Thursday, April 24, 2008

Unfair Labor Practices~ DPS at it again!

Yesterday afternoon, we had a great conversation with the district around issues of time. Our team was in a caucus discussing the district's proposal, when we received the letter from MFB, Jaime, and Tom. I'm still trying to be nice... so I won't tell you what our team had to say about it!

With negotiations, we're not supposed to discuss any details/ substance of proposals from DPS or DCTA. This is the second time in a week that DPS has violated this practice.

The DCTA Bargaining Team is committed to reaching a settlement by May 1st that includes comparable increases for the ProComp AND traditional salary schedule, along with addressing issues of time and discipline.

DPS should focus on the table talks instead of putting out rhetoric to our members.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Crunch time!

Well, we're a little more than a week out from our May 1 settlement deadline...

At our request/demand, the district scheduled more time this week to try and accomplish this goal. Our DCTA Bargaining Team has spent (literally) every day this past week working either as a team, with the district, or with our Board of Directors. We're bargaining with DPS on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Solidarity Day was a success last Friday! Here's a picture of the Amesse staff. Thanks to our rep, Eric Rapp, for his leadership! I also got a call from a high school rep... the principal was really perturbed that the staff was wearing their "I Support the DCTA Bargaining Team" stickers. The rep even got yelled at for it!
Keep those emails and unity activities coming...
Sign our petition at
Send a card or poster to our team via school mail to DCTA , or US Mail to 1500 Grant St. Suite 200; Denver, CO 80203.
ATTEND OUR RALLY! May 1st at 900 Grant Street!
United we stand!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Board of Education Meeting

I just wanted to say thank you to all of our members that came to show support for the DCTA Bargaining Team. Once again, we made our presence known, and our members did an amazing job speaking about the issues we are facing:
Josh Schacterle (Lincoln HS), Jennifer Portillo (DCIS), Sallie Baker (Hill MS), Margaret Bobb (Randolph School), Sarah Ziesenis (CEC), Dave Engelken (East HS), and Pam Knott (Holm Elem.)
I want to especially recognize the Bargaining Support Team, and Pablo Irlando-Wildman, DCTA UniServ Director, for doing such a great job organizing our efforts!

I gotta go wash cabbage- right Pam? (I guess you had to be at the Board Meeting to understand that one...)

Are you ready to RALLY?? See you May 1st!

DCTA School Proposal Submitted!

Based on what we know works for students, we unveiled our Promoting School Success initiative 9 months ago. Our teachers told us that the 3 key elements to improving student success are:

Safe and Orderly Schools-implementing a consistent discipline policy,
Interventions for Struggling Students- including the elimination of social promotion, and
Creating a Parent & Teacher Alliance- working together for students

We remain committed to providing a great public school for every child through a rigorous academic program so that we can prepare our students to become 21st century leaders.

To affirm this commitment, we are proud to announce that DCTA submitted a Letter of Intent today through the district's RFP Process. We are proposing to operate and manage a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Leadership Academy. It will be a school in which students will acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to succeed in a knowledge-based global economy and become 21st century leaders.

Our team will spend the next month talking with parents, community, and other experts as we develop our full RFP proposal. If approved, we would be the only teacher union run school in the state.

Read more about it at:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DPSRS/PERA "Combination"

On April 17th (my twins' 6th birthday, btw), a bill will be introduced regarding a "combination" (a.k.a. merger) of the DPS Retirement System with PERA! This legislation would permit the two systems to begin talking and attempt to reach an agreement by September 15th, with the systems combining by the beginning of 2009.

Third time's a charm?
As you may know, this has been attempted twice before, and failed. This time, the proposal is very different, and shows great promise. DPS, PERA, DPSRS, and DCTA/CEA have been working hard to get this bill finalized and introduced. Our lobbyists, Dan Daly and Tony Salazar, have spent hours working on the conditions necessary for a merger, and working with all of the parties to iron out the details of the legislation. We want to ensure that no DPSRS or PERA member is negatively harmed; creating a neutral transaction. DCTA & CEA are supporting this bill.

A special thanks to our DPSRS Trustees from DCTA and our ESP Coalition~ especially Amy Grant, DAEOP Co-President and Chair of the DPSRS Board of Trustees, and John MacPherson, DCTA-R President, current Trustee, and past Executive Director of DPSRS.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Right to Work... for LESS!

Yesterday afternoon, I was grocery shopping at my neighborhood King Soopers. (...with 4 kids, it's a very big event) As I was leaving, I was asked to sign a petition. Of course, I had to ask what the petition was for. The young man said it was "to stop those rich politicians from receiving $100,000 contributions." Intrigued, I actually read the petition. Unfortunately, the information he was giving was incorrect! The petition would prevent union members from having dues deducted from their paychecks. (BTW~ union membership and dues deduction is voluntary for DCTA/CEA members).

As a proud union member, I of course gave him a piece of my mind, and told him that the information he was sharing was untrue, and that I was going to report him. I left a message for our friend, Carmen Rhodes at FRESC. I then returned to King Soopers and asked to speak with the UFCW steward, Steph. She called the UFCW business agent to report it.

Union membership is a choice in Colorado, as is dues deduction. No one should be able to take the right to organize away from us. Check out CEA's website for more information at:

or UFCW Local 7 :

"In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining... We demand this fraud be stopped."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Denver UniServ at CEA Delegate Assembly!

We spent the last 3 days with our 600 closest colleagues at the 82nd Annual CEA Delegate Assembly! Denver was represented by 60+ members of DCTA, DAEOP, and DCTA-R. We debated new business items, heard from Governor Ritter, Commissioner Dwight Jones, Mark Udall, and our own Speaker Romanoff.

DCTA was quite active at the microphone, and I was told we were the loudest delegation :)
I guess we're getting pretty good at making our feelings known inside and outside of "Team NEA".

DUU ran and passed 3 new business items!
First, establishing a program to train our members to run for political office: We know that we could use more friends at the capitol!
Second, the establishment of a Human and Civil Rights protocol at CEA: This will ensure that issues related to diversity, minority community outreach, ELLs, ethnic minorities, GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender), social justice, and human & civil rights are addressed by our state association. Colorado did not have a "formal" forum for addressing these issues that we take very seriously.
Finally, we proposed an item that will develop a proactive education reform agenda at the state level (WOW!!). The Teaching and Learning Committee will be charged with publishing CEA's agenda for creating a Great Public School for Every Child. Using this white paper, CEA will promote our agenda on the hill, in the media, with coalitions, and in our locals. We, at DCTA, have long championed union led reform (with our colleagues at the Teacher Union Reform Network), and are thrilled that our colleagues across the state are now embracing this push for innovation.

We also had a wonderful tribute celebration for our Executive Director Bruce Dickinson following his receipt of the Lion Advocacy Award. Our delegation was joined by many past DCTA leaders and CEA colleagues.

In election news, Ann Franco (Colfax Elem.) was elected to represent us on the CEA Board, and Lloyd Bourdon (McGlone Elem.) was elected as her alternate on the Board. Mark Chavez (Boulder Valley EA) and I were re-elected to the NEA Resolutions Committee. Melissa Walsh (Westminster EA) and I were elected Co-Chairs of the Council of Association Presidents.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tonight starts the 2008 CEA Delegate Assembly! Approximately 600 educators from across the state will debate issues and set the direction of CEA for the coming year. Denver will bring 60 delegates. We will be honoring our long time Executive Director, Bruce Dickinson, with the CEA Lion Advocacy Award!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thanks, Bob! LOL

Did you like the "Thanks, Bob" commercial? Check this one out!

Bargaining Begins!

Today is Day 4 of Bargaining! Our DCTA Team has spent hours talking to teachers, and getting feedback regarding issues facing our teachers and Specialized Service Providers in DPS. Show your support for the team by signing our online petition at

Also, check out our Bargaining Update hotline at 303-831-6209.