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Negotiators for Denver teachers and the school district celebrate after reaching a contract agreement.

After all-night talks, teachers end their strike in Denver

Contract agreement calls for average teacher raises of 11.7%

Denver teachers will end their strike after their union reached a contract agreement with the school district after an all-night bargaining session.

The Denver Post reports that the deal calls for the district to allocate an additional $23.1 million toward teacher compensation. That will pay for average raises next year of 11.7 percent; the new salary schedule starts at $45,800 a year and tops out at $100,000.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association walked off the job Monday. The strike by more than 2,600 educators left Denver’s schools short-staffed and preschools classes canceled. Substitutes and district administrators filled in, and students complained that they were being shown movies and not receiving much instruction.

Both the union and the district hailed the bargain struck early Thursday.

“This is a victory for Denver kids and their parents and our teachers,” says Rob Gould, the union’s lead negotiator. “Educators in Denver Public Schools now have a fair, predictable, transparent salary schedule. We’re happy to get back to work.”

District Superintendent Susana Cordova says she was pleased by the “collaborative way we worked together.”

“There was a recognition that we share many areas of agreement, and we worked hard to listen and find common ground on the few areas where we had different perspectives,” she says.

The agreement still must be ratified by a vote of the union’s full membership, then approved by the Denver school board.

Highlights of the deal include:

•An average 11.7 percent increase in base salary next year
•A 20-step salary schedule that starts at $45,800 a year and tops out at $100,000 for teachers with 20 years experience and a doctorate
•Full cost-of-living increases in the second and third years of the agreement
•The ability to use professional development units —  free in-district courses offered to advance teachers’ education — to move up lanes on the salary schedule

The deal also included a compromise on educator incentives; the union accepted the district’s increased $3,000 retention bonus for teachers in the 30 highest-priority schools — if a collaborative research study is conducted to determine whether the much-debated incentives work to retain Denver’s quality teachers.

The union voted on Jan. 22 to authorize a strike after its negotiations with the district failed to secure a new contract.

Video from Denver Public Schools:

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