Colorado teachers prepare for 'Day of Action'

Erika Holt
April 17, 2018

Many districts, meanwhile, reopened again Monday after the Oklahoma Education Association, the state's largest teacher's union, announced late last week that they were ending the ongoing walkout after nine days.

Englewood School District, outside the capital city, announced on Sunday that schools would be closed the following day as 70 percent of its teachers had indicated they wouldn't be working Monday.

- Teacher pay: The CEA says Colorado educators' average pay has dropped by more than 17% when adjusting for inflation over the last 15 years.

Teachers say it's about more than a salary raise.

"I work two jobs".

Teachers have been deeply critical of detrimental cuts to public education over the past decade, low classroom teacher pay, soaring class sizes and outdated textbooks. When the state House Majority Leader John Allen heard of this a year ago he said, "The idea that we are somehow torturing if the have a second job is ridiculous". And, they said those delegates would keep returning for as long as it takes.

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Besides asking more funding for schools, the union is also opposing proposed changes to the pension system for teachers and other public employees.

On Sunday, teachers in the Poudre School District were preparing for a busy Monday.

"We would rather be with our students", said Ashley, a teacher.

Lawmakers raised taxes to permanently increase educators' salaries by an average of $6,100 a year, increase classroom spending and give support staff a raise. If implemented the measure would raise about $US1.6 billion by increasing the state corporate tax rate and income taxes for people who earn more than $150,000 a year.

Colorado ranks 40th in spending per student, according to the AP. "She has been a student at EMIS since the fourth grade, and comes to us from Japan".

"We're willing to contribute more" to PERA, but some parts of the bill go too far, said Moraja, who is thankful for recent bond funding Englewood voters have passed but lamented that Colorado students are among the least funded in the country.

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