DENVER (CBS4)- Teachers in Denver were welcomed back to class with high-fives and excitement on Thursday morning. The Denver Classroom Teachers Union and Denver Public Schools reached a tentative agreement that called an end to the strike that began on Monday.
The strike in Colorado's biggest school district happened as a result of administrators and the union's failure to reach an agreement on salary and incentives issues after more than a year of bargaining.
It ended early Thursday morning after bargaining talks that started Wednesday, continued overnight and finally came to an end Thursday before daybreak.
Teachers returned to class Thursday, and preschool classes that were canceled when the strike started will resume on Friday. Many told us they were excited to get back into the classroom.
"We had an amazing outflow of support from the community, from parents, students. It was a teaching moment, you couldn't ask for anything more," said journalism teacher Mak Ajluni.
"Excited, excited and thankful. It's nice to be back, it'll be great to see the kids and I'm just really thankful and appreciative for all the hard work that alot of people put in to make this agreement happen," said psychology teacher Tommy Anderson.
In a statement, DPS said the agreement adds $23 million in teacher pay, including an average base salary increase of 11.7 percent next year and cost of living increases the following two years. Starting pay will be $45,800 a year. Incentives remain for teaching in the highest poverty and Title I schools as well as hard-to-fill positions.
The district said some of the extra money being put into teacher pay will come from cutting about 150 jobs in the district's central office and eliminating bonuses for those staffers.
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