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Park County teachers vote to strike for better pay

Posted: 11:24 PM, Sep 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-05 11:02:20-04
School classroom

FAIRPLAY, Colo. -- Park County RE-2 teachers voted to strike for better pay Wednesday.

Teachers say they are working second jobs and living paycheck-to-paycheck.

“They have to make decisions on milk or eggs,” South Park Education Association (SPEA) President Taya Mastrobuono told Denver7.

The District has 500 students and says they are “not sitting on vast cash overages.” It says teachers did get a 6.5% salary increase this school year.

But teachers say it’s misleading because it didn’t apply to all teachers.

“Its $2,023 so 6.5% sounds like a substantial raise, but when you look at that actual numbers it’s not,” teacher Nancy Jirka said.

SPEA and Park County School District RE-2 have been discussing their new contract since the spring. SPEA says they are the only teachers in Colorado who can’t negotiate their salary. Ninety percent of their members voted to strike.

“We are the only district in the state with a professional agreement that the district has denied us the right to discuss salaries,” Mastrobuono said.

As for parents, some like Ken Deluccio say they are strongly considering moving out of the community he loves to find a better education for his daughters.

“I have a daughter that has dyslexia and she needs special help and the people who are here doing the best to get her what she needs but we’re not getting what we need,” he said.

SPEA says they have offered the district a final chance to negotiate salary Friday. If that doesn’t happen they are prepared to hit the picket line.