FAIRPLAY, Colo. – Park County School District RE-2 officials made what they called a “comprehensive” offer to the union representing teachers in the county Tuesday morning, in order to avoid a looming strike that could affect hundreds of kids if a deal is not soon reached.
The district’s New Professional Agreement would recognize the South Park Education Association as the negotiating unit for both teachers and Specialized Service Providers (SSP’s) and would also address SPEA’s “concerns regarding financial matters,” according to a news release.
The district said Tuesday the New Professional Agreement includes, “an 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 release states.
Officials also said the new proposal was a far more robust way for the district and the union to “engage in dialogue about compensation,” admitting the previous Professional Agreement did not include a contractual right for the union to specifically discuss salary negotiations.
The proposal also offers “overall updates, improved definitions, and additional paid workdays for teachers and SSP’s,” the release stated, with officials adding they hope the union views the new proposal as a positive step in order to avert a teacher strike.
Park County RE-2 teachers, however, told Denver7 last Wednesday all they want is better pay as they voted to authorize a strike.
In Tuesday’s release, district officials said that while they’re willing to meet with the union to discuss district finances this Saturday, Sept. 14, “SPEA appears unwilling to attend this meeting unless it constitutes formal ‘bargaining’ of teacher salaries for the current school year.
“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,” district officials said.
On the union’s Facebook page, a post published Tuesday evening reads, “We look forward to meeting with the district Saturday to come to an agreement for Park County kids!”