Colorado teachers plan Monday walkout to call for higher pay, better funding

DENVER – Teachers across Colorado plan to walk out of school Monday to call attention to teacher pay and other issues that they say need to be addressed.

The teachers join educators in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona who have taken similar actions.

All Monday classes at Englewood Schools are canceled except for those at the Early Childhood Education Center at Maddox and Champions, the district superintendent told Denver7.

“Over 70% of our teacher workforce will not be present to staff our schools, and we expect that number of absences to continue to grow,” Superintendent Wendy Rubin told Denver7.

About 150 Englewood teachers are expected to be part of a larger group of educators who will spend their day lobbying at the state Capitol for higher teacher pay and reforming the state pension system – both of which sorely need new and extra money, teachers argue.

RELATED: Despite a booming economy, Colorado's school funding lags well below national average

The Colorado Education Association is hosting what it’s calling a “Lobby Day” and the Englewood teachers are joining the CEA in support. Educators from other districts in Colorado are also expected to participate, though it’s unclear exactly how many will join.

Spokespersons for the Denver and Adams 14 school districts told Denver7 Friday they did not expect their teachers to leave school.

The CEA said it was expecting about 400 teachers at Monday’s Capitol rally. They will wear red, as have other teachers protesting low pay in other parts of the country.

The CEA estimates that teachers spend on average $656 of their own money for school supplies for students, and the organization has long argued for higher pay and better benefits for Colorado teachers.

The Colorado School Finance Project released data in December that found that inflation-adjusted salaries for Colorado teachers fell by 7.7 percent between the 2010-11 school year and the 2015-16 school year, and that the average Colorado teacher salary was about $7,000 below the national average.

Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been fighting for extra K-12 education funding meant for teacher pay to be put into the state budget or other bills, but there has been fighting between lawmakers in different parties and the Joint Budget Committee over how to spend the extra money now in state coffers.

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