Some Englewood teachers to join rally that will close schools

Teachers will protest over pay, school funding at Capitol on March 19

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/7/20

Englewood students won't have to worry about going to school on March 19 because 45% of Englewood Schools teachers won't be on campus. In a Feb. 21 letter sent out to parents, Englewood Schools …

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Some Englewood teachers to join rally that will close schools

Teachers will protest over pay, school funding at Capitol on March 19

Posted

Englewood students won't have to worry about going to school on March 19 because 45% of Englewood Schools teachers won't be on campus.

In a Feb. 21 letter sent out to parents, Englewood Schools Superintendent Wendy Rubin announced that all district schools will be closed on March 19 — a Thursday — as teachers and other district staff plan to rally at the state Capitol.

The rally is being organized by the Colorado Education Association, a union of educators in the state. Rubin's letter says the Colorado Education Association is targeting a secured living wage for educators and more funding for schools.

Additionally, protesters are hoping to abolish the budget stabilization factor — a formula that lowers state funding for each district. Rubin's letter says Englewood Schools has lost $30 million due to the formula since 2010. Colorado Public Radio reported that Colorado ranks 47th in the nation in per-student funding.

“Districts don't have enough funding to do what we need to do for kids and our employees. I know that (the day off) is certainly an inconvenience for a lot of our families, and we don't like kids to miss days — but we do support our teachers in exercising their rights to make their voices heard,” Rubin told the Englewood Herald.

Rubin's letter says the school district exhausted all of its resources before deciding to cancel the school day. Alex Kravitz, president of Englewood Educators and a digital audio and science teacher at Colorado's Finest High School of Choice, says there is a fair amount of turnover with new teachers in Englewood. He says new teachers come from out of state only to realize that they can't afford to live in Colorado on a starting teacher salary. Kravitz believes that if the budget stabilization factor is removed, it could help alleviate teacher turnover.

“If this problem doesn't get fixed, it is going to be worse for the kids. I think (the budget stabilization factor) can cause lasting damage to the (teacher) profession,” said Kravitz. “The Legislature is leaving us no choice.”

Outside of teachers, other staff from Englewood Schools plan to rally at the Capitol, including Kathryn Brown, a school counselor at Colorado's Finest High School of Choice. Her reasons for protesting come from her personal life and her profession, she says.

Brown says her daughter is going into kindergarten next year, and as a parent, she is angry at the state because her daughter's education will get lower funding than other children her age in 46 other states.

As a school counselor, Brown says she is frustrated about the lack of funding Englewood Schools receives. She pointed to the need for counselors in schools to help children deal with mental health issues. According to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), there is one school counselor per 365 Colorado students. The ASCA, which works to represent school counselors, recommends there be one school counselor per 250 students.

“The whole education system is in a crisis in Colorado, and there is no need for it. Colorado is one of the richest states in the nation, and we have inequity from district to district,” said Brown. “It is so unacceptable; I can't even believe it.”

Englewood Schools is joining other school districts in canceling school on March 19, including Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Jeffco Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, Littleton Public Schools and the 27J School District.

The Early Childhood Education Center at Maddox will be open on March 19. The date will be considered a working day in the district for employees who are not using their annual leave, Rubin's letter reads.

“Our staff and teachers do amazing things in schools. I am so grateful to have our teachers, and I'm not surprised it has come to this in the state,” said Rubin.

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