Sep. 18, 2019
FAIRPLAY, Colo. – Park County educators and community members expect to hear tomorrow how the Park County School District justifies millions of dollars held in reserve while educators struggle to live in the community where they teach. The District has indicated it will “review its finances” at an open work session scheduled for Sep. 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the District office before the PCSD Board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
“We hope the Board comes to the meeting with a level of financial transparency and accountability that has so far been lacking in this process. Our community deserves accurate answers that will finally solve this long-time crisis that is affecting our students. Keeping qualified and experienced educators in our district is imperative for Park County students,” said Taya Mastrobuono, an elementary school teacher, parent and president of the South Park Education Association (SPEA).
More than 90% of SPEA members voted to authorize a strike if recognition, working conditions and fair pay for all educators cannot be mutually resolved with the District. PCSD has cancelled several meetings to discuss these issues with SPEA, including a meeting on Saturday that the District had originally requested. Still, SPEA has not set a strike date, hoping civil and transparent talks will lead to a satisfactory outcome that relieves staff of overbearing financial strain and allows them to commit to a rewarding career educating Park County students.
“Yesterday, we saw the District express concern that a strike may disrupt school on the state’s October 2nd student count date. That date is still two weeks away. The count date is irrelevant if the District does the right thing now to address the learning conditions of our students and the working conditions for its employees,” explained Mastrobuono. “We are looking forward to positive discussions that tomorrow may bring. Throughout the entire process, SPEA members have only wanted to talk with the District about being part of the solution for fair pay and professional respect. Our voices need to be heard to save our schools.”