Thousands descend on downtown Denver for Day 2 of teacher protests

DENVER -- Thousands of people, most of them teachers, gathered in downtown Denver on Friday for the second day of walkouts and rallies.

The group met at Civic Center Park about 9 a.m. and the crowd quickly grew.

About 2,000 teachers went to the Capitol on Thursday and up to 10,000 people were expected at Friday's events.

Schools throughout the Denver metro area were shut down Friday because so many teachers are using personal time to attend the rallies and there are not enough substitutes to staff classrooms.

There are 18 school districts that will be closed on Friday, including Aurora, Adams 12, Denver, Boulder and Littleton.

The group is expected to march to the state Capitol to protest the need for higher pay, better classroom funding and a fix to the retirement system.

The Colorado Education Association claims schools in the state are underfunded by more than $800 million.

But according to Senate Republicans, the state has increased education funding by more than 35 percent over the past six years.