JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Jeffco Public Schools will be closed on March 19 due to a high number of reported teacher absences for the CEA Educator Day of Action. The district said the number of teaching staff who plan to be absent that day is beyond the number of substitutes who can cover classes.

(credit: jeffcopublicschools.org)

“Even with calling in as many substitutes as possible, we will not be able to run academic programs and the lack of sufficient staff creates an unsafe school environment,” the district said in an email to families, staff and the community.

The Colorado Educators Association is organizing the day of action for educators to rally at the Colorado State Capitol. Organizers of the rally want to raise wages for teachers and pass an initiative for a statewide ballot issue in 2020 to address the education funding system. CEA is also calling on state lawmakers to eliminate the Budget Stabilization Factor by 2022, which is a measure of how far below pre-recession levels schools are funded.

School will be canceled on March 19 for all Jeffco students, including preschoolers. It will still be a regular workday for all district employees. Charter schools may not be closed, according to district officials.

“We understand that this unexpected change is inconvenient for families. We made this decision as soon as we reached the threshold where we could not reasonably fill the anticipated absences,” said district officials. “Please know we exhausted all resources before deciding to cancel school for students. Our intention in providing this notification now is to allow families to plan for this change.”

Employees who plan to attend the event at the state Capitol must use personal leave instead of sick days. Extracurricular activities will go on as planned, unless otherwise directed by schools.

Students will not need to make up the school day unless the district encounters more snow days before the end of the school year. So far, no other districts have announced closures due to teacher absences related to the rally at the Capitol.

Audra Streetman

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