Today’s recap (Oct. 17)
Bargaining started at about 11:00 a.m. and the SPEA team was optimistic that parties would settle today. However, SPEA was disappointed to find the Board was only interested in renegotiating matters that had been previously resolved. In addition, the Board refused to engage with SPEA’s proposed impasse procedure that would have allowed for a transparent process that would have disclosed the Board’s financial ability to pay competitive salaries to staff.
The Board of Education’s monthly meeting got off to a rocky start with educators, parents and community members packing the Board’s small meeting room. After the Board tried to cap the public meeting’s attendance at 45 people, through fire department and police enforcement, the community protested so vehemently that the Board rescheduled the meeting to a larger multi-purpose room in school. More than 100 people attended.
Board President Kim Bundgaard started the meeting by announcing her resignation effective at the next monthly school board meeting, Nov. 21. The Board then heard public comments from 20 students, educators and community members, none of whom expressed any admiration for the Board’s handling of the strike or educator retention crises. The Board heard many calls to either commit with talks with SPEA or step aside and let others lead. Students gave particularly compelling testimony on love for their teachers and wanting to return to school, while the community expressed the hardship teachers have affording to live in Park County, even a story of two teachers who were forced to live in a public park. The meeting also included the swearing in of two new board members, Larry Foster and Duane Thompson. SPEA members want to work with a more collaborative board moving forward. Watch the full public comments on the Facebook Live event recorded tonight.
Tomorrow’s Schedule (Oct. 18)
3:00 p.m. – The SPEA leaders will meet at the bargaining table again to fight for an agreement for their students’ futures.