Another school district cancels classes ahead of planned teacher walkout

DENVER -- More than a half dozen Colorado school districts, including the three largest, are canceling classes or sending students home early because of planned teacher protests later this week.

Schools will be closed Thursday in Jefferson and Douglas counties because so many teachers are expected to be at the state Capitol.

On Monday, School District 27J -- which has schools in Brighton, Commerce City, Henderson and Thornton as well as portions of unincorporated Adams, Broomfield and Weld counties --  announced it will not have classes on Friday because 487 certified and classified staff members have put in for leave.

Classes won't be held Friday in the Cherry Creek, Adams 12, Thompson, St. Vrain Valley and Poudre school districts because of another teacher demonstration.

Denver Public Schools, the state's largest school district, will send students home early Friday because of the number of teachers expected to attend an afternoon rally.

Some other districts also have previously scheduled days off that coincide with the planned protests so teachers from those districts could also participate.

Thousands of teachers are expected to fill the state Capitol both days.

The closings impact more than 200 schools and more than 300,000 students and parents.

Last week, a few hundred teachers rallied at the state Capitol. The walkouts this week are expected to be much larger.

Teachers are seeking higher pay, more classroom funding and better protections for their retirement plans.

Colorado ranks near the bottom nationally in terms of teacher pay with an annual salary of about $46,000.

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