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. This covers incentives such as hard-to-serve, hard-to-staff, and the Top Performing/High Growth incentives. This agreement is currently being negotiated because it needs to be renewed before January 18, 2019. In these negotiations, DPS and DCTA are working to improve ProComp based on feedback we have received from teachers, through our ProComp working groups and focus groups with teachers.
Current DCTA Updates
Jan. 17, 2019
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Jan. 15, 2019 - Negotiation Updates
Jan. 15, 2019
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.
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 email@example.com.
Make your voice heard. Please share your thoughts with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.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.
Jan. 11, 2019 - Negotiation Updates
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.
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.
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 email@example.com, and mark your calendars for a telephone town hall Wednesday, Jan. 16. Stay tuned on Monday for instructions on how to join the call.
Jan. 8, 2019 - Negotiation Updates
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.”
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dec. 12, 2018 - Important Updates on Compensation Negotiations
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
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
Nov. 28, 2018 - Negotiation Update
Last night, I joined DPS and DCTA as we continued negotiations on the structure of our compensation system for teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs). We were also joined by Jon Numair, a mediator who is supporting both parties in moving the conversation forward quickly and productively.
In yesterday’s meeting, DPS and DCTA made progress on a commitment to pay $2,800 a year for educators in hard-to-fill/staff positions. DPS also offered the opportunity to simplify and add transparency into the way ProComp is administered, which would have the additional benefit of introducing dollars to be applied to base-pay for teachers.
I continue to be encouraged by this progress -- granted, we all hope that the pace would be quicker, but that will come -- and optimistic that we will reach an agreement that ensures all educators at DPS receive fair and competitive compensation. DPS and DCTA are in agreement that the future compensation structure will mean that more money is invested in base pay and less in bonuses, and that we will have a transparent salary schedule -- so you will know what your compensation will look like over time.
While DPS is committed to honoring our five-year financial agreement with DCTA -- which includes that DPS will invest an additional $45 million into teacher compensation over the next three years -- I recognize more funding is crucial to our commitment to fair and competitive compensation for our educators. As I shared in my last update, we will continue to push for increased funding, and we are optimistic that the new governor's budget proposal -- to be released in January -- will include additional funding that can be used toward compensation. We are also committed to exploring additional avenues to increase funding for teacher compensation.
Last night’s meeting was the second of 10 negotiation sessions we have scheduled between now and when the ProComp agreement expires in January. We will continue these discussions at the next meeting on Dec. 4 and will keep sharing updates in this newsletter and on the DCTA Updates page on The Commons.
Nov. 14, 2018 - Negotiation Update
Yesterday, I participated in the negotiations between DPS and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) about the structure of our compensation system for teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs).
This was the first of 10 negotiation sessions that we have scheduled between now and when the ProComp Agreement expires in January. I am committed to continuing a productive dialogue with DCTA and to finalizing a new agreement by the deadline. I am optimistic that we will be successful and that DPS will be able to implement an improved compensation system for its educators.
For more information about how ProComp currently works, check out these pages here. Although this is the current structure, here are some areas where DPS and DCTA agree on what the future will hold:
- Every educator will see a raise in 2019-20 and DPS will provide competitive and fair compensation.
- More money will be invested in base pay and less in bonuses.
- DPS will have a transparent salary table that shows salary progression, so you know what your compensation will look like over your career.
Outside of negotiations, DPS is continuing to push for increased funding and we are optimistic that the new governor's budget proposal (to be released in January) will include additional funding that can be used toward compensation.
We will continue these discussions at the next meeting on Nov. 27 and will keep sharing updates in this newsletter and on the DCTA Updates page on The Commons.
Ron Cabrera, PhD
Oct. 31, 2018 - Negotiation Update
On Monday, DPS and Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) came together to continue talks on the ProComp agreement, which expires in January. The agreement will determine how to allocate the roughly $34 million DPS receives each year from the ProComp mill levy that Denver voters approved in 2005.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Ron Cabrera joined the discussion, heard feedback from DCTA representatives and teachers, and shared how he will bring his personal core values of moral purpose, respect and dignity, learning, and joy to the bargaining table. Dr. Cabrera expressed DPS’ commitment to listening, having a civil, respectful dialogue and finding common ground in order to reach an agreement that ensures all educators feel valued at DPS.
The teams will meet again in November to continue this work, and we will keep sharing updates regarding our conversations to improve teacher compensation.
Sept. 24, 2018 - Negotiation Update
Dear School Leaders and Educators,
As you heard from our communication last week, Amendment 73, also known as the Great Schools, Thriving Communities ballot initiative is up for a statewide vote in November. Tonight, DPS and the Denver Classroom Teacher Association (DCTA) met to discuss DPS’ proposal to add $36 million into teacher compensation if the amendment passes as well as what to do if the ballot initiative does not pass.
Under the DPS Proposal, the $36 million increase would be used to:
- Simplify ProComp and put more dollars into salary-building for all teachers.
- Increase salary building for veteran teachers beyond year 14.
- Increase starting salaries for all teachers to almost $50,000 and to almost $60,000 for our new teachers in our highest poverty schools.
- Double the current incentive for all teachers in high poverty schools to $5,000 a year.
- Allow teachers on the traditional salary schedule to join ProComp.
If Amendment 73 does not pass, DPS is committed to honoring the five-year agreement that DPS and DCTA worked hard to reach last fall. Under that contract, teachers will receive an estimated 15% increase in compensation over a three-year period: 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20.
In the negotiations tonight, DCTA asked for a deeper breakdown of the 15% increase. We provided the following details about compensation increases for these three years, pursuant to the five-year DPS-DCTA contract that expires in 2022:
- For 2017-18, educators received an average 6.05% increase in compensation. This included the $1,400 cost-of-living increase for all educators, ProComp base pay increases, the new $1,500 Title I incentive, and the increased contributions to PERA.
- For 2018-19, educators in ProComp received an average 2.2% increase in base pay increases from their ProComp base-building incentives (Professional Evaluation and PDUs). They also received a cost-of-living increase of 2.64%. The total average increase was therefore 4.84% before benefits (which is another .25%). This was higher than our non-licensed employees who received an average 3.4% increase.
- For 2019-20, educators will receive the 2.2% average base-pay increase from their ProComp incentives as well as a cost-of-living increase, which is estimated to be 2.34%. That would result in a total increase of 4.54%.
We recognize that increased funding is still critical in order to further increase teacher pay. The Board of Education voted last week to make teacher compensation the largest investment from any additional money received from Amendment 73.
After DPS shared its proposal, DCTA did not offer any counter-proposals but instead declared "impasse" -- a term in the ProComp agreement that means the two sides are stuck and need the support of a mediator. The district has been advocating for mediation for some time and welcomes the opportunity to move the conversation forward faster and more productively with the support of a mediator.
We will continue to keep you updated regarding our conversations to improve our teacher compensation in DPS.
Aug. 8, 2018 - Negotiation Update
We look forward to formally welcoming you back soon and hope you have had an enriching and restful summer. We look forward to starting the school year with you!
As you return to our schools, we want to keep you informed on matters that we know are important to you.
We’d like to update you on our negotiations today with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA). In the meeting, we acknowledged the importance of ensuring our educators get the compensation they deserve. It is critically important that we continue to attract and keep talented people in the teaching profession. And, we know the great challenges that the rising cost of living in Denver is posing for our educators.
If the ballot measure passes, we proposed to DCTA:
- To invest $36 million annually in teacher compensation in addition to increases already negotiated in the five-year DPS-DCTA Master Agreement reached last fall and ratified by almost 90% of teachers. As a result, teachers on average would see an increase in compensation of over 20% over three years.
- To significantly increase the starting base pay so that teachers would start in 2020-21 at almost $50,000 a year, with teachers in our highest poverty schools starting at close to $60,000 a year.
- To better meet the needs of our highest-need students, double the current Priority Schools incentives (currently known as the Hard-to-Serve incentive) to $5,000 a year for teachers in roughly 80 of our high-poverty schools.
- To increase the Title I schools incentive from $1,500 to $2,500 a year for teachers in Title I schools who do not qualify for the $5,000 incentive (roughly 40 additional schools).
- To significantly increase a teacher’s ability to build salary over time (with 20 years of service, a teacher would have the potential with incentives to earn $100,000 a year).
- To offer the opportunity to all teachers not currently in ProComp to join ProComp.
It is critical that DPS and DCTA spend the next three months working with teachers and the community in discussions about the Great Schools, Thriving Communities ballot initiative and its impact on students in Denver and our broader community. The passage of the ballot measure would dramatically change the discussion on teacher compensation. It is important that we all have clarity on whether the ballot measure has passed in order to move the negotiations forward.
In November, after DPS and DCTA know whether the ballot initiative has passed and after a new superintendent has been appointed, DPS and DCTA can return to finalize the ProComp Agreement. Please know that we will continue to operate under the current ProComp and Master Agreement during this time. As you may recall, last fall, DPS and DCTA signed a five-year master agreement. The new deal established raises for teachers in the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. It was ratified by nearly 90% of DCTA members and unanimously approved by the DPS Board of Education.
With regard to this year’s budget of the $25 million in new funding that is available to district-run schools for the 2018-19 school year, all of it is going toward compensation increases, with the majority being for teachers.
Our top priority over the next three months is to work with teachers and the community on the potential impact of the ballot initiative. We look forward to resuming discussions and reaching agreement with our teachers once we know the outcome of the ballot measure in November.
June 21, 2018 - DPS Statement
We’re eager to work together with our educators to engage the community on our spending priorities. In Colorado, we fund our students at an average of $2,500 per student less than the national average. We know our kids deserve better than that. Our state needs to dramatically increase our investment in education, and all of our voices play a vital role in this effort. It's critical to be able to better compensate our professionals and equitably meet the needs of our students who live in poverty, are learning English or require special education.
We’re continuing to discuss with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) how to best spend the roughly $34 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. (The ProComp agreement is separate from the five-year master agreement that controls how much general fund funding goes into compensation and was ratified with an 89% positive vote last fall by our teachers. Under that agreement, DPS teachers received on average a 6.05% percent increase in compensation in 2017-18 and will receive a 4.65% increase in compensation for the 2018-19 school year.)
As we continue to discuss how to have a clearer, more predictable compensation system that fairly recognizes our teachers, now and over time, we must continue to work together to advocate for adequate and equitable state funding for K-12 education. Great Schools, Thriving Neighborhoods is a statewide initiative to increase education funding that will likely be on the ballot in the fall. This ballot initiative would raise taxes on incomes in excess of $150,000 and address some of the challenges with our property tax system to increase K-12 funding and provide more consistency in that funding. You can learn more about the initiative here.
May 16, 2018 - Vision Work Regarding ProComp Continues
We wanted to give you an update on our discussions with DCTA around ProComp. As a reminder, we reached a five-year Master Agreement with DCTA last fall, ratified with an 89% positive vote. (Details on what is provided for under the five-year Master Agreement are below.)
The two sides are starting conversations about how to best spend the roughly $34 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. This agreement is separate from the five-year master agreement that will not be renegotiated until 2022.
We're eager to discuss ProComp: how to have a clearer, more predictable compensation system that is consistent with the mill levy ballot measure that voters approved, that recognizes teachers who teach in the highest poverty schools, and which provides stronger increases over a teacher's lifetime. DPS' last proposal can be seen here.
We believe that our conversations with DCTA regarding ProComp can be collaborative and focused on working together to design the best compensation system in Colorado. We have great past examples of our collaborative work including our original design work that created ProComp and our most recent design-team efforts that included significant teacher outreach and feedback.
We believe that smaller focused discussions with DCTA can help move us forward, as it has done over many years. Smaller discussions, like the DCTA-District joint design team that originally worked to dream up ProComp, have historically demonstrated much more give and take, vulnerability and exploration of new ideas than have the public sessions. We are strongly urging DCTA to join us in a collaborative, mediated problem-solving approach.
Details on the five-year Master Agreement and its provisions for both this year and next year:
- An average 5.6% increase for 2017-18 (highest increase in the metro area). All teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs) received a $1,400 increase to their base pay on top of their other base-building incentives under ProComp (or steps/lanes for the traditional salary schedule). Additionally, Title I teachers who were not receiving the ProComp incentive (whether currently in ProComp or not) are now receiving an additional $1,500 a year.
- An average 4.6% increase for 2018-19. Next year, teachers and SSPs will receive their base-building incentives under ProComp (or steps/lanes on the traditional salary schedule) and a 2.64% cost of living increase. All other ProComp incentives, including the Title I incentive, will continue.
March 14, 2018 - Negotiation Update and FAQs
We are committed to reaching an agreement with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) to renew and extend ProComp, our professional compensation system for teachers, that offers teachers on average nearly $7,000 more every year in compensation than our old steps and lanes system.
For several years now, we have been working with DCTA and seeking your feedback -- through focus groups, surveys and more -- on how we can improve our compensation system. Through these channels, we have clearly heard three critical asks from you:
- Simplify the system.
- Make your compensation more predictable.
- Honor our commitment to educators working in our high-poverty schools.
Our proposal seeks to accomplish these goals, as well as the following:
- Honor experienced educators by ensuring they can continue to grow their base pay throughout their careers, including beyond year 13.
- Empower educators to grow their pay as master educators in multiple ways, such as by pursuing advanced degrees or advanced licensure, achieving national board licensure or through multiple years of distinguished service.
- Honor the language of the mill levy ballot, which reflects our obligations to Denver's voters to provide our teachers a professional compensation system.
We have significant concerns, on the other hand, with DCTA's current proposal, which would take millions of dollars in compensation away from teachers in our high-poverty schools. We think we ought to be doing all we can to increase our supports for teachers in our high-poverty schools, not reducing them. In addition, by increasing salaries more than $30 million above the current budget, the DCTA proposal would result in the loss of hundreds of teaching jobs and consequent increases in teachers' class sizes.
We share teachers' aspirations for both higher compensation and lower class sizes. In the current funding environment where Colorado continues to rank so far below the national average in K-12 funding, however, it is simply not possible to raise salaries by tens of millions of dollars without having a significant negative impact on class sizes.
We know you may have questions about what to expect as DPS and DCTA go into a full day of negotiations today on the ProComp agreement. To support, here are responses to the most common questions we've heard:
Q: What is being negotiated this week?
A: DPS and DCTA signed a five-year Master Agreement in September. This includes the financial agreement that governs how much money goes into teacher compensation for the next three years. The financial agreement was negotiated to maximize the amount we put into teacher compensation based on the amount of money we receive from the state.
As you likely know, our state funding is roughly $2,500 per student below national averages and the district has been underfunded by roughly $700 million over the past six years through the state's so-called "Negative Factor." In our Master Agreement, we prioritized teacher pay as much as we could --- providing an average annual pay increase of 5.6%, the most generous in the metro area.
In contrast, the ProComp negotiations are about how we use the $30 million that we receive in taxpayer dollars to support our system of professional compensation. These are the questions we are negotiating: How do we allocate these dollars to pay for the base and non-base incentives? Do we need all the incentives? Should some of them be combined?
Q: What is DPS proposing during these negotiations?
A: We will be sharing with DCTA a compensation approach that we feel is a win for teachers based on current budget. Our proposal does the following:
- Increases incentives for our high-poverty schools.
- Allows you to grow your base pay without having to complete a Professional Development Unit (PDU). You can continue to do PDUs to grow your practice, but it would not be required to grow your pay.
- If you have four years of Distinguished evaluations, you could see an increase in salary equivalent to what you receive for getting a master's degree or National Board certification (currently $3,752).
- Provide teachers on the traditional salary schedule the opportunity to opt into ProComp.
Q: What is DCTA's proposal?
A: DCTA has proposed that we return to a step-and-lane system, with a salary table that would cost more than $30 million a year to implement. Additionally, DCTA is suggesting that we dramatically decrease the compensation earned by our teachers and specialized service providers (SSPs) in high-poverty schools.
As you know, to protect funding for our schools, our central school-support teams have been absorbing all budget reductions necessitated by years of declining state funding. To fund an additional $30 million in the proposed salary table would force us to cut funding to schools, resulting in increased class sizes, reductions in teachers and decreasing whole child supports. That would have very negative consequences on our kids and our schools.
While we work alongside DCTA to advocate for better funding for education in Colorado, we will not give up on our Shared Core Value of Equity, and we will not agree to any proposal that reduces the compensation earned by teachers and SSPs in our high-poverty schools.
Best,Tom Boasberg Susana CordovaSuperintendent Deputy Superintendent
Aug. 30, 2017 - Negotiation UpdateDear Teachers,
As many of you know, our contract with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) will expire at midnight tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 31, unless the parties reach agreement to renew and extend the contract. Although we are concerned about how far apart we remain on the extensive changes to the contract that the DCTA is seeking, we are fully committed to reaching agreement to renew the contract. We are entirely willing to renew and extend the language in the current contract.
Commitment to reaching a contract
We believe that we are a stronger district -- and one that can better recruit and retain teachers -- when DPS and DCTA are united in addressing the challenges that you, our teachers, face. Although negotiations can create tension in that relationship due to the tough nature of these conversations, we want to work closely with you to improve your experience in DPS. We are fully committed to ensuring that the rights and protections teachers currently have continue, and we believe that renewing and extending the contract is the best way to do that.
Commitment to increased compensation and improved health care benefits
Our compensation offer this year is the most generous in the metro area, with a 5.6% increase in our spending on teacher compensation -- what equates to an average raise of $3,000 per teacher. This includes:
- A $1,100 increase in base pay for every teacher on top of the base pay increases that you receive through ProComp or the traditional salary schedule.
- Extension of the hard-to-serve ProComp incentive ($2,649) for all of our Title I schools. For the first time, it will also be provided to our teachers on the traditional salary schedule. This extends the incentive to another 1,200 teachers, which means that approximately 70% of our teachers will receive this incentive.
For benefits, we have proposed decreasing the cost of any medical plan that covers children by $100/month or $1,200 a year.
If our offer is accepted, it will mean that over the most recent five years, our teachers will have received an average pay increase of almost $14,000 (or nearly 27% in total compensation).
Commitment to strongest teacher supports
We will continue the strongest set of teacher supports in the metro area, including:
- Lowest student-teacher ratio: Denver's student-teacher ratio of 15:1 is well below that of neighboring districts.
- Most protected time for teachers: DPS leads other districts in the most protected, non-classroom time for teachers. This includes a 45-minute duty-free lunch every day plus at least 300 minutes of self-directed planning time per week for elementary/ECE-8 teachers and 345 minutes per week for secondary teachers.
- Greatest number of non-student contact planning days for teachers. Our proposal includes 12.5 non-student contact days while most districts have 10 days.
Commitment to the Whole Child
We agree with DCTA that support for the Whole Child is essential. For that reason, we went to our voters last year to secure $15 million annually to expand our supports. This translates into schools hiring additional nurses, counselors, social workers and others in service of their students and families. It will also help maintain our leadership in the metro area of having the lowest student-to-teacher ratio and the strongest social-emotional supports for students. However, we recognize that there is so much more that we can do in this area and we would be happy to work with DCTA and our teachers on how to strengthen our whole child supports, including more paid teacher home visits, nutritious meals and physical exercise for students, and social, emotional, physical and mental health resources.
Learn more about our commitments to teachers here.
As we work through the final days of our negotiations, thank you for your continued dedication to Denver's kids. We hope our contract will be signed Aug. 31, and we know our work to provide the best schools for our students and supports for our staff will continue for years to come. We commit to working alongside you every step of the way.
Aug. 15, 2017 - Teacher Compensation ProposalDear Teachers,We want to share our compensation proposal that we gave Monday, Aug. 14 to the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) during our contract negotiations. We are committed to working with DCTA to get to contract agreement as soon as possible.Our proposal will mean an average annual compensation increase of more than 5% for teachers in the coming school year. It will be our largest salary increase in a decade and will be the highest increase for teachers in the metro area. And, it will target resources at our high-poverty schools. Highlights include:
Our proposal represents another year in which teacher salary increases will outpace the increase we received in state education funding. We know that the cost of housing is rising significantly faster in Denver than increases in state funding, and this continues to be an acute challenge for all of us. It is why it is so important that we advocate together for Colorado to improve its school funding.We make the following four commitments to you, our teachers, now and moving forward:
- $1,100 increase for every teacher, in addition to all steps, lanes and ProComp incentives.
- Expansion of the Hard-to-Serve Incentive ($2,649) to all teachers -- both ProComp and traditional salary schedule teachers -- in all Title 1 schools, which will result in 1,200 additional teachers receiving this incentive for working in our high-poverty schools.
- Additional planning day at the beginning of the year to give teachers more planning time.
- Beginning next year, an additional $1,200/year in insurance premium subsidies for teachers who select insurance plans that cover their children.
- The district will pay the entire increase of .5% in contributions for PERA, the Public Employees Retirement Association.
- Commitments in 2018-19 and 2019-20 that teacher salaries will keep pace with inflation.
Learn more about these commitments here.How DPS teacher pay compares to other districtsWe are committed to being the top district, or at a minimum in the top two districts, in teacher compensation in the Denver metro area. Our peer districts, the largest in the state after DPS, are Adams 12, Aurora, Cherry Creek, Douglas County and Jefferson County. Here's how we stack up:
- DPS will support our teachers with the lowest student-teacher ratios, strongest social-emotional supports for kids and greatest resources in our highest-needs schools.
- DPS will provide the highest-quality professional development, feedback opportunities and growth supports for our teachers.
- DPS will continue to invest in the nation's most extensive teacher leadership program, providing opportunities for strong teachers to lead in their schools without leaving the classrooms they love.
- DPS will be at the top or, at minimum, in the top two districts in terms of teacher compensation in the Denver area, and we will continue to fight at the state level in Colorado to increase inadequate education funding.
Incentives for Teaching in DPS Beyond PayWe know money matters, but we also know there's more to any position than the pay. We are committed to creating conditions for success where it matters most -- with our kids.
- Across experience and education levels (i.e., steps and lanes), Denver teachers on average have either the highest (in most cases) or second-highest compensation among teachers in our peer districts.
- Thanks to ProComp, our first-year teachers right out of college can earn more than any other novice teacher in our peer districts. For example, a new teacher would be eligible for a $41,389 base salary, $1,000 in tuition/student loan reimbursement, $2,649 for working in a Hard-to-Serve or Title 1 school and another $2,649 for filling a Hard-to-Staff position, plus $1,500 for serving in one of our highest-priority schools and $779 for attending our New Educator Welcome Week. That equals $49,966.
- Thanks to Denver voters, our teachers can take on a variety of leadership and coaching roles, without having to leave the classroom, and earn up to an additional $5,000 per year.
Getting to an Agreement with DCTAGiven the difficulty and conflict in the current round of negotiations, DPS requested in March and multiple times since that the two sides use an independent mediator to help us come together, as we have done in almost all our past negotiations. Up until this week, however, DCTA has repeatedly refused mediation. The lack of mediation has hampered our progress.We hope that we can begin using mediation soon to bridge our differences and get to agreement on a fair and comprehensive contract for our teachers.Thank you for the work you do every day for Denver's kids.Best,Tom Boasberg Susana CordovaSuperintendent Deputy Superintendent
- Lowest student-teacher ratio: Denver's student-teacher ratio was 15 in 2016-17, according to state data, significantly lower than the student-teacher ratio in our peer districts: Adams 12 (20), Aurora (18), Cherry Creek (18), Douglas County (20) and Jefferson County (20).
- Most planning time: DPS leads other district in the most protected time for teachers. This includes a 45-minute duty-free lunch every day plus at least 300 minutes of self-directed planning time per week for elementary/ECE-8 teachers and 345 minutes per week for secondary teachers. Click here to see how this compares to other districts.
- Strongest social-emotional supports for kids: Thanks to Denver voters, we are investing an additional $15 million in the coming school year to help all schools better meet the social and emotional needs of their students.