Denver public school teachers considering strike amid pay dispute

Denver teachers considering strike during pay dispute

DENVER (KMGH/CNN) - Teachers in Denver are voting on whether they should walk off the job and strike as negotiations on teacher salaries gave come to a standstill.

Years of teaching experience is being met with years of frustration.

“Now is the time,” Amber Wilson said. “Enough is enough.”

Wilson said she's tired of dealing with financial instability as a teacher in Denver Public Schools.

"I didn't expect to make a lot of money, but I didn't expect in my late 30s and early 40s to still be waiting on baited breath for my paycheck to come at the end of the month," Wilson explained.

Teachers filed into a local church to vote after a late night of unsuccessful compensation negotiations.

There's an $8.5 million difference between the proposals outlined by DCTA and DPS.

“It’s only one percent of their entire budget, less than one percent, to give us that 8 million that would help us get our teachers where they need to be,” Wilson stressed.

Superintendent Susana Cordova said there are certain places where the sides agree, but also pointed out areas where the district is not willing to change its mind.

"The differences in our proposals and where we will not compromise is on ensuring that we have funds to pay the teachers who work in our highest poverty schools," Cordova said.

The current proposal from DPS would raise teacher salaries on average by 10 percent. But some teachers believe that is still not enough.

“It’s been difficult just knowing that if a strike does come to pass that we are going to have no income for the period that that lasts,” teacher Mark Mallaney said

Cordova said the district is willing to continue negotiations in the meantime.

"We think it is critically, critically important that we get to an agreement," she said

More voting is scheduled for Tuesday. If a strike is approved, it would be the first such strike in Denver Public Schools in 25 years.

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