Denver district, union meet separately with Gov. Polis as he weighs intervention

Governor Jared Polis addresses the joint House and Senate committee on education, Jan. 30, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Governor Jared Polis addresses the joint House and Senate committee on education, Jan. 30, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

chalkbeat

By , Chalkbeat 

Representatives of the Denver school district and the teachers union met separately Tuesday with Gov. Jared Polis as the Democratic governor weighs whether to intervene in a pay dispute between the two sides.  

A brief statement from Denver Public Schools described a “productive conversation” and said Polis “is continuing to push both sides to talk.” Denver Classroom Teachers Association officials also met with Polis and had no comment as they left, The Denver Post reported.

The meetings came at the request of state labor chief Joe Barela to “discuss the path forward” and to review an informal analysis by state budget officials of each side’s proposal.

Barela on Monday sent a sharply-worded letter to DPS and DCTA officials, criticizing the most recent teacher pay bargaining session last Thursday as “political theater.”

DPS has asked state labor officials to intervene in the dispute over how — and how much — to pay the district’s educators. The union wants the state to stay out of it. Union members voted last month to go on strike, but the action has been on hold while Polis decides whether to get involved.

Union members and their supporters plan to gather Wednesday afternoon outside the Colorado State Capitol to deliver letters to Polis asking him not to intervene.

Polis has until Monday to decide whether to intervene, which could delay a Denver strike by as much as 180 days.

On Thursday, union leaders rejected the latest district offer, which called for investing $50 million more into teacher pay over the next three years. The offer represented movement by the district in the form of an additional $3 million for teacher pay in the 2020-21 school year, plus two additional years of cost-of-living raises.

Union negotiators called the offer a waste of time.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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