Doherty High School closed Thursday due to ‘high volume’ of staff absences amid discussions between district, union

One of the issues discussed Thursday were teacher salaries.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 7:24 AM MDT|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 6:06 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Doherty High School is closed Thursday due to staffing issues, District 11 has confirmed with 11 News.

A spokesperson for the district says the closure is because of a “high volume of staff absences.” 11 News has since learned that a teachers union and District 11 are in discussions Thursday about next year’s contract, and a number of Doherty teachers called out to attend. One of the issues up for debate is teacher salaries.

Below is a full statement from the district:

“The highest priority for all D11 staff members is to provide a safe and conducive learning environment. However, we cannot safely hold school when there are high volumes of staff absences, like what happened today at Doherty High School.

“The District is proud of the changes and initiatives that are showing positive improvements in student achievement across the system. These changes are necessary but can be challenging at times. Today, because of some of our teachers’ conscious desire to participate in collaborative discussions, we were unable to staff the building for the day safely.

“Our first and most critical obligation to taxpayers is to be in school and provide an excellent education for all our students. We value all teachers and respect their right to voice their thoughts and ideas productively. The District expects all schools to be open tomorrow. This is our commitment to our community and especially to our students. We are steadfast and pressing forward to ensure every child is thriving academically.”

D11 teachers who spoke with 11 News Thursday said the proposal for pay from the district would be performance based, and those teachers believe it would push teachers who don’t obtain higher degrees or take on additional leadership responsibilities out of the district within five to seven years.

“There’s always a give-and-take,” D11 teacher Carmen Moyer said. “We just felt like the proposal from management… it was just kind of out of the ballpark, it wasn’t even in the realm of what we consider OK, acceptable as teachers.”