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Park County schools will re-open, despite teachers' strike continuing

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Posted at 6:05 AM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 08:05:57-04

FAIRPLAY, Colo. – Park County schools will re-open on Monday, despite a teachers' strike that is expected to continue into a second week, the district announced Sunday.

Park County School District RE-2 says classrooms will be open Monday. The district did not say how it plans to staff the classrooms.

The South Park Education Association went on strike last week amid ongoing disagreements between the union and the district over teacher pay.

Doug Freeman, a fourth-grade teacher in the district, said he didn't know what to expect when students return to class on Monday.

"I don’t know what school is going to look like," Freeman said. "We already have a problem with substitute teachers when we’re in school, if there’s a few staff members that call off, so I’m hoping that they have a plan to make sure that the kids are safe.”

The two sides have met over the last week, but talks have stalled and the union earlier this week called for school board president Kim Bundgaard to resign, citing a lack of confidence in Bundgaard.

Bundgaard at a board meeting on Thursday said she did intend to resign but until the next board meeting, on Nov. 21.

There are 41 teachers in the district, 30 of which are represented by the union. There are about 600 students enrolled in the district.

Bundgaard has said a New Professional Agreement was structured to provide several mechanisms for negotiating salaries and working conditions "in the future." Union leaders said Monday on they were hoping to get a new contract that will help retain employees, increase their collective voice in bargaining and win recognition and support from the district and community.