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Denver teachers to get 2.6 percent average pay increase in 2016, and there may be more to come

Manual High School teacher Olivia Jones reviews classwork with a student in 2013.
Manual High School teacher Olivia Jones reviews classwork with a student in 2013.
M. Piscotty

Denver teachers will see a 2.6 percent pay bump on average under the district’s latest agreement with the teachers union.

State law requires Colorado districts to reassess teacher pay annually. This year’s deal adds $7.6 million in compensation, for a 2.61 percent average raise for most educators.

Teachers who are part of ProComp, Denver’s (complicated) merit pay program, will get a 1 percent bump in their base pay and be eligible for additional raises depending on their performance.

Teachers could see their pay increase even more, by an additional 1.1 percent, if voters sign off on a school funding package in November.

The average raise figure could mask wide disparities in the actual pay increases that individual teachers will get. Union officials suggested that teachers who are part of ProComp are likely to receive the bulk of the raises and one-time bonuses based on a variety of factors such as their 2015-16 evaluation.

“Our teachers won’t feel like it’s a pay bump,” said Pam Shamburg, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association’s executive director.

DPS’s Acting Superintendent Susana Cordova said in a statement that the raises were possible because the district is trimming 157 central-office positions — a move that is reducing the ranks of employees charged with helping teachers improve.

“After years of flat state funding, we are continuously challenged to pay our teachers as much as they deserve for their incredible work,” Cordova said. “Combined with the compensation packages from previous years, we are staying competitive with other urban districts in Colorado.”

This year’s raise is smaller than last year’s and, for teachers who are part of ProComp, earlier. Denver educators got a 6.12 percent average raise over the last school year, according to the district. You can see details of the compensation updates here.

The district and unions current contract expires Aug. 31, 2017. The ProComp agreement runs out Dec. 31, 2017.

Chalkbeat managing editor Philissa Cramer contributed.

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