Park County School District RE-2 teacher strike ends after 10 days

PARK COUNTY, Colo. — Park County School District RE-2 teachers will return to school Thursday following a 10-day strike, the union representing educators said Wednesday night.

About 9 p.m., the South Park Education Association said teachers are returning to work after it filed a request with the Colorado Department of Labor to have a third-party fact finder examine the school district’s finances.

“Should the DoL accept the request, the inquiry may fulfill the long-held desire of SPEA and the community to gain financial transparency from the District and confirm whether or not millions of dollars are held in reserves that PCSD could use to increase educator pay and promote staff stability,” the SPEA said in a statement.

The union added that teachers returning to school follows a recommendation from the DOL.

“I am proud to go back to my classroom tomorrow after spending ten days fighting for my students’ futures. I know all SPEA members share my enthusiasm to see our kids again and continue the critical work we do to help all students learn, grow and reach their full potential,” said SPEA President Taya Mastrobuono in the union’s statement. Mastrobuono is also an elementary school teacher.

The strike started Oct. 14.

Among teachers’ demands during the strike was a $6,000 pay increase. The district had offered a $2,000 raise. The board of education previously said it doesn’t think the district can afford more than that.

While classes in the district technically resumed Monday, not all teachers returned to school.

The school district says the strike ended as both parties re-entered a memorandum of understanding facilitated by a federal mediator.

“Overall, the Board and the Association will continue to endeavor to have positive relations and communications in order to provide the best educational opportunities for the District’s students,” the district said in a statement.

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