Denver Teachers Strike Rally

Michael Sitkin, right, a teacher with Denver Public Schools, waves a placard as he marches with other instructors during a rally by teachers outside the State Capitol late Jan. 30 in Denver. Teachers have authorized a strike for the first time in 25 years but bargaining is set to resume Thursday while both sides wait on word to see if Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will enter into the pay dispute. 

Denver Public Schools is preparing for a teacher strike Monday, even as district administrators and union teachers plan to return to the bargaining table Friday to see if they can find a last-minute deal.

What does that preparation look like? The district is hiring more substitutes and deploying central office staff. Here’s a breakdown, by the numbers, of who might be striking, who will be working, how many kids will be affected, and what it will cost. All numbers come from the school district.


The number of teachers and “specialized service providers,” a category that includes nurses, counselors, and others, who are covered by the pay agreement being negotiated by the district and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. They are the ones who would strike — though it’s not mandatory they walk off the job. Teachers can choose whether or not to strike.


The number of employees who work at the district’s central office who will be deployed to schools during a strike to work as substitute teachers, supervisors, and in other roles.


The number of substitute teachers the district had in its substitute pool before the union voted to strike. These substitute teachers could be called up to serve in classrooms in the event of a strike.


The number of additional substitute teachers the district has hired since the strike vote.

$200 to $250

The daily amount of money the district has said it will pay substitute teachers during a strike.


The number of district-run schools that would be affected by a strike. (Charter school teachers are not part of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. Charter schools would operate normally.)



The number of students in grades K-12 who attend district-run schools.


The number of Denver students who attend charter schools.


The number of students in district-run preschool classes. The district has said it will cancel preschool classes during a strike because stricter state regulations make it more difficult to find substitute teachers for 3- and 4-year-olds.

$2 million

The amount of money the district normally spends per day to pay all of its teachers and specialized service providers. Teachers and others who go out on strike will not be paid.


The estimated cost per day of a strike. The $400,000 includes the money to pay substitute teachers, the cost of materials and lesson plans for those substitutes to teach, and the loss of preschool tuition revenue. The families of preschool students who pay tuition won’t be charged for the missed days.


Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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