Pueblo Teachers Strike For Pay, Respect

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All schools in Pueblo’s D60 School District were closed Monday as teachers took to the picket line. Some 16,000 students were missing classes, and many schools remain closed Tuesday.

Strikers picketed at schools and other locations around Pueblo Monday morning, and by noon they surrounded the district administration building.

First grade teacher Megan Eborn was among the hundreds of chanting strikers dressed in pink. Like others, she says it’s not about the money.

"I'm fighting for my children to have teachers in the district, and me to have co-workers here in the district, who will want to come to this district who will be treated fairly and who will want to stay," said Eborn.

On Friday, the district made an offer for teachers that included a 2.25% pay increase for school next year and $50 more per month towards health insurance. Also included is a one-time 2% percent stipend. The teachers association rejected the offer and is holding out for the pay increase to be retroactive to the current school year.

District spokesman Dalton Sprouse says reductions in state funding have put a substantial strain on the budget and most of the lost funds would have gone to teachers.

"We continue to work as hard as we can to reach some sort of resolution," said Sprouse. "We've put out a final offer last Friday that is still on the table, and we hope that we can reach a resolution soon."

Rallies are expected to start again early Tuesday morning. Susan Ethredge, President of the Pueblo Education Association, said in a release that they are "frustrated with the lack of [the board's] response," and that the "ball is in [the board's] court."