Park County School District will reopen classrooms Monday, teachers say they will still strike

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FAIRPLAY, Colo. – The Park County School District RE-2 will open classrooms to students on Monday despite an ongoing strike by the South Park Education Association.

SPEA members held a community meeting Sunday. Parents and teachers packed the American Legion for the meeting despite rough weather conditions to discuss parent concerns and options moving forward.

“I’m on the fence, do I send my kid do I not send my kid,” questioned fourth grade parent Kerrie Lynn, adding “Who is going to teach her?

A spokesperson for the district told FOX31 that classrooms will be staffed by teachers who have chosen to come back to work as well as licensed substitute teachers from around the region.

Problem Solvers were also told busses will be running running, food will be served, paraprofessionals will be with students and special service providers will be there.

“I will not be going to school tomorrow,” teacher Kristen Kraus said.

Kristen Kraus teaches first grade in the district. Three of children also go to school there.

“This whole situation is horrible,” Kraus said while wiping tears off her face, adding “We just want transparency right now. We are just asking for a third party to come in to do fact finding to say ‘here’s how much money there is or isn’t.’”

Kraus said the district rejected SPEA’s request for a neutral fact finder.

NF: 48:26: how could you be hurting our students when this is all about money is that the case?

“It’s not about the money,” Fourth grade teacher Doug Freeman said.

Freeman says teacher retention is at the forefront of the union’s fight. That involves money but he says it’s not about salary raises.

“Our solution right now is to raise the compensation package,” Freeman said. “Last year we lost 10 teachers, we only have 40. That’s 25 percent of our staff.”

Despite any disagreements, teachers tell FOX31 they agree with the district’s decision to open school.

“I don’t think it’s against us if parents send their kids to school,” Kraus said. “I agree with the decision of school being open.”

-- Nicole Fierro contributed to this report

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