Denver families brace for teachers strike

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A one-two punch. That’s how some parents are describing a possible teacher strike in the Denver Public School District.

Some families aren’t just worried about a strike and the impact on their families, they are already dealing with the impacts of the government shutdown.

Christian Vasquez is a single mom with five children in the school district. She says she is already stressing about childcare in the event teacher’s walk off the job and classes are canceled.

“If I was a stay at home mom maybe I could watch them, but I’m not. I’m a working parent,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez says she and her family rely on food stamps and she’s also worried about feeding her family if her kids are kept home. She’s been told government food benefits may not be available next month if the shutdown continues.

“Everything together, I think it’s not going well for a lot of us,” she said.

“Us” also includes Jewarode Law. Law has two kids and his mother has been furloughed by the shutdown. Both parents say the timing of a teacher’s strike couldn’t be worse.

“That means we have to come up with different plans and strategies having to figure out childcare when both me and my wife are at work,” Law said.

The new superintendent of Denver Public Schools is vowing to try and keep schools open even if teachers do walk off the job through substitute teachers.

“It’s really important to our families that our school stay open,” said Susanna Cordova. “We have a strong group of substitutes who work with us on a regular basis. We’ll continue to do outreach in the event we need to recruit more substitute teachers.”

Those are comforting words to parents, but both Law and Vasquez say they support teachers going on strike even if it means their families will have to sacrifice.

“If that was my workforce and my profession I would want to fight for better pay,” said Law.

Negotiations between the union and the district will continue on Tuesday.

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