PUEBLO, Colo. - Teachers in Pueblo are walking out of their classrooms and protesting school board meetings, calling for a paycheck that meets the standard of living in Pueblo.
ESL teacher Justina Carter said, "It's time to turn it around, and it's going to take a long time to repair the relationships in our district."
Hundreds of teachers marched outside the D60 administration building Tuesday night. The meeting's agenda showed that board members were not going to address salary concerns, but community members wanted to show their support anyway.
The Pueblo Education Association (PEA) has been going back and forth with the D60 board on increasing the teacher's salaries. Carter says, "The recommendation is a 2 percent cost of living adjustment to teacher salaries but what we're really fighting for is to make a change in our district to so we can collaborate and make it a place our teachers want to work at."
The union filed to go on strike last Friday but are legally required to wait 20 days to see if the state labor department will intervene.
Although, some teachers aren't waiting. On Monday, Heritage Elementary and East High School both closed because so many teachers had called out. On Tuesday, South High School was closed for the same reason.
Teachers across the country are protesting their districts but educators in Pueblo aren't fight their state leadership, instead, their focus in on the school board. PEA President, Suzanne Ethredge said, "funding in our state absolutely needs to improve for education but this is our own local issue."
Ethredge says negotiations thus far have not been successful and the last school board meeting was enough for teachers to be fed up. She said, "They were very very angry with some of the comments that were made by school board members they felt like they were being publicly lectured about why they shouldn't even be asking.
We reached out to the D60's spokesperson today and asked to speak to the board, but did not hear back.
Dalton Sprouse, communications director for the district, told KRDO on Monday in response to teachers calling out, "It really put us and our community in a really difficult spot because we had to notify our families after 9 p.m. It's certainly not ideal for students on a school night."
As of right now, school is regularly scheduled for Friday in D60 when many other districts across the state are planning to protest at the State Capitol in Denver.