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DCTA-DPS bargaining over salary cuts streaming live today

Fans of public policy and public interest sausage-making might want to tune in at 10 a.m. this morning to watch what is schedule to be five hours of negotiations between the leadership of Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

Earlier this week, Denver Superintendent Susana Cordova notified the DCTA by letter that the two sides need to return to the bargaining table, 16 months after a strike brought DPS to a halt for three days in February 2019. As reported by Chalkbeat:

“We are seeking to work collaboratively with the DCTA to find a solution that addresses the unprecedented revenue shortfall,” Superintendent Susana Cordova wrote in the letter.

Both sides must agree to any changes to the contract, which resulted in substantial raises for teachers this year. And there isn’t much time. By law, the Denver school board must approve a budget for the 2020-21 school year by June 30.

On Monday, district officials presented a proposal that showed eliminating teachers’ annual cost-of-living raises would save the district $7 million, while freezing step increases — or the pay raises teachers earn for notching another year of service — would save $9 million.

“We signed the contract with the intention of fully living up to it,” said Mark Ferrandino, the district’s deputy superintendent of operations, “and unfortunately, no one predicted a pandemic.”