Public school teachers in Denver began their first strike in 25 years on Monday in an effort to increase educators’ pay.
Hundreds of teachers took to the Denver streets on Monday morning, many carrying signs and chanting, video footage of the strike shows.
Students also walked out of a number of high schools to join the picket lines.
Wow, talk about a show of support. There are more students standing out here for their teachers than the teachers themselves. They plan to walk over and join teachers marching on sidewalk in front of school. pic.twitter.com/Xm9i1k1hgq
— Emily Allen FOX31 (@EmilyAReports) February 11, 2019
The strike comes after more than a year of failed negotiations between the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and Denver Public Schools (DPS).
The strike is expected to affect 71,000 students in the district’s 147 schools, according to Colorado Public Radio. And DPS canceled classes for about 5,000 preschoolers, according to local Fox-Affiliate KDVR.
The district has reportedly hired 300 new substitute teachers to keep schools open during the strike.
As of Saturday night, DCTA was proposing a $28.5 million package for teacher compensation, and the district countered with an offer of $23.3 million, according to reports.
Teachers are reportedly opposed to the district’s proposal to increase bonuses instead of increasing base pay, saying it would lead to high turnover. The district, meanwhile, says that those bonuses provide incentives key to improving performances of poor and minority students.
“We will strike Monday for our students and for our profession, and perhaps then DPS will get the message and return to the bargaining table with a serious proposal aimed at solving the teacher turnover crisis in Denver,” said union president Henry Roman in announcing the strike.