ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Several thousand Denver public school teachers have walked off the job on Monday in the first strike in Colorado's largest school district in 25 years.
Rob Gould, the lead negotiator for Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said Denver teachers are looking for a 'fair and reliable pay system'.
Negotiations between the teachers' union and the school district broke down over the weekend over whether to prioritize general wage increases or incentives for teachers working in high-poverty areas and challenging classrooms. The school district planned to keep schools open by staffing classes with substitute teachers and administration staff.
Denver is the latest U.S. school district to face labor troubles with its teachers this year.
Last month, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest U.S. school district, ended a six-day strike by agreeing to a 6 percent pay raise for teachers, reduced class sizes and other demands.
The dispute has centered on a Denver Public Schools incentive pay package offering bonuses for educators to work in low-income schools or teach difficult subjects.
Administrators say it is needed to attract and retain quality educators.
But the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), which considers such incentives unpredictable, prefers a more traditional compensation package with a higher base salary and increases for teachers who further their education or training.