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Denver Public Schools, 27J to cancel classes March 19 as teachers take part in Educator Day of Action

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Posted at 9:07 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 19:30:28-05

DENVER – Colorado’s largest school district will cancel classes on March 19 as many of its teachers will show up to the Colorado State Capitol instead of the classroom to participate at the Colorado Education Association’s Education Day of Action.

The protest, organized each year by the CEA, typically brings hundreds of Colorado teachers to the Capitol as they continue to push for better teacher wages and school funding, among other issues.

In a letter sent to district families, officials from Denver Public Schools said that because of the large number of expected teacher absences that could not be covered with the help of substitute teachers, the district decided to cancel classes across the district on Thursday, March 19. DPS said more than 1,000 educators said they will request leave to participate.

Charter schools are a different matter, however, and families were encouraged to check with their individual schools to see if classes would be held.

Discovery Link programs will be open to current Discovery Link and Enrichment families at all 44 sites across the district on March 19, district officials said, and DPS will not charge families camp fees. For more information, click here.

“Please know that we understand that this unexpected change is inconvenient for families, and this decision was made due to the large number of teacher absences expected,” district officials wrote in the letter. “Please understand that we took the time to explore all resources and options before making this decision.”

Additionally, DPS said extracurricular activities throughout the district would proceed as scheduled, unless otherwise noted by each particular school.

On Wednesday morning, 27J in Brighton said it will also remain closed on March 19 for the same reasons. And by Wednesday afternoon, Adams 12 Five Star Schools announced it would also be canceling classes, as a "lack of sufficient staff would impact the district’s commitment to provide a safe and productive learning environment."

Adams 12 Five Star officials said in a letter to teachers, parents and staff that even though classes are canceled, March 19 remains a work day for all district staff and employees.

JeffCo Public Schools announced their decision to cancel classes on March 19 last week.

The Douglas County School District, Cherry Creek Public Schools and Aurora Public Schools are all on spring break that week and will not be affected, the districts said.

A Westminster Public Schools spokesperson said last week the Westminster Education Association President, Fran Groff Gonzalez, told the school board Tuesday night that the district’s teachers planned to wear red to school that day in solidarity with the CEA, but planned to be at school.

“This is because last year, we negotiated the highest starting salary for teachers in the state of Colorado and our teachers are appreciative of the district commitment to them,” district spokesperson Steve Saunders said.

The Boulder Valley School District said it was monitoring its staffing levels but said that as of Wednesday afternoon, there would be enough substitute teachers to cover the teachers planning to go to the event.

"We are currently planning to have a normal day on March 19," a district spokesperson said.