An ongoing salary dispute between South Park School District RE-2 and its educators reached a boiling point over the weekend and resulted in a teachers strike that began Monday morning.
Regular classes, as well as all after school activities have been canceled, according to a public statement issued by the district in a release dated Oct. 13:
“As of this evening, the District has determined to cancel classes tomorrow and has communicated this to parents. No buses will run and all athletics and extra-curricular activities have also been canceled. Other school operations for staff will remain consistent with a regular workday.”
The representing body for the teachers, the South Park Education Association, made its stance clear as well in a statement also released Oct. 13.
“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 SPEA President Taya 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.”
The district has remained firm in its contention throughout the dispute that accumulated capital for future operating expenses should not be confused with reserve funds, and that to approve raises as requested by its teachers is simply not a financially feasible option.
The teachers, meanwhile, insist that the district has reserve funds of almost $4 million, and that their requested raises are in fact feasible.
There are currently about 40 teachers in the district, and about 80 employees district-wide. The teachers are requesting raises of $6,000 for every district employee, which would require an additional $480,000 from the district’s annual budget.
Teachers are also demanding that bargaining processes for educators’ earnings be restructured.
SPEA members were picketing throughout the day Monday at the Park County Schools Building.
Recent press releases from both SPEA and the district can be viewed in their entirety on The Flume facebook pages at www.facebook.com/theflume.