Park County RE-2 educators to strike for third day; classes canceled again

PARK COUNTY, Colo. — Park County School District RE-2 educators plan to strike for a third consecutive day Wednesday, leading to another day of canceled classes.

Tuesday marked the second day of strikes. The South Park Education Association, the union representing teachers, said more than 50 educators, parents, students and business owners picketed outside the district’s administrative offices.

“In the morning, SPEA was given an ultimatum from Superintendent Joe Torrez to sign an unfinished agreement by noon Thursday, or the District will withdraw its offer to enter into an agreement. Ratification of such an agreement cannot happen until the bargaining process is completed; we once again requested the district join us at the public bargaining table in order to finish negotiations,” SPEA said in a press release.

The union said two of its bargaining team members tried to deliver a message to Torrez before noon. However, Torrez refused to meet with them, according to SPEA.

Picketing is scheduled to resume 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Staff members are seeking an annual pay increase of $6,000.

“When our members believe there is a proposal that will retain and attract quality educators in the District for our students’ futures, they will return to the classroom,” SPEA said.

The union alleges it has asked for discussions with the district to resume discussions for the first time since Oct. 10.

“The District has declined to join us at the public bargaining table in order to finish negotiations and end the strike,” SPEA said.

District leaders said Monday that teachers failed to develop a professional agreement with the board, and until that occurs, new salaries won’t be discussed.

“The board is disheartened the association is choosing to strike rather than moving with a positive working relationship,”  Torrez said Monday.

However, SPEA argued a professional agreement isn’t necessary for the proposed raises.

Parents in need of childcare can go to the Boys and Girls Club of South Park: 360 Ninth St., Fairplay. Childcare is available between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Additionally, the SPEA is holding a food drive. Donated items can be left at the Boys and Girls Club. Families in need of food can pick up donated items at the Fairplay Fire Station: 21455 Highway 285, Fairplay. Food can be picked up between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

FOX31 and Channel 2 reached out to the school district for a new comment Tuesday evening. We have not yet received a response.

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