"We are incredibly disappointed that on the last day of bargaining and less than two days before a strike, they doubled down on one-time incentives teachers do not want, and the data shows do not work to keep teachers in their schools", said Roman. "We presented an updated proposal that responds to what we heard from our teachers ... and significantly increases the base pay for all of our educators". Similar strikes and protests have occurred in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Taking their place among a national awakening of public school educators demanding better treatment of their profession and better schools for their students, thousands of teachers went on strike Monday after 15 months of negotiations stalled.
"Over the years", education reporter Jenny Brundin said on NPR's "Morning Edition" Monday, the system "became really complicated and unpredictable". She acknowledged reports of students dancing and chanting in the hallways of one high school before walking out.
Nick Onofrio, a parent of a third-grader said he is disheartened by the hostility expressed between the union and the school district.
Cordova says the district will review that plan for individual schools each day. She says she is hopeful the district and teachers union can come to an agreement quickly. Other students joined hundreds of teachers and union members in a march past City Hall that held up traffic in downtown Denver.
CNN shared stories on Monday of the struggles of some Denver teachers, including a physical education teacher who drives a Lyft on off-hours to cover his bills, a Spanish teacher who hasn't made enough in nine years of teaching to start a savings account, and two teachers who are considering leaving the field because they can't afford to live on their paltry salaries.
"It is a problem for our kids not to have their teachers in class", Cordova said. Classes for 5,000 preschool children have been canceled.
Central office employee Alex Maddock, who will be serving in the schools during the strike, echoed concern about the animosity between the union and the school district.
With the "ProComp" system, launched in 2005, teachers obtain raises for helping students achieve higher test scores or for working in more hard schools.
The Denver walkout joins a wave of teacher activism in the US since last spring, when teachers walked off the job in West Virginia. As required by state law, teachers gave notice last month that they planned to strike.
The majority leader in the Colorado house, Alec Garnett, said the strike underscored the need to boost funding of public schools across the state.
The strike is the latest action in a wave of teacher activism since last spring, when teachers walked off the job in West Virginia.
Denver teachers have gone on strike after failing to reach a deal with administrators on pay. In 2015, Seattle teachers started the school year by striking for five days. The WSWS Teacher Newsletter urges Denver educators to begin forming rank-and-file strike committees in every school and community, which are independent of both the unions and the corporate-controlled political parties. District negotiators said the plan moved DPS closer to the union financially - but the union decried it as "deceptive".
- An increased starting salary of $45,800 for new teachers. The district says schools will remain open during the strike and will be staffed by administrators and substitute teachers. Teachers voted by 93 percent to strike on January 22.
Just over half of the 4,725 teachers working in district-run schools called in absent for Denver's first strike in 25 years.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and Denver Public Schools met on Saturday in an attempt to reach a new contract after more than a year of negotiations.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association released a statement after the meeting saying the district's proposal lacks transparency and "pushes for failed incentives for some over meaningful base salary for all".