Pueblo teachers strike continues into third day as a few schools start to reopen

PUEBLO, CO - MAY 7: Teachers and supporters strike outside East High School on May 7, 2018 in Pueblo, Colorado. Teachers, from Pueblo School District 60, are on strike after they turned down a recommended 2 percent cost of living salary increase. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
Teachers and supporters strike outside East High School on May 7, 2018 in Pueblo. Teachers, from Pueblo School District 60, are on strike after the district turned down a recommended 2 percent cost of living salary increase.
Teachers in Pueblo have entered the third day of a strike as they hold out for a 2 percent pay increase from the district.
Most schools remained closed Wednesday, although a majority of preschool programs — excluding those at two schools — have been reopened. Additionally, the district said a blended learning program at Paragon High School and online APEX courses at Centennial, Central, East and South high schools have reopened.
The teachers started the strike — the first one in Colorado in 24 years — on Monday. Teachers were scattered around the city in the morning before convening at the Pueblo City Schools District 60 administration building.
On Wednesday, teachers started at the administration building before marching downtown.
Tension has long brewed between the teachers union and district. Teachers had been working for a pay raise for a while and are looking for a retroactive 2 percent cost-of-living raise to apply to the 2017-18 school year. A third party fact-finder found that the district had the funds and recommended the raise.
The district disagreed with the finding, saying the fact-finders only pointed to reserve funds as a way to cover the cost. The district said the raise would cost it roughly $1.2 million annually. It already has a $3.6 million deficit this year.
Pueblo teachers were paid an average of $47,617 in the 2017-18 school year, below the Colorado average of $52,728, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

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