Southern Colorado teachers demand education funding reform

Posted at 6:39 PM, Apr 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 20:39:29-04

Teachers across Colorado swarmed the Capitol on Friday demanding change from lawmakers.

Police say they counted at least 10,000 people flooding the Capitol, making sure their voices were heard.

"Education is our right, that is why we have to fight," teachers chanted.

Thousands upon thousands of teachers from across Colorado forming a sea of red on the steps of the Capitol.

"Not enough, not enough," they chanted.

Teachers asking for more school funding, raises and PERA reform. 

Many traveled from Colorado Springs in District 20.

"We need to treat our students like they’re the number one part of our economy because they’re the future workers in the state of Colorado," Jeremy Beckman, a Discovery Canyon High School math teacher said.

And Pueblo’s District 60.

"We’re here to fight for money for our teachers and our paras and everybody else that works in the school system, we need more money from the legislature," Jill Massaro, a Special Education teacher at Heaton Middle School said.

Word traveled quickly that District 60 teachers are preparing to strike after their cost of living raises were denied earlier this month.

"Shout-out Pueblo, we just wanted to shout-out years of pay freezes, crumbling schools, bad faith bargaining, has driven them to strike, so we stand with you Pueblo, we stand with you in solidarity," supporters at the #RedForEd rally in Denver said.?

Legislators say their budget is closed for this session but teachers want to see more of an immediate change.

"It’s not too late to find a solution, I know that the mathematics they’re going to be talking about are just simple addition and subtraction problems and I have confidence in our legislators that they have time yet to figure this out so our students can come to next school year funded like the state Colorado is," Beckman said.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Colorado is ranked number 1 in economy, yet 47th in per pupil spending.

"Colorado, we have such a great economy, why is it that we can’t fund our education system?" Angela Bird, a Mesa Ridge High School teacher said.

News 5 spoke with lawmakers on both sides, all were in support of these teachers today, agreeing to work on education funding but it’s still unclear on when teachers can expect to see a change.