The Colorado Department of Labor announced Wednesday it will not intervene with the planned Pueblo D60 teacher strike.
The Department of Labor explained that it needed both parties to request an intervention from the state and that neither the district nor the Pueblo Education Association and Pueblo Pararprofessional Association met the required criteria for the state to intervene.
It also explained it can only intervene using arbitration, mediation and conciliation, options which have already been used by D60 and the education associations in the past.
The Department of Labor also said "if circumstances change" it will re-evaluate the decision.
Had the state elected to intervene, it would have delayed the strike by six months. A decision to intervene is extremely rare, it’s only happened three times since the early 1990s.
District 60 issued a statement Wednesday evening in response to the state’s decision, calling it "disappointing and unfortunate." The statement said the decision will have a "detrimental effect on the community.
The district also said it believes finances will be more stable in the 2018-19 school year, but did not elaborate on why that would be the case.
Read the full statement below:
D60 said it is working to resolve the dispute and it will keep parents informed should a strike happen, something the Pueblo Education Assocation is currently planning to do.
President of the Pueblo Education Association Suzanne Ethredge said this decision means the teacher strike will happen next Monday.
She said she’s expecting at least 1,000 teachers to picket around town and she expects the district to close.
District 60 teachers and paraprofessionals are demanding raises and more insurance contributions after the D60 school board denied a two percent cost of living raise from a third party fact finder’s recommendations in early April.
Teachers voted to strike earlier this month by a final tally of 471-24 in favor of going on strike.
D60 Spokesperson Dalton Sprouse told News 5 Tuesday night that the district does not think a teacher strike is in the best interest of the school district. Sprouse said there are several schools in the district that could not meet the contact hour requirements with students to complete the school year.
Sprouse said the district would begin developing contingency plans about class and substitute teachers after the Department of Labor’s decision.
A letter explaining the decision is below: