As the teachers of the South Park Educators Association continues their strike against Park County School District RE-2, the district informed parents that school would be open starting Monday, Oct. 21, and remain open.
In a short press release, the district stated “Although the Park County School District RE-2 understands that the South Park Education Association will be continuing its strike, the district will be opening classrooms on Monday, October 21, 2019. The district has communicated this information to its parents.”
The district intend to use any teachers that want to come back to work as well as using available substitute teachers to man the classrooms.
The district intended to have full buss service, the cafeteria would be open and volunteers, as needed, will be in the schools to assist the students.
But some striking teachers have questioned the ability of the district to properly serve the students.
"I don’t know what school is going to look like," one of the fourth-grade teachers in the district, Doug Freeman said. "We already have a problem with substitute teachers when we’re in school, if there’s a few staff members that call off, so I’m hoping that they have a plan to make sure that the kids are safe.”
In a press release dated Oct. 18, the district offered the teachers a New Professional Agreement, which addresses some of the concerns of the teachers. The highlights of the agreement are:
• Regaining recognition as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent by the District for two years.
• A new right to negotiate salaries, a right it did not formally have.
• Increases to the Supplemental Pay rates.
• Compensation to mentor teachers.
• Inclusion of a Board representative to the joint problem solving team to assist with good communication and additional transparency.
• Removal from the contract year of the previously agreed-upon additional two (2) work days to the 2020-2021 school year, which would have been provided to all teachers and SSPs at their per diem in the salary schedule.
• The ability to “open up” the complete Professional Agreement for negotiations every other year.
• An additional Disclosure and Discussion Process for negotiating salaries.
But nothing in the New Professional Agreement indicates that the district is willing to increase the current salaries of the teachers, which has been the major sticking point between the teachers and the district.
As of this writing, the SPEA has not responded to the district in regards to this new agreement.