Community Enraged by Lack of District Financial Transparency, Accountability
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FAIRPLAY, Colo. – The South Park Education Association unanimously decided today to continue striking for their students’ futures tomorrow (Oct. 21). Picketing will start at the District administration building at 7 a.m.
“No educator wants to be on strike, but we care too much about the future of this District to cave into the demands of a lame-duck school board majority. Their days are numbered and they should step down now to let real leaders, who care about our educators and students, step in and make impactful decisions about our long-term future,” said SPEA President Taya Mastrobuono, an elementary school teacher.
Monday will be the eighth day of SPEA’s strike against the Park County School District. The vote at the member meeting follows resounding community scorn for the District’s lack of transparency at Thursday’s public school board meeting, SPEA’s unanimous rejection yesterday of the District’s inadequate “take it or leave it” offer, and a spirited community meeting today showing overwhelming support for Park County educators.
“From the very beginning, our dispute with PCSD is rooted in giving educators a voice in District decisions and valuing us with working conditions that will retain and attract quality educators who love our students. We picket with these same concerns tomorrow,” Mastrobuono added. “The District must come back to the table immediately or change leadership so we can bargain with people who want to resolve this crisis.”
SPEA made significant compromises in bargaining last week, primarily asking the District agree to a neutral, third-party evaluation of PCSD finances and to return to the table with the updated facts and figures. The District adamantly refused to have its finances inspected to open up transparent dialogue on educator compensation.
A membership petition is collecting signatures to demand Superintendent Joe Torrez’s resignation after a unanimous vote of “no confidence” by the bargaining unit. Mastrobuono reiterated the demand for Board President Kim Bundgaard and Board Directors Jan Toyne and Leslie Rhyner to resign now.
SPEA will continue the food and goods drive and the childcare arranged with the Boys and Girls Club of South Park for students and families in need. Childcare is available at 360 9th Street, Fairplay, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Families can pick up donated food at goods at the Fairplay Fire Station from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
SPEA will follow with another release if the District takes any action to end the strike before 7 a.m. Monday. SPEA will post updated strike information HERE and on Facebook for educators, media and the Park County community.
# # #