DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Public Schools reached an agreement to extend its current ProComp contract with the teachers union through January 2019, but the struggle for a long-lasting agreement is not over.
For teachers, it comes down to being able to afford living where they work.
And we all know how expensive Denver is getting.
“I think it’s tough,” said teacher Claire Jiminez on Friday.
Jiminez teacher fourth and fifth graders at Teller Elementary. She says Denver is quickly becoming too expensive.
“I’m in a position where i can’t really afford to move,” Jiminez remarked, “but I can’t afford to live elsewhere because I can’t afford to pay a higher rent. So I feel really stuck in that place.”
Jiminez worries what the imbalance will do when it comes to attracting new teachers to the district. The profession, she said, is becoming a hard sell.
“We have lots of student teachers at our school coming from various universities. One of the conversations we have with them is, when you’re looking for jobs, make sure you look at what the cost of living is in those cities.”
Jiminez said new teachers with a bachelor’s degree make about $40,000 a year. She’d like to see first-year salaries near $50,000, but knows that probably won’t happen.
Still, she wants DPS to consider the essentials.
“We want to be able to pay our mortgages or our rent. We want to be able to put food on the table and we want to be able to provide for our family.”
In the classroom, meanwhile, parents are doing their best to help pick up the slack.
“They say whatever you need let us know,” Jiminez said. “If you need me to send in extra school supplies, if you need money so the kids can go on a field trip…they are so willing to go above and beyond. To help our teachers and our schools and our kids.”
Both sides – the teachers union and the district – will continue negotiating on a new deal during this recent extension.