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'I Shed A Lot Of Tears': DPS Teachers Take Day To Vote On Possible Strike

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) failed to reach an agreement last night on teacher pay. Saturday, teachers began voting on a possible strike.

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Amber Wilson (credit: CBS)

"I shed a lot of tears last night, but I'm here this morning and I'm ready to do what we need to do," said teacher Amber Wilson.

She teaches English at Thomas Jefferson High School and says she is ready to strike.

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"They spent $4 million in bonuses for administrators. We are apart by $8 million, they could have given us something, and they didn't, and we're done. Enough is enough. It's time to make a stand."

Fellow teacher Rebecka Hendricks is also ready to strike.

"I'm really excited that teachers are standing up for themselves," she said.

She teaches Math at Emily Griffith High School.

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"Our teachers are having a difficult time with the wages that we have, living in Denver, making ends meet, in a place where the cost of living is so high."

While the two sides agree that base pay for teachers needs to be higher, they disagree on incentives and retention bonuses for some teachers and administrators in Denver's 30 highest poverty schools.

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"It's largely comprised of one-time incentives that are mostly determined by factors outside of the teacher's control," said Henry Roman, President of the DCTA.

He said this has caused paychecks to be inconsistent and difficult to decipher.

"Paychecks are like math problems that sometimes payroll can't even explain."

"If it is a positive vote for a strike, we will immediately request intervention from the Governor's office," said DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova.

DPS Superintendent Talks About Failed Negotiations With Teacher's Union

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova talks about failed attempts at negotiations with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

Posted by CBS Denver on Saturday, January 19, 2019

She remains hopeful the help two sides can come to agreement, but if they can't and teachers strike, she insists they are ready.

"School is going to stay open, I want to be really clear: We will keep schools open."

The soonest teachers would walk off the job would be Jan. 28.

LINKS: Denver Classroom Teachers Association | Denver Public Schools Negotiation Updates

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