Denver school leaders, teachers reach deal to end strike

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DENVER (KKTV) - Just as the Denver teachers strike entered its fourth day, the union reached a deal with the school district, our sister station KCNC reports.

Denver School District and teachers union Denver Classroom Teacher Association began talks Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning, reaching an agreement shortly after 6 a.m.

This is early enough in the day that teachers can return to their classrooms once the deal is ratified.

The deal will increase teachers' pay by up to 11 percent.

The strike began Monday morning after a last-minute deal failed over the weekend. Discussion centered on how much teachers should be paid, both in base pay and in incentives. Both sides were divided on how teachers can advance in pay and the size of bonuses for teachers working in high-poverty schools and in schools deemed high priority by the district.

The union is pushing for lower bonuses for those categories to free up more money for overall teacher pay. However, the district sees those bonuses as key to boosting the academic performance of poor and minority students. Some teachers say that overall funding for support services in those schools is more important.

A statement issued Saturday night by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association said: "Faced with a smoke-and-mirrors proposal that continues to lack transparency and pushes for failed incentives for some over meaningful base salary for all, the DCTA strike will commence for the schools Denver students deserve."

The Denver Public School superintendent also released a statement Saturday night:

": "I am extremely disappointed that the DCTA walked away from the table today instead of continuing to talk and work toward reaching an agreement. We presented an updated proposal that responds to what we heard from our teachers, aligns to our values of equity and retention, honors the ProComp ballot language, and significantly increases the base pay for all of our educators. Despite the union's refusal to continue negotiating, we remain committed to working with the leadership of the DCTA to end this strike."

The strike was the first for Denver teachers in a quarter-century.

Schools remained open during the strike, though many students opted to join the picket line too.