While there has been a statewide strike in West Virginia and another one looming in Arizona, the chances of teachers in Colorado going on a similar strike is unlikely.
The bill comes amid a broader conversation about school funding and teacher pay that prompted some teachers to make a visit to the state capitol last week, with a second round of demonstrations planned for later this week. ". It's a wise thing to do, in some shape or form, in the state of Colorado because we have one district that's already voted to strike".
"The union is trying to get that board to circumvent what's good for our children", Stephenson said.
State Senate Bill 264 originally sought to prohibit public school teachers and teacher organizations from striking.
Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association, said in a statement posted on the CEA's website that teachers must meet in the capital to show legislators that education is a priority.
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But State Senator Bob Gardner (R), a sponsor of the bill, said it's being amended, focusing the punishment on any teacher's union behind a strike. For example, the Pueblo union has informed state regulators of their intent to strike, and the state Department of Labor and Employment can intervene to try to broker an agreement. "I'm open to some changes in the penalty".
The reaction at the Capitol to teacher activism has fallen largely on party lines, with House Democrats joining teachers in calling for more school funding, and Republicans expressing frustration because this year's budget already includes an increase for K-12 education.
Schools will be closed Thursday in Jefferson and Douglas counties because so many teachers are expected to be at the state Capitol. "Our voters elect here in the community understand what students need to be successful in schools much better than a political appointee from Frankfort".
Republicans have said educators' demands are misplaced since individual districts set what educators are paid, and point out that state lawmakers this session have set aside millions to bolster school funding.
Another facet of the bill is that if a public school teacher is found in contempt of court for failure to comply with an injunction, then the public school employer must immediately terminate said teacher's employment, without a hearing. "We have a fair number of districts who have negotiated contractors and we certainly wouldn't support bad faith bargaining with those districts".