Friday, August 29, 2008

Wow! What a week in Denver!

Following an exhausting marathon of round the clock negotiations, I had the opportunity to NEA delegates to the DNC on Sunday. Our outgoing national president, Reg Weaver, recognized our entire bargaining team at the NEA caucus lunch. We had the opportunity to share our tentative agreement with leaders of the NEA and AFT during the week, and ended the week with our national officers and staff at Mile High Stadium. It was an incredible opportunity to be a part of history.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

3 Year Tentative Agreement Reached

After 3 around the clock days in mediation, we have reached a tentative agreement with DPS. The DCTA team slept about 2 hours a night. Click here to read our joint press release.

Thanks to our members for your support and encouragement.

In soldarity,

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Very Positive Rep Council Meeting

Thanks to the 90+ Association Reps who attended our meeting Thursday and committed themselves to helping get our story heard among parents and others in the community.
We are gearing up for a city-wide Unity Day on August 20th in an effort to help members, potential members, parents, and everyone understand what is at stake in this negotiation. The district’s bargaining team is depending on everyone being preoccupied with the beginning of school and frustrated at the lack of progress. We'd rather be able to put our full attention into back-to-school activities. For a lot of us, this is our favorite time of year, a time of great possibilities. We're ready, willing, and able to complete a settlement by the end of mediation on August 22nd.
As we discussed at the AR meeting, this is not just another squabble over what the COLA will be. If we are successful, we will make some modest salary gains, but if we accept the caps, quotas, and capricious bonuses DPS is trying to push off, we stand to lose $300,000 in career earnings and about $14,000 a year in retirement. Anyone who looks at the facts can see it's bad for teachers, bad for students, and bad for Denver Public Schools.
In short, we have a little to win, but a lot to lose.
Find out more about Unity Day activities from your Association Rep. Information and materials are posted on DCTA's website.
Let's have a day where the public hears the truth! Help us reach out to parents on August 20th.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Letter to Denver Teachers

Dear Denver Teacher:

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association finds it outrageous that Superintendent Michael Bennett continues to try to directly negotiate with teachers and try to sell the Denver Public Schools' bargaining positions to the public. His characterization of big increases for all teachers and sustained growth in salaries bears little resemblance to what they have advanced at the bargaining table.

First, at various times, they have described their proposal as a $9,000 increase for every teacher, a $7,500 average increase, and a $6,000 average increase. All of these numbers have been used to describe the same proposal – and all of them are wrong.

Second, Mr. Bennett's most recent letter to Denver teachers states that all teachers are eligible for all ProComp incentives throughout their careers. In fact, their proposal would cap participation in a teacher's 13th year. This is part of their goals of increasing salaries at the beginning of teachers' careers and diminishing retirement benefits for career teachers.

Third, Mr. Bennett's letter says that all payments are fully pensionable. But it will be difficult to predict what one's retirement will be in an environment where – as DPS has stated – a teacher's salary could go up or down by as much as $9,000 in a year.

Call your school board members and ask them to get the district to work with the union and the mediator. Tell them to develop an agreement that advances the purposes and programs of ProComp. Tell them it is essential to attract and retain qualified teachers for Denver's children.


Kim Ursetta
President, Denver Classroom Teachers Association

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Get the DCTA Bargaining 411...

We are committed to reaching a fair and equitable settlement with the district in mediation. Our bargaining team has been working hard on our "homework" assigned by the mediator. Get the latest run down of the proposals, and what they mean to Denver teachers by clicking here.