Classes canceled at two Pueblo schools after teacher “call-offs”

Posted at 6:50 AM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-23 08:50:43-04

Classes were canceled Monday at Heritage Elementary School and East High School  in Pueblo after a high number of teacher "call-offs."

Last week, another D-60 school had to cancel classes after teachers called out. 

Teachers in Pueblo D60 voted to strike following the district’s decision to deny teacher’s pay raises at a recent board meeting.
The results of the vote, which happened Thursday night and was extended into Friday afternoon The final tally showed a 471-24 vote in favor of going on strike.

The decision to strike stems from a school board decision last week to reject recommendations from a third party fact-finder to approve a 2 percent cost-of-living pay increase for teachers.

The teachers and paraprofessionals in the district have worked all year without new contracts. Salaries remained at last year’s levels.

"We’re tired of getting treated without respect," Teacher Julie Cain said in an earlier interview with News 5.  "It’s been many years since we’ve had a good increase in living. They say they don’t have the money, but the fact-finder says differently." 

Those with Pueblo City Schools told News 5 they do not dispute the fact that teachers deserve to be paid more. Their focus is making fiscally-sound decisions for the district.

Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso explained in an email distributed district-wide that there isn’t enough money in savings to cover the roughly $1.7 million in extra salary that was negotiated. Declining enrollment and emergency building repairs put the district millions of dollars into the red.

"We project that our expenditures will outpace revenues by $3.6 million this year," Macaluso wrote. "As stewards of the taxpayer dollars, we cannot in good faith continue to raid our reserves to pay for salary increases for previous years."

Earlier this year, the board announced plans to convert the school calendar to 4 day weeks. That move is anticipated to save the district around $1.2 million. However, that savings will not be realized until the end of the next school year.