By Michael Abeyta
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Students at Englewood schools will have a long weekend. Seventy percent of teachers told the district they will not be at school on Monday. Classes have been cancelled for the day, because administrators weren’t able to find enough substitutes.
Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association, says she understands why teachers took the day off.
“Educators are fed up,” said Dallman, “whether it’s the classroom teacher or the school bus driver, we are fed up.”
That’s the message teachers are hoping to send to lawmakers Monday. They are planning to go to the State Capital to push legislators to do something about school funding.
Dallman says, “Colorado has, year over year over year, significantly underfunded our public schools.” She says underfunding hurts everyone. “That’s not okay and it shouldn’t be okay for anyone,” she adds, “We want our teachers focused in the classroom.”
Dallman says Colorado teachers lack the resources they need to provide a quality education, and that shortfall is made up by the teachers themselves. She explains, “On average, our members spend about $650 a year out of pocket to provide basic resources to their classrooms.”
She says inadequate funding is causing a teacher shortage. With more than 150 teachers taking a personal day on Monday, there aren’t enough substitutes to fill in. Dallman says, “That’s not a surprise to us, and I expect there may be other individual schools that may be having to do the same thing.”
Even though a cancellation might be tough on parents, Dallman wants them to remember teachers will be absent for a greater purpose. She says, “They’re doing so to advocate ultimately for the students in their classrooms.” Dallman adds, “We want to make sure they have the highest quality educator and that people want to become educators and work in public education.”
C.E.A. says they would also like to work with lawmakers for better pay and to keep the PERA retirement age lower than 65.