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Resources available for parents during teacher strike

Resources available for parents during teacher strike

The move comes after failed negotiations with Denver Public Schools administrators over base pay.

Denver teachers are set to walk out today in their first strike since 1994. Administrators were so overwhelmed dealing with assorted troubles at the school that they were essentially unavailable to help teachers at the classroom level, even when scenarios involving students, parents or guardians turned potentially risky.

In one school, students danced and chanted in the hallways as they walked out to demonstrate to support their teachers.

- $23 million in new funds next year for teachers' base salaries. Denver Public Schools is also scheduled to discuss the strike at 11:30 a.m.

"We are working to make it as transparent as possible", Cordova said.

The Denver walkout joins a wave of teacher activism in the USA since last spring, when teachers walked off the job in West Virginia.

Other recent teacher demonstrations, like the teacher walkout in Los Angeles last month, focused on more than pay, such as reducing class size and other issues more directly related to students.

Denver schools remained open on Monday and district officials said administrators and substitute teachers would staff them.

"You are unique here in Denver because you are just saying, 'Can I just know what I'm being paid?'" Lily Eskelsen Garcia declared at a rally outside the state Capitol.

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The Denver Classroom Teachers Association, which represents about 5,700 teachers and other school professionals, has been pushing the Colorado school system to invest more in base pay and to curtail the bonus structure. The city's school district gives bonuses ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 a year to teachers who work with students from low-income families, in schools that are designated high priority or in positions that are considered hard to staff, such as special education or speech language pathology.

The union pushed for lower bonuses for high-poverty and high-priority schools to free up more money for overall teacher pay and criticised the district for spending too much money on administration. "We presented an updated proposal that responds to what we heard from our teachers ... and significantly increases the base pay for all of our educators". The city is notoriously expensive, but the state-long a stronghold of Democratic Party politics-is presently 39th in per-pupil spending with teachers' pay ranked 50th in the country compared to other college-educated workers, with median salary at $52,480.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova lamented that union officials walked away from the negotiating table Saturday.

"He needs to be in school to get his education, but I need to make sure he's getting a quality education", Knupp said. "So I'm very happy that we will be back at the table".

The majority leader in the Colorado house, Alec Garnett, said the strike underscored the need to boost funding of public schools across the state.

The state says a walkout will cost about $400,000 a day and would consume 1 to 2 percent of the district's annual operating budget in about a week.

However, Polis said the state could decide to intervene - and suspend the strike for up to 180 days - if a walkout dragged on.

The state does not have the power to impose any deal on either side, but it can try to help the union and school district reach a deal and can require them to participate in a fact-finding process.