Denver teachers prepare for financial burden ahead of potential strike

DENVER – Teachers in Colorado’s largest school district are preparing to go without pay as a potential strike looms.

Some teachers who are supportive of the strike say forgoing a paycheck will be too much to bear. A sizable fraction of teachers say they will find a way to stay on the picket lines even if that means working a second job.

“Financially, it’s going to be very difficult,” said Noah Lederach, Morey Middle School's STEM director. “I’ve been behind regularly on bills since I moved here.”

Lederach, who moved to the Denver area from Indiana, says he will strike. He tells FOX31 he’ll need to pick up tutoring gigs to survive in Denver.

“In Indiana, it was $60 for groceries for a week,” he said. “Here, it can be $110 for groceries.”

For early education teacher Mary Nackerud, the stress of a potential strike is coupled with the partial federal government shutdown. Her son is a furloughed federal worker.

“We’re trying to support him and my daughter-in-law and granddaughter as much as we can,” Nackerud explained.

Nackerud -- like some other teachers -- simply cannot afford to take a single day off work. She says she’ll be at school the first day of the strike no matter what.

“Being put in the position to either strike for kids or stay here for kids... How can you make that choice?" she said.

Teachers say that no matter who is on the picket line or the in classroom, educators are standing united in their support of one another.

Superintendent Susanna Cordova, a former DPS teacher, said in a statement on Tuesday, “To our teachers: We want and need you in our classrooms.” Cordova says Colorado has underfunded education for more than a decade. She expressed faith in Gov. Jared Polis to bring both sides back to the negotiation table.

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