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DPS teacher strike: Union outlines its next steps

The union is asking teachers to conduct business as usual for now.

DENVER — Click/tap here for the latest updates in the state's involvement in the DPS teacher strike.

Teachers are being asked to conduct business as usual in the classroom until a strike officially kicks off.

That was delay Wednesday after Denver Public Schools followed through with its plan to ask Gov. Jared Polis and the state labor department to intervene after the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, a union representing DPS teachers, said its teachers overwhelmingly voted to strike Tuesday.

"[We] encourage studying and continu[ing] projects that may be due during strike week," said Rob Gould, lead negotiator for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. "Don’t change things in anticipation of a strike." 

DPS teachers voted to strike after a weeks-long stalemate with the district stemming mostly from a simmering disagreement about salary.  

DPS is offering $26.5 million in raises – something that district Superintendent Susana Cordova has said averages out to around 10 percent per teacher. But the union is asking for an additional $8 million, which they say is just 1 percent of the district’s budget. 

Gould also said it's up to the parents whether they should send their kids to school or not.

"There is no firm position," he said. "Safety is a primary factor that parents should consider."

Gould outlined the next steps the union will take in the coming days, ahead of Monday:

1. The Union will communicate with teachers to clarify conflicting information. 

"Some teachers are scared they will lose their jobs or benefits by striking and he says that’s not true."

2. The strike captains will organize.

"Every school has a strike captain who will organize each school’s group of teachers for Monday which includes making signs and how to communicate with parents on strike days."

3. Picket lines will form outside every school in the mornings (at least).

"They may be moved to different rallying points later in the day. The picket lines will be maintained from the 'crack of dawn until dark.'"

4. Picketers will also line up outside the school district office.

The more visible locations such as major high schools will likely have more picketers. 

5. The strike will last 'as long as it takes'.

"Even as they prepare for a strike, the negotiation team is ready to go back to the bargaining table at any moment the district reaches out to them."

PRIOR DPS TEACHER STRIKE COVERAGE

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