HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- While tens of thousands of Colorado teachers walked out to demand more school funding Friday, Douglas County teacher Mark Carnes said he showed his strength for kids by showing up for work.
"I was at school. I felt that during the week my job is to be in the classroom," he said. "There was a good number that spent their day working and working hard."
Carnes is the head strength coach at ThunderRidge High School and has been a teacher for 12 years.
"We want to send the message that we need more funding for your kids. Not we want to mess up your day, and cause more issues for you and take away from your kid," said Carnes.
He would rather see teachers fight for kids on their own time, on a Saturday or during a teacher work day, instead of during the school week.
"I would participate if it were on Saturday or Sunday because I'm gonna fight as hard as I can to be in the classroom with these kids," he said. "I'm going to battle as hard as I can to stay in there with those kids and give them everything I have every day because that's what they deserve, and that's why I got into teaching and why I'm here."
Carnes said while raises for teachers would be nice, for him, the movement is about what's best for the kids and more funding for them.
"If I wanted to make more money I wouldn't teach," he said. "To me it isn't about the money. It's about making a difference in the lives of youth."
The Douglas County School District's Board of Education is also considering asking voters this November for a local tax increase or bond initiative to pay for schools, though no official decision has been made yet. The district hasn't passed a mill levy override since before the 2009 recession. Carnes said he hopes the walkouts haven't further hurt that cause.
"I'm a Douglas County product. Kindergarten through 12th grade spent in Douglas County and I love it, and that's why I'm back as a teacher here," he said. "It kills me to see our district not being top of the pile and that is what we're fighting for and that is what we need to get back there is to pass those."