The most recent prepared public statements from each side of the ongoing dispute are printed in their entirety below.
Sept. 12 media release from PCSD RE-2 Board of Directors
Fairplay, Colorado – Earlier this week, the Park County School District (the “District”) made a comprehensive proposal to the South Park Education Association (SPEA). The proposal would provide a new Professional Agreement through June 30, 2021, along with a greatly enhanced annual Disclosure and Discussion procedure to facilitate a formal, months-long process of exchanging financial documentation, exchanging recommendations and responses, meeting for open discussion, and mediation.
The District and SPEA previously agreed to meet on September 14, 2019 to continue to work through their concerns. However, SPEA insists that the District “bargain” salaries at this meeting. The District cannot agree to bargain, as the District does not believe an additional raise – beyond what has already been provided for the 2019-2020 school year – is financially feasible or fiscally responsible. Because of this, the District does not plan on attending the September 14, 2019 meeting. Instead, the District hopes to work through these issues at a September 19, 2019 open work session at the District offices at 4:30 pm.
The public and media are welcome to attend.
The District and SPEA agreed earlier this week to dismiss the pending lawsuit. However, it appears to the District that SPEA has withdrawn its offer and insists on going forward in Court. The District remains hopeful that SPEA will consider its comprehensive proposal and dismiss the lawsuit so everyone can focus their efforts on our students.
Sept. 16 media release from SPEA
On Saturday, the South Park Education Association (SPEA) attended a “meeting” at the Park County RE-2 School District; a meeting offered by the district, which they did not attend. Instead, SPEA leadership held a mock meeting with absent district officials, which drew about two-dozen members, parents, and community members.
“Obviously we’re disappointed; this is the third time they’ve cancelled a meeting on us,” said SPEA President Taya Mastrobuono. “These are meetings that they have scheduled.”
SPEA leaders talked about district finances, with SPEA Vice President Kiersten Macreery å the crowd that since 2008, the district has increased the unallocated reserve budget line to where it is today, which is 72 percent. Leaders also asked the absent district officials questions about the budget and attracting and retaining quality educators.
“The district likes to play the victim card but they are extremely financially sound,” said Mastrobuono. “Many of our educators cannot afford to live in the community where they teach, while the district hordes taxpayer money and they don’t have the guts to explain why to taxpayers. It’s something we’re willing to do.”
The district has offered a “working meeting” for September 19 and SPEA looks forward to getting back to the table to discuss district finances with them.
Sept 17 media release from the district
District Waiting on Response to Comprehensive Offer While South Park Education Association Poised to Harm District Finances
The South Park Education Association (“SPEA”) filed a Notice of Intent to Strike with the Department of Labor and is poised to strike at the beginning of October during student count time. This is the time that determines funding for the year based on the number of students present in school.
A strike by SPEA during the October student count will inflict irreparable harm on the Park County School District RE-2 budget. This will impact District finances for years, taking away from the quality of education the District can deliver to its students and further limiting the District’s ability to provide future raises to all employees, including its teachers.
The District implores SPEA to not be on strike on October 2, 2019, as this will irreparably harm the quality of education delivered to our students.
While the District is under no obligation to recognize the Association following the expiration of the former Professional Agreement on June 30, 2019, and SPEA had no contractual rights to bargain, the District made a comprehensive offer to the Association that would provide teachers and Special Services Providers (“SSPs”) with a New Professional Agreement through June 30, 2021. This offer was made more than a week ago; however, the District has not yet received any response from the Association regarding this offer. If rejected by the Association, this will be the second time in five months that the teachers and SSPs will have rejected having a professional agreement in place through June 30, 2021.
The District agrees with the opinion piece written by Bud Jankiewicz, as published in The Flume on September 12, 2019. The District is not sitting on stockpiles of money, as suggested by SPEA. The District continues to believe that an additional raise is not financially feasible and invites everyone to attend an open work session at the District offices on September 19, 2019 at 4:30 pm at which time the Board will again review its finances.