Educators Prepared to Stand Up for Students’ Futures Should Oct. 9 Talks Fail
FAIRPLAY, Colo. – Educators in Park County School District (PCSD) RE-2 are moving closer to being the third local education association to strike in the last 18 months. South Park Education Association (SPEA) leaders announced today that educators are prepared to leave their classrooms, Oct. 14, to strike for the schools their students deserve.
“We have exercised great restraint since our members first voted to strike one month ago, September 4, always hopeful for a resolution. SPEA wants to partner with the District to improve the quality of our students’ learning conditions and our working conditions so we can retain qualified educators for Park County students. But the District must understand our patience is nearly exhausted,” said Taya Mastrobuono, an elementary school teacher and SPEA president.
Educators are eager to meet with PCSD, Oct. 9 at 4:30 p.m., a public meeting agreed to by both sides. But after a string of meetings were scheduled and canceled by PCSD last month, Mastrobuono isn’t sure if this week’s meeting won’t meet the same fate.
“SPEA members are skeptical at best that Wednesday’s meeting will be productive, if it happens at all,” said Mastrobuono. “We reached a decision together that it is necessary to announce our strike date before the scheduled Wednesday meeting to put the District on notice that its stalling tactics do not work from this point forward.”
SPEA last formally met with PCSD officials, Aug. 23. Mastrobuono restated her team’s goals for the Oct. 9 meeting:
a. Open and transparent dialogue with the District that would give members hope an agreement can be reached without a strike;
b. A path to restoring the contract with educator input on achieving fair, professional pay and good working conditions;
c. Collaboration toward a solution for retaining and hiring caring, qualified educators who can meet student needs.
“Our students need consistent educators to help them grow and thrive. If the District comes to the table Wednesday ready to collaborate on a fair agreement that ends our educator retention crisis, members could take action October 14 to ratify a contract instead of taking a different action with picket signs. The District will hear educator voice one way or the other. We prefer our voice is heard in a meeting room and not from the street, but we are prepared for either scenario.”
Should Park County educators be forced to strike, SPEA has arranged childcare with the Boys and Girls Club of South Park to ensure their students and families are taken care of. SPEA members are currently hosting a food and goods drive for the Boys and Girls Club and the food bank in order to help serve the community. SPEA will post updated strike information HERE for educators, media and the Park County community.
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