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Denver teachers, school district reach deal to end strike

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Denver teachers and school district officials reached an agreement early on Thursday after an all-night bargaining session to end a strike that disrupted classes for 92,000 students this week, the union said.

Although the agreement must be ratified by a majority of its members to take effect, teachers may return to classes as early as Thursday, the union said in a statement issued before the start of the school day.

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“This agreement is a win, plain and simple: for our students; for our educators; and for our communities,” Denver Classroom Teachers Association President (DCTA) Henry Roman, an elementary school teacher, said in the statement.

The marathon negotiating session, which began on Wednesday morning, ended with a deal that overhauls a pay system, known as ProComp, that teachers and the Denver Public Schools district had criticized as unpredictable, the union said.

“We’re pleased to share that DPS and the DCTA reached a tentative agreement on a new ProComp contract at about 6 a.m. on Thursday after negotiating through the night,” the school district said in a statement on Twitter and Facebook, using the acronym for Denver Public Schools.

All 207 Denver public schools will hold classes on Thursday, except prekindergarten, the district said. Schools have been staffed by substitute teachers and administrators throughout the strike.

The walkout, the first teachers’ strike in Colorado’s largest city since 1994, began on Monday after 15 months of contract talks broke down.

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It followed a wave of teacher walkouts in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia last year and a six-day strike in Los Angeles that was settled last month.

The tentative agreement includes base pay increases of between 7 percent and 11 percent on a salary schedule that has 20 pay steps, along with cost of living increases in the second and third years of the agreement, the union said. More details will be posted later, it said.

ProComp, or Professional Compensation, had been criticized by the union, as well as by schools Superintendent Anna Cordova, as offering unpredictable bonuses based on shifting criteria and resources. As a result, the union said many teachers were leaving Denver because their compensation failed to keep pace with the city’s cost of living.

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Both sides pledged to work more collaboratively throughout the term of the contract.

“This is actually the kind of conversation that we should be having all the time,” Cordova said on Wednesday during negotiations that were livestreamed over the internet in a highly unusual move.

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Reporting and writing by Peter Szekely in New York and Keith Coffman in Denver; additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Bill Barr denies giving the order to gas protesters for Trump photo-op

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America's top law enforcement office on Friday denied giving the highly-controversial order to gas protesters prior to a photo-op with President Donald Trump holding a Bible.

"Attorney General William Barr says law enforcement officers were already moving to push back protesters from a park in front of the White House when he arrived there Monday evening, and he says he did not give a command to disperse the crowd, though he supported the decision," The Associated Press reports.

"Barr’s comments in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday were his most detailed explanation yet of what unfolded outside the White House earlier this week. They come after the White House and others said repeatedly that the attorney general ordered officers to clear the park," the AP reported. "Shortly after officers aggressively pushed back demonstrators, President Donald Trump — accompanied by Barr, Pentagon leaders and other top advisers — walked through Lafayette Park to pose for a photo at a nearby church that had been damaged during the protests."

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Steve Schmidt breaks down why Joe Biden should be an ‘easy’ choice for moderate Republicans

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On MSNBC Friday, former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt criticized Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) claim that she was struggling over whether to support the president — and laid out why she should unequivocally decide she doesn't.

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Jeb Bush wonders why Republicans are not ‘stepping up’ to condemn racism

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Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) wondered on Friday why more Republicans were not standing publicly against racism.

"I have said it before and I will say it again now: the GOP must not tolerate racism. Of any kind. At any time," his son, George P. Bush, the Texas Land Commissioner posted on Twitter.

He urged local GOP officials in Texas to resign for sharing racist posts on Facebook.

Jeb Bush praised the post.

"Proud of my son," he posted on Twitter.

"Are other Republican elected officials stepping up?" he wondered.

https://twitter.com/JebBush/status/1269057568015605761

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