PARK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Teachers with the Park County School District are planning to strike Monday following failed negotiations with the school district. Members of the South Park Education Association said they will picket throughout the day starting at 7 a.m.
The union wants the contract that expired to be restored but with greater say over teacher salary and working conditions. The district and teachers failed to agree on a new professional agreement at two meetings last week. It was the first time the two sides have met formally since August and the school district cancelled talks in September.
“No educator wants a strike; we want to be in school with our students. Resolving this retention crisis, though, has always been about our students and keeping school employees here who love them and are committed to this fantastic community,” said Taya Mastrobuono, an elementary school teacher and president of the South Park Education Association.
SPEA is hosting a food and goods drive and has arranged childcare with the Boys and Girls Club of South Park for students and families in need. Childcare is available at 360 9th Street in Fairplay, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Families can pick up donated food at goods at the Fairplay Fire Station at 21455 U.S. Highway 285, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“SPEA members want to enter into a new professional agreement with the District rooted in mutual trust and respect, and centered on the welfare of Park County students,” said Mastrobuono. “The District can send a powerful signal that it too wants to stop the revolving door of educators in and out of our schools by quickly committing a portion of the considerable funds it holds in reserve into deserved educator compensation for this current school year. Our students’ futures are at stake and it’s time for the district to take action.”
If the strike happens, it will be the third teacher strike in Colorado in less than two years. Teachers in Pueblo went on strike for one week in May 2018, Denver Public Schools teachers went on strike in February.
For more information about the planned strike, visit speastrong.com.