Colorado Teachers Next to Strike

Colorado Teachers Next to Strike

Colorado's teachers' union expects more than 400 teachers at a rally that's planned for Monday at the state's Capitol in Denver.

"We're just hoping that by all of us showing up that they know we're not giving up", said Jana Young, a special education teacher's assistant from Enid Public Schools. The protest April 16 was organized by the Colorado Education Association, which represents more than 35,000 educators, many of whom say too many teachers in the state are forced to work second jobs and pay out of pocket for classroom supplies.

That wave has notably seen teachers in West Virginia get a 5% pay raise last month after a nine-day strike. If passed, it would mean big changes for the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).

More than 830 teachers were nominated, and out of the five Life Changer Award winners, one is a teacher at Thompson High School.

Erin Swain, a teacher at Century Middle School in Adams 12 Five Star Schools, took issue with possible changes.

"If we want to recruit and retain teachers, we have to offer a living wage and a viable retirement", Roman said. "ETFO's education agenda calls for greater student access to specialist teachers to provide more support in the arts and physical education as well as more guidance teachers and teacher-librarians".

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Low funding and teacher pay, the association says, is making the job less attractive to college graduates and prodding teachers to leave the profession early, and led to a shortage of fully qualified teachers.

Colorado ranks 40th in spending per student, according to the AP. The Associated Press reports that Colorado underfunds its schools by $822 million per year, but that next year, lawmakers are trying to increase per-pupil spending by 6 percent in next year's budget plan.

"I'm going to tell them I'm here for them", Peardot said.

"Bottom line is, we were given a promise by our Legislature for our pension, and they are reneging", Swain said.

The Englewood School District was closed Monday because of a lack of substitutes to cover the teachers who walked out.

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