D60 contract dispute continues as school year ends

D60 contract dispute continues as...

PUEBLO, Colo. - Protests are no longer out of the ordinary for members of the Pueblo Education Association, which is the teacher's union in Pueblo.

Many teachers have been without contracts since November, and PEA president Suzanne Ethredge said they are getting more nervous as the end of the school year approaches.
"It's causing a lot of morale issues in our buildings. The stress level again in our buildings is very high," Ethredge said.
There is talk of eliminating some positions, which is normal for districts, but Ethredge said the number of positions is a concern.

"In addition to the 32 teachers being cut, there is another approximately 15 or 16 that will have to be placed in different positions in the district," Ethredge said.

District 60 and PEA presented their cases for the contract dispute to a fact-finder last week. None of the school officials wanted to talk to KRDO until that fact-finding recommendation comes out.

They did send us a statement that, however which said, "Teacher non-renewals are typically predictable and can be predicted by a variety of reasons ranging from late-hires, probationary employees, contracted employees, etc. On most occasions, non-renewed employees have the opportunity to re-apply for any vacant positions they may be qualified for."

Some of the positions in question include music and art.  District 60 parent Kendra Case said that's concerning.
"I believe we need to really embrace those kids of ours who are very talented on the creative realm," Case said.
For the teachers union, this isn't just about jobs, but about serving children.

"We want safe, strong, effective schools that work for students and work for the adults that are working with the students," Ethredge said.

Ultimately, no one at the union has ruled out the possibility of a teacher's strike.

The fact-finder who met with the district and education association should have a recommendation by July. Both sides can then come back and dispute it.

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