By Dillon Thomas
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Teachers in Jefferson County plan to join a growing movement to call upon state lawmakers to find more funding for public schools.
They plan to wear red on Monday and gather outside of their buildings. They said they will be wearing the shirts in solidarity to bring attention to school funding.
“We are wearing red, and we are walking in to the building. We are trying to send a message to our legislators to fund public education,” said Kathe Doherty, a Jefferson County teacher.
JeffCo will join Englewood School District teachers in their calls to action, as Englewood teachers plan to flock to the Colorado state Capitol Building on Monday.
“Colorado has year, after year, after year, significantly underfunded our public schools,” said Kerri Dallman, a high school teacher and President of the Colorado Education Association. “And, that is driving a statewide teacher shortage.”
Englewood teachers planned to use personal days to go to the capitol. The large amount of teachers who called in on Monday forced the district to cancel classes, due to lack of substitute teachers.
“Right now, in Colorado, we have 3,000 vacant teaching positions,” Dallman said. “That hurts students in the classroom.”
Teachers said they wanted not only increased pay, but better funding for their facilities. Some said closing corporate tax loopholes and credits would help resolve some of the state’s funding issues.
The Colorado Education Association said teachers in Colorado, on average, spend more than $600 of their own money each year to provide for their students.
“It is class size. It is mental health support. It is special (education) support. It is materials. It is playgrounds. It is textbooks,” Doherty said.
“It is time for the legislature, and really the citizens of Colorado, to make education a priority,” Dallman said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.