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Teacher walkouts, school closures begin Thursday

DENVER -- Four school districts will be closed on Thursday as teachers head to the state Capitol.

Schools in Jefferson, Douglas, Lake and Clear Creek counties will be closed because so many teachers called out to take a personal day to attend a rally and protest.

With not enough substitutes, the districts decided instead to cancel classes.

Teachers and administrators tried to make it easier for parents, pairing Thursday's walkout with Take Your Child to Work Day.

Teachers say they are feeling supported by the community and some parents.

"There's been people out there saying, 'Well, you should have done this over spring break or Christmas break,'" social studies teacher Dale Munholland said.

"Well, legislatures are really not in session at that time. There's nobody to talk to. And we feel like in order to get our message across, this is the best way to do it.

"Because the legislature is just about over, they are finishing up their budget for next year. And we feel like if we're fully going to fund our schools and students the way that we should, this is the time to do it, while they are doing the budget."

Similar protests have happened in Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

"Here in Colorado, we have the No. 1 economy in the country," Munholland said. "Now is the time to begin paying down the negative factor and begin funding education to the fullest extent that by law the state is required to do."

The teachers plan to show up at the state Capitol on Thursday morning, talking to legislators, doing a grade-in and showing them all they do on a daily basis.

Speech and rallies are scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

A larger walkout that will close several more districts is planned for Friday.

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