Class canceled at Pueblo elementary school for teacher protest

Published: Apr. 29, 2018 at 9:29 PM MDT
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Classes are canceled at Carlile Elementary School Monday as a potential teacher strike looms.

It's because a high number of teachers called out of work, the school said.

"We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may cause your family," Carlile Elementary School posted on its website. "We are disappointed with the fact that we have to move forward with canceling classes at Carlile tomorrow; however, the safety of our students is of top priority."

The school expects to resume its normal schedule on Tuesday.

School District 60 expects the call-outs to happen at one school a day in Pueblo as it waits to see if the Colorado Department of Labor will intervene on the dispute. The Pueblo Education Association recently sent a letter of intent to strike to the state. D-60 and the teachers' union are now in a 20-day waiting period.

The possible strike comes after the Board of Education rejected a recommendation for a 2 percent teacher raise.

"We value our employees and the quality education they provide each and every day," Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso said in a statement. "[We] want you all to know that this decision was reached solely based on our dire financial situation as a school district."

District 60 will need to address $173 million in critical projects in the next year, and is already struggling to pay increasing budget costs, the statement said.

President of Pueblo Education Association Suzanne Ethredge said that's not going to cut it.

“Their budget has been all about choices the last few years, and although they are telling us it seems that they are making decisions in other areas that increase expenditures and decrease expenditures in things like instruction," Ethredge said. "Anything that has a direct impact on the classroom is taking the biggest funding hit right now, while the school board just voted to pay an architect almost $350,000 to do a building study.”

The Department of Labor will make a decision on whether it will intervene by the middle of the week. If the state does intervene, a strike could be delayed for six months. If the state does not intervene, a strike could start on May 7.