Standing Together For Our Students Futures

Park County District Dismisses Educator Retention Concerns

SPEA Prepared for Oct. 14 Strike After Hearing Refusal to Compromise

FAIRPLAY, Colo. – Park County educators did not receive any assurances tonight that fair, professional pay was something their school district would ever seriously entertain. Talks broke down tonight when the South Park Education Association (SPEA) asked for any kind of “goodwill gesture” toward a salary schedule that supports students by retaining and attracting good educators, but the Park County School District (PCSD) quickly shut the compensation conversation down.

“The District has a few more days to soften their hardline view against looking at a budget that roughly stayed at a one million dollar surplus all of last school year. We are prepared to strike Monday if this District shows no desire to take care of the people who take care of their students with the robust reserve funding at their disposal,” said Taya Mastrobuono, an elementary school teacher and SPEA president.

One night after smoothly reaching consensus on several parts of a new professional agreement, the tone changed on a dime when the subject of retaining and attracting quality educators was introduced by the SPEA team.

“The District team shut down our voice when we wanted to talk about our concerns on how we pay our rent and buy our groceries and gas, just as they have shut down that talk so many times before,” said Mastrobuono. “As long as the District is discussing an agreement that will never guarantee money, they will smile and nod and act like faithful partners. Ask for the slightest gesture to break a few bucks out of the precious reserve fund and we’re suddenly talking to a wall.

“It’s very frustrating because we want to keep good staff for our wonderful kids, but the District doesn’t have a plan for getting that done and left the table tonight with no clear commitment to a settlement and avoiding a strike,” Mastrobuono added.

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