The educators of South Park Education Association release the following statement in response to recent district communications about the strike:
“The educators of South Park have been working since February 2019 to enter into a new professional agreement with the District — rooted in mutual trust and respect and centered on the welfare of Park County students. The retention of quality educators is our top priority.
“The district is attempting to force us to sign an incomplete professional agreement. Ratification of such an agreement cannot happen until the bargaining process is completed; it takes both sides to agree that the professional agreement is ready to be ratified.
“Through several emails exchanged with Superintendent Joe Torrez over the past few days, we have requested that the district join us at the public bargaining table in order to finish negotiations. We cannot bring something to our membership to ratify until the public bargaining process is complete. We finally received a response this morning with an ultimatum from Superintendent Joe Torrez that we both meet in private to finalize the document and that we ratify the document by Thursday or else the district will withdraw their offer to enter into an agreement at all.
“We believe that bargaining must be done in a public and transparent setting as required by Colorado law. We are discussing the allocation of tax payer dollars and believe that having meetings in private sows distrust in our community.
“We are concerned about the messages that the district has been sending, implying that we have not been responsive to their emails and requests. As a result, we have decided to release all of our recent communications — so that our community can have all the information.
“In response to the email we received from the Superintendent today, two educators of the South Park Education Association bargaining team attempted to deliver a message in person to Superintendent Joe Torrez. Unfortunately, Torrez decided not to meet with the educators.
“We are relying on Superintendent Torrez to demonstrate the leadership necessary to get the kids and teachers back to school by reconvening at the public bargaining table. He has the authority to convene a bargaining team and our community is counting on him to do so as soon as possible.”
Media can request relevant email communication between the District and SPEA showing SPEA’s continued efforts to reach out to District to resolve this crisis by emailing Mike Wetzel, CEA public relations director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.