. This includes $10.5 million of cuts in central office, which will result in the elimination of more than 100 positions. We have also offered guaranteed raises for three years, with a total estimated investment of $50 million.
    • We have heard that the old system’s incentives were unpredictable and teachers couldn’t count on them from one year to the next. Our proposal has set incentives that reward teachers for working in hard to fill positions and, importantly, emphasizes equity by rewarding teachers who work in our highest poverty schools
    • We have heard that educator compensation should continuously grow over time. Our proposal allows teachers to grow their salaries over the entirety of their career -- no more 14-year cap.
    • We have heard that incentives should be more predictable. We agree and have moved away from incentives that change every year. The incentives that remain are more predictable because the amount remains the same every year.
    • We have heard that educator retention is a priority. We agree and are proposing a lane change for serving 10 years in DPS classrooms. We are also proposing incentives for serving in our highest-priority schools, which struggle the most with retention.
    Tonight, we engaged with the DCTA in a conversation about how we can honor professional development for our teachers and SSPs with a system that is financially sustainable. We included PDUs as a way for teachers and SSPs to move lanes. And we added more credit options for teachers to move across the lanes in our table including BA+45 and MA+60.
    Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) stated that they think we are very close to a resolution -- and I agree. I believe we can work through our differences and avoid a strike if we continue to engage in honest and open dialogue, trade proposals and seek common ground.
    We will resume our discussion with DCTA at 1 p.m. tomorrow.  
    Warm Regards,

  • Feb. 6, 2019 - Important Update about Potential Teacher Strike

    Dear Team DPS,
    As you may know, Governor Polis announced this afternoon that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will not intervene  at this time in our contract negotiations with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA). It is his hope that we continue negotiating to avert a strike. This is my wholehearted goal as well. If we cannot reach an agreement, the DCTA has announced plans for its members to strike starting Monday, Feb. 11.
    In the coming days, we will continue to work with the DCTA and have offered to go back to the negotiating table immediately to find a solution. We are close to reaching common ground; with continued hard work, honest dialogue and an authentic exchange of proposals, I believe we can reach an agreement and avoid a strike. Our commitment is to spend as much time as it takes to do that.
    In the event we're not able to reach an agreement, the first day a strike could take place is Monday, Feb. 11. While we are committed to finding an agreement and avoiding a strike, our number one priority as a district will continue to be the safety of our students.
    We are working hard to ensure there are enough licensed DPS team members and guest teachers to keep our schools and classrooms open. However, our Early Childhood classrooms require a different level of licensing for educators that we will not be able to meet. With that in mind, if a strike does occur, all ECE classes will be canceled for the duration of the strike. We are sharing more information with these team members and families now so that if we do have a strike, they have advance notice of our plans.
    I know how challenging this situation is for everyone and I am committed to finding the solution together with the DCTA. We will continue to share updates as they are available. As a reminder, here are resources related to the current negotiations as well as resources for parents in the event that there is a strike.
    Warm Regards,

  • Jan. 31, 2019 - Three Years of Guaranteed Raises for Teachers and SSPs

    Three Years of Guaranteed Raises for Teachers and SSPs 

    Dear Educators,

    Tonight we returned to the negotiating table with Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), hopeful that we would continue making progress toward an agreement that ensures our teachers and SSPs are fairly compensated and feel valued for their extraordinary work.

    I am committed and motivated to continue working with DCTA. Tonight, I was ready to hear all voices, think creatively, be responsive and make hard decisions. I know that every day matters when it comes to reaching an agreement and preventing a strike. If a strike occurs, there will be a loss of instructional time for our students that cannot be recovered. It is important that we make every effort to reach agreement before we see a strike.

    I know that we must maintain our focus on both building competitive base salaries as well as on recruiting and keeping teachers in our high poverty schools. We clearly heard from the DCTA that more money for base salaries was a top priority. In response, our Jan. 18 proposal offered an average 10% increase for our teachers and SSPs in 2019-20 through an investment of $20.5 million. And today, our new proposal adds $3 million new dollars into teacher compensation for 2020-21 and guarantees raises for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

    We will know the exact amount of the raises for 2020-21 and 2021-22 when the Consumer Price Index for those years is released. However, these raises and the existing proposal of $20.5 million will require an estimated investment of $50 million over those three years.

    We will make these multi-year investments in teacher compensation by reducing over 100 positions from the central office as well as dedicating future savings and funds in 2020, 2021 and 2022. We know that the years of state underinvestment in school funding can’t be fixed in one year, but we are committed to increasing teacher pay through these measures.

    I am disappointed that the DCTA did not engage in the discussion or bring a counter proposal; they also chose to leave at 6:45 p.m. when we were scheduled to bargain until 8 p.m. We came committed to negotiating and had anticipated we would have the opportunity to share additional ideas with DCTA about the structure of the new system.

    I remain committed to our teachers and continuing these difficult conversations so that we can avoid a strike. We will continue to provide updates as they are available. In the meantime, please visit greatteachers.dpsk12.org for more information about DPS’ proposal.

    Warm Regards, 

  • Jan. 19, 2019 - Outcome of Negotiations with DCTA

    Outcome of Negotiations with DCTA 

    Dear Educators,

    After nearly 15 months of negotiations with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), I am disappointed to share that we did not reach an agreement on an improved salary system for our teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs) before tonight’s deadline.

    In the span of these negotiations, we have made significant progress. When we started negotiating, we did not have a salary schedule and we were only negotiating the $33 million we receive from the ProComp mill levy every year. Since then, we have come forth with a salary schedule that has six lanes and we reopened our financial agreement in order to negotiate the full budget for educator compensation. DTCA has reduced their proposal by $2.6 million (of their requested $30 million).

    All in, we have proposed adding $26.5 million of new money into teacher and SSP compensation -- $20.5 million for base pay and $6 million for the cost of ensuring all educators are placed on our new salary schedule. We are making deep cuts – over $10 million in central administration (which was increased from $7 million after a recalculation of costs) – in order to invest those dollars into educator compensation. This is in addition to other cuts for other employee group compensation.

    I wish it were more. I agree that teachers deserve more compensation. The fact is, Colorado is a wealthy state that doesn’t fund our schools very well, and we know that we need to work arm-in-arm with our educators to fix this state issue.

    We came to the table today ready to negotiate and address the critical items DCTA identified, such as more money in base pay and a structure that resembles other districts. We shared a proposal with the DCTA that incorporated their feedback, stayed within our budget and honored the ProComp ballot language. Unfortunately, DCTA did not want to continue negotiating.

    Our proposal:

    • Adds more money in base pay. We have $20.5 million new money in our offer, plus $6 million to ensure all educators transition to the new salary schedule. With the latest proposal we shared and previous agreements, our educators will have some of the highest salaries in the state in their base pay and an average 10% increase in teacher pay for the 2019-20 school year. Click here to see how the lifetime earnings under our proposal compare to other districts.
    • Has a simple structure that resembles other districts. We created a salary table with six lanes and labels for education levels, increments to grow your salary and teacher-friendly ways to grow base salary, such as serving in DPS classrooms for 10 years and earning an advanced license.
    • Honors our commitment to incentives for educators working in our highest poverty schools. One of the things we heard loud and clear from our community is the importance of closing opportunity gaps, and we are committed to ensuring that teachers are rewarded for coming and staying in high poverty schools.
    • Recognizes work invested in PDUs. Educators who have “banked” PDUs would receive a lump sum payout for all of their PDUs around November, 2019, as long as they remain educators in DPS. Each PDU will be valued at $1,700 (more than 200% of current value).

    What Happens Next

    DCTA is planning strike votes on Jan. 19 and Jan. 22. Only 60% of teachers and SSPs are members of the union, yet the outcome of this negotiation will affect all of our educators. If you are not a union member but want to share your voice, you have the option to register as a member on the day of the vote and participate in the vote.

    We are actively updating our salary finder with our new proposal so all of our educators can see what their salary would look like under our proposal. We strongly encourage you to use the finder to see what your salary would be under our proposal, see how it compares to other metro-area districts here, and consider that information before casting your vote.

    In the event a strike vote passes on Jan. 22, all DPS team members are expected to report to work on Jan. 23. The earliest a strike can legally begin is Jan. 28, depending on whether the state government chooses to intervene. During a strike, those teachers and SSPs not reporting for work, not crossing picket lines to report to work or refusing to perform assigned duties will lose their full salary, benefit credits and pension fund contribution for all time not worked. However, they will not face corrective action.

    I recognize this has been a challenging process and a time of uncertainty for many of our educators. I want to be clear that we are open to continuing this dialogue and reaching an agreement that honors the incredible work our educators do every day. We will be sharing additional information in the coming days, so please stay tuned to Teacher Weekly and greatteachers.dpsk12.org for additional information.

    Warm Regards,


  • Jan. 17, 2019 - Negotiation Updates

    Jan. 17, 2019

    Dear Educators,

    As we near tomorrow’s deadline for reaching an agreement, I wanted to share an update on the progress we made with DCTA in our negotiation session today. 

    Where We Started Today

    In our proposal to DCTA last week, we proposed adding $23 million to improve our compensation system for teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs). That means teachers and SSPs would, on average, see an increase of 10% in their base pay next year.

    In addition to increasing our investment into educator compensation, we have also proposed a simple, transparent table that helps our educators see their compensation in a predictable fashion. To get closer to the DCTA structure, we also added a sixth lane and teachers/SSPs can now access a lane change based on the accumulation of additional credits beyond a master’s degree. 

    See what the new salary table looks like here. More than 3,300 educators have logged in and used our salary finder to see how our latest proposal impacts their compensation and more than 600 teachers joined our tele-town hall yesterday.

    What Happened Today

    Today was a day of hard work for both teams. DCTA presented two versions of a counter proposal over the course of the day. Our team is reviewing their latest version and we will continue negotiating tomorrow.

    We also brought forth two proposals: 

    • To further support our educators who pursue additional education, we proposed increasing our current tuition and student loan reimbursement by 50%, up to $6,000 ($1,000 a year).  
    • We also started the discussion with DCTA on how we will honor the work our educators have already done with the Professional Development Units (PDUs) they have completed. We proposed that teachers/SSPs who have “banked” PDUs can be paid out at $850 per year, with a maximum of two per year for $1,700.

    We still have work to do. We remain millions of dollars apart, even with the deep and significant cuts we are making in central office. We have committed $7 million of those cuts to teacher compensation, and we plan on additional central office reductions to ensure we can also increase compensation for our lower-wage employees such as paraprofessionals, bus drivers and others.

    Another area where we remain in disagreement is in how we prioritize our commitment to service in high-poverty schools. We believe educators who continue to serve in our most highly impacted schools should receive higher compensation for this work.

    • For Title I schools (60% free and reduced lunch or greater): $2,500 in the DPS proposal vs. $1,500 in DCTA’s proposal. 
    • For 30 of our highest priority schools: an extra $2,500 on top of the Title I incentive in the DPS proposal vs. $0 additional in DCTA’s proposal.  

    We have seen a 6% increase in our retention in our highest-priority schools since we began the current high incentives for these schools and we believe it is critically important to continue this commitment in service of closing the opportunity gap for our most vulnerable students in our most highly-impacted schools.

    Next Steps

    We will return to the negotiation table tomorrow and we will continue bargaining in good faith. If you have a moment to tune in, you can either watch live or watch the recorded version after the meeting ends on DPS TV. Please know we are hopeful we will find common ground and reach an agreement tomorrow. 

    Make Your Voice Heard 

    In the event we do not reach an agreement and DCTA members proceed with their strike vote, we want to ensure all of our teachers know how to make their voices heard. Please email us at greatteachers@dpsk12.org and DCTA to share your thoughts on the proposals. 

    While we are doing everything we can to reach an agreement tomorrow, in the event of a strike vote, only DCTA union members are eligible to vote and they must vote in person. However, please know that all DPS teachers and SSPs have the option to sign up to be a member and make their voice heard on the voting days. Please reach out to your DCTA representative if you would like more details about the vote. 

    We know time is short to find a resolution, and we are ready to work hard with DCTA tomorrow to reach an agreement. Please stay tuned for updates in Teacher Weekly and by visiting greatteachers.dpsk12.org.

    Warm Regards,


  • Jan. 15, 2019 - Negotiation Updates

    Jan. 15, 2019

    Dear Educators,

    I wanted to provide an update on our continued negotiations today with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) on an improved compensation system for our teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs). 

    As I shared with you following our last meeting on Friday, we proposed adding $23 million to improve our compensation system for teachers. See what the new salary table looks like here. We also added a sixth lane and teachers/SSPs can now access a lane change based on the accumulation of credits. We have heard from DCTA that these three elements are critical to reaching agreement. 

    Salary Finder: See What Your Pay will be with Our Proposal

    As I shared with all DPS team members today, we have also committed to making deep central office budget cuts in order to fund this proposal. From these cuts, we have committed that $7 million from school supports in the central office will be reinvested in teacher and SSP compensation. We are also planning to use funding from Gov. Polis’ proposed budget to help fund our proposal. If the planned funds from the Governor’s budget fall through, we will still honor this financial commitment.

    Today, we hoped to see a counter-proposal from DCTA. Although we continued conversations, we did not see a written response from DCTA. We are committed to coming back on Thursday, ready to get to work to find common ground and reach an agreement by Friday.

    In the meantime, here are some ways to stay engaged:

    Stay informed. Find out what your base salary would be under DPS’ latest proposal by using the salary finder here. If you have any questions after using the salary finder, please email us at greatteachers@dpsk12.org.

    Make your voice heard. Please share your thoughts with us by emailing greatteachers@dpsk12.org and with your DCTA representatives. 

    Join the conversation. Participate in the telephone town hall tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. You'll receive a call to join the town hall at the contact number you shared with us. If you’d rather join from another number, you can call in to the town hall by dialing 877-229-8493 and entering 110303.

    Warm Regards,


  • Jan. 11, 2019 - Negotiation Updates

    Dear Educators,

    I wanted to provide an update on our conversation today with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) on improving our compensation system for teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs). We are continuing to work with DCTA on a simple and transparent salary schedule that grows over time.

    What We Proposed Today

    We learned this week that Governor Polis is calling for increased state investment in kindergarten. Since DPS has been subsidizing full-day kindergarten, this will free up additional funding that can be used for teacher compensation. Tonight, we proposed to use $6 million of this funding in increased compensation for teachers and $2 million for our school-support hourly workers such as our paraprofessionals. Check out the FAQ on greatteachers.dpsk12.org for the full breakdown of what we’ve added into the compensation pot.

    All of this new money has been invested in a salary schedule that we presented tonight. Take the time to find out what your base salary would be under DPS’ latest proposal means by using the calculator below.

    Salary Calculator: See What Your Pay will be with Our Proposal

    We heard from DCTA that teachers want to be rewarded for the work they are already doing; that they want to see more lanes and more ways to cross lanes in the salary schedule.

    That’s why we improved our proposal to include:

    • A path for educators to earn $100,000 in base pay.
    • An additional lane in the salary schedule for earning additional credits beyond a master’s degree, which honors continued education. This is in addition to the 25% increase to tuition and student loan reimbursement we already proposed.
    • This proposal means our educators’ base pay will increase by an average of about 10% in the 2019-20 school year.

    Next Steps

    We will continue this work during our three remaining all-day negotiation sessions on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week leading up to when the ProComp Agreement expires Jan. 18.

    I encourage all of our teachers and SSPs to stay tuned to Teacher Weekly and greatteachers.dpsk12.org for updates on what DPS and DCTA are proposing. Also, please do take the time to find out what your base salary would be under DPS’ latest proposal means by using the calculator here.

    If you have questions, concerns or ideas, please let us know at greatteachers@dpsk12.org, and mark your calendars for a telephone town hall Wednesday, Jan. 16. Stay tuned on Monday for instructions on how to join the call.

    Warm Regards,


  • Jan. 8, 2019 - Negotiation Updates

    Dear Educators, 

    As you return from a well-deserved winter break, I want to ensure you have the latest information on our negotiations that resumed today with Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) to simplify and improve the compensation system for our teachers and Specialized Service Providers (SSPs). I know how important it is for us to find a solution that is fair for our educators, and I am dedicating my time and attention over the next two weeks to listen to our teachers and work with DCTA to find common ground and reach an agreement. 

    Our Progress So Far

    • DPS and DCTA have aligned on a vision for a simple and transparent compensation system that includes a published salary schedule, fewer bonuses and a higher investment in base pay. We agree that the salary schedule will provide higher pay for teachers who earn a masters or doctorate. 
    • We reached a tentative agreement on the hard-to-staff/fill incentive, which ensures educators working in our most challenging roles to staff will earn a $2,500 a year incentive. 

    What We Accomplished Today

    • After today's proposal, we have now committed to increase teacher compensation by $62 million over the course of three years. Broken down, that includes: funding that we have received and anticipate receiving from the state ($45 million that we had previously agreed to pay for raises through the 2019-20 school year and $4 million that we anticipate receiving from the buy-down of the negative factor in this year’s governor’s budget), $6 million in funds that have accumulated in the ProComp trust and $7 million in cuts to central administration supports. 
    • We proposed increasing the starting salary from $42,789 to $45,500, which would be the second-highest in the state after Boulder. Click here to see our new proposed salary schedule. 
    • All teachers and SSPs will receive a base pay increase when the new salary system is implemented next school year. 
    • To provide more opportunities to grow your base pay without having to invest in another advanced degree, we proposed changes to how you can receive a lane change:
    • DPS teachers can now receive a lane change for serving 10 years in DPS classrooms, which supports our focus on teacher retention and honors our teachers who stay teaching in DPS classrooms. 
      • Educators can also receive a lane change if they got the credits and qualifications to teach concurrent enrollment classes. We hope this will address the challenge in recruiting and rewarding teachers who are eligible to teach concurrent enrollment courses.
      • DPS and DCTA reached a verbal agreement on what will be called the Distinguished Schools incentive, which will award teachers and SSPs in up to 10 schools a $1,000 incentive annually. We will no longer have a bonus connected to the School Performance Framework -- instead, the Distinguished Schools incentive will focus on schools that are doing great and innovative work around supporting the “whole child.”

    Next Steps

    • There are four all-day sessions between now and our deadline to reach an agreement on Jan. 18. Click herehere to see the full meeting schedule.

    I encourage all of our teachers and SSPs to stay tuned to Teacher Weekly and greatteachers.dpsk12.org for updates on what DPS and DCTA are proposing -- and if you have questions, concerns or ideas, please let us know at greatteachers@dpsk12.org

    Warm Regards,


  • Dec. 12, 2018 - Important Updates on Compensation Negotiations

    Dear Colleagues, 

    I wanted to share an update on last night’s negotiation meeting with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA). At last week’s session, DPS presented a proposal to add millions of new dollars to base pay and move millions of dollars from bonuses to base pay. This week, we continued to move forward boldly in order to reach an agreement. 

    A summary of our proposal can be found here. A few highlights of the proposal include that it: 

    • Adds $11 million to educator pay.
    • Invests more money in predictable annual salaries and less in one-time bonuses.
    • Commits incentives for educators serving in our highest poverty schools and our hardest-to-fill jobs, such as teaching math and science. About 75% of teachers would earn one of these bonuses.

    Better support for every stage of an educator’s career.

    • Increases a new teacher’s starting salary to $45,000, higher than Cherry Creek, Aurora, Jefferson County, Adams Five-Star and Littleton.
    • Grows our tuition reimbursement and/or loan forgiveness by 25% so educators are eligible for up to $1,000 per year for a maximum of $5,000.
    • Offers a new option that provides a lane change salary increase of $3,500 after an educator serves for 15 years in DPS classrooms.
    • There are no salary caps, which are common in other districts, so DPS educators can receive continuous growth in pay for 30 years. For example, a DPS teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 20 years of experience in our schools would earn a salary of $71,750. In Boulder, that teacher would earn $49,665 because their salary growth is capped after five years unless the teacher starts working toward a master's degree.

    Simple bonus incentives in key targeted areas.

    • $2,500 a year for educators in all Title I schools (paid monthly).
    • $2,500 a year for educators in hard-to-staff roles (paid monthly).
    • $2,500 retention bonus (paid in fall) for teachers who return to the 30 highest priority schools.

    About 75% of educators will receive at least one of these incentives, and 25% will receive two of these incentives.  

    DCTA proposed some new language on the what is now called the “Distinguished Schools Incentive” and I am pleased to report that we agreed in principle to the new language and ideas. In particular, we agreed in principle that this incentive will be based on Whole Child metrics rather than on the SPF. I believe we will finalize an agreement soon. Additionally, last week, we signed a tentative agreement on the hard-to-fill/staff incentive.

    If you missed last night’s session, you can see it on DPS TV here. We will continue to share updates with you in Teacher Weekly, and you can find all the latest information on the DCTA Updates page on The Commons. 



    Ron Cabrera, PhD

  • Dec. 5, 2018 - Negotiation Updates

    Dear Colleagues,

    Last night, DPS and DCTA continued our negotiations on how to simplify and improve our compensation system for teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs). DPS shared a proposal with DCTA that invests millions more in base pay and would move all current employees onto a transparent and competitive salary schedule. Here are some of your questions answered:

    Is DPS investing more in teacher compensation?
    Absolutely! Last year, we signed an agreement to invest $45.3 million in teacher compensation to guarantee raises for three straight years. Last night, we committed to increase that commitment by $11 million new dollars.

    How will DPS finance this $11 million of new money?
    DPS will finance $4 million of the investment through Governor Hickenlooper’s proposed 2019 budget increase in K-12 funding through a reduction in the “budget stabilization factor” or “negative factor.” The remaining $7 million will be funded by budget cuts and efficiencies.

    How does DPS propose using this new money?
    The $11 million will be spent to increase base pay for teachers and to pay for the transition of teachers to the new salary schedule. This means that all current teachers and SSPs who are currently making a salary below the final salary table that DCTA and DPS agree on will receive compensation increases that ensures their pay matches the new salary table.

    How does this proposal improve predictability and transparency?
    DPS agrees with teachers’ requests for greater predictability and transparency in their salary. For this reason, we have shared with DCTA some examples of what the salary table could look like and have asked for their input in where exactly we invest the additional money. See one example here, but please note that numbers will likely change as we continue to negotiate.

    How is DPS working to invest more in base pay and less in variable bonuses?
    In the last month, DPS has proposed moving $3.5 million from bonuses into base pay. This is in addition to the $11 million investment of new money.

    How does this proposal value teachers’ ongoing education?
    Our latest proposal has five lanes for educators to increase their base salary by earning any of the following:

    • Advanced license
    • Masters degree
    • National board certification
    • Four years of Distinguished evaluation ratings (not consecutive)
    • PhD degree

    How does this proposal prioritize retention?
    Our proposal has fewer lanes because we would prefer to invest in “steps,” which honor teacher retention. Additionally, we don’t want teachers to have to invest in additional degrees in order to have a fair salary. Since the implementation of ProComp, employees have been able to increase their salary through getting an advanced degree and we are not proposing any changes to that practice.

    As I shared in my last update, I am optimistic that we will reach an agreement with DCTA before the ProComp agreement expires in January, and we have already begun making progress. I am pleased to report we signed a Tentative Agreement on hard-to-staff assignments.

    We will continue these discussions at the next meeting on Dec. 12 and will keep sharing updates in this newsletter and on the DCTA Updates page on The Commons.

    Ron Cabrera, PhD

  • more