One year after Denver’s first teacher strike in a quarter century, public school educators are earning an average of $9,000 more per year. Local teachers say the strike motivated a November turnover in the city’s school board as well, replacing members in favor of school privatization with public education supporters. Teacher retention rates have also improved since the strike.
The strike saw more than 2,600 educators walk out of their classrooms for fair pay, beginning on Feb. 11, 2019. The labor action took place after the school district failed to meet educators’ demands during months of tense negotiations. Denver’s educators secured a new contract agreement after three days.
That contract called for an average 11.7% increase in educators’ base salary, which actually turned out to be 15% for returning teachers, according to Denver Public Schools. The district also promised to free up $17 million from the central administration budget for classroom resources. Though the pay increase has come through, teachers say the district hasn’t followed through completely on its promise to shift funding.
“It felt nice to have an actual monetary reward for the work I do, but it’s still frustrating when schools have to choose between a librarian or another classroom teacher and there’s still this lack of resources,” said Rachel Barnes, a Denver teacher who served as a strike captain last year.
The Denver Post, Feb. 10