Fact-finder for D60 is retired longtime administrative judge - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Fact-finder for D60 is retired longtime administrative judge

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Most of the discussion involving the Pueblo City Schools teachers strike surrounds the findings in a fact-finding report completed in March regarding the teachers' and paraprofessionals' unions' compensation demands and the D60 budget situation.  The fact-finder was Denver-based retired Colorado administrative judge Marshall Snider.  He found that D60 teachers should receive a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and a $30 monthly boost in health insurance benefits and that paraprofessionals should receive a 2.5% COLA and one step advancement on the salary schedule.

Snider was selected in a process of elimination by both D60 and the unions.  "We submit a request to the American Arbitration Association, then they send us a list of names back that we go through in somewhat of a process of elimination until we determine the fact-finder that will support us through the process," said D60 spokesman Dalton Sprouse.  "We cross off one name, the district crosses off one name, and then we get to a name we can mutually agree upon," said Pueblo Education Association president Suzanne Ethredge.  "In this case, it was Mr. Snider."

Snider also served as fact-finder during a teacher pay dispute in Jefferson County in 2014.  "Being a judge, he's heard conflicts of all sorts, and in trials, that's the judge's job is to determine the facts and apply the law to the facts," said Pueblo mediation attorney Hank Geisel.  "He's certainly well-trained if he went to law school and has been a judge and seems to have particular expertise in this type of situation, so it sounds like they got the right guy."

Snider was paid $8,602.34 for his service, according to Ethredge.  The cost was split evenly between D60 and the unions.  "Then our state organization pays half of our cost," Ethredge said.  "That's kind of a benefit to our members for the money they pay into the state organization."

The fact-finder's recommendations are not binding.  "A fact-finder makes a recommendation.  At that point, then it's up to the school board to determine what is actually appropriate based on their fiscal responsibility," Sprouse said.  "The fact-finder basically said both positions have merit, but they've got to try to work through it," Geisel added.

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