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2018 Colorado teachers' strike
The 2018 Colorado teachers' strike was a two and a half week strike that began on April 27, 2018, with teachers in some districts across the state walking out to protest low pay, low state-wide education spending, and mismanagement of the state teachers' pension. The strike ended on May 12, 2018 with an agreement between the teachers' union and school officials for a 2 percent pay raise. The strike was part of the larger wave of teachers' strikes in the United States where protests occurred in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona.
2018 Colorado teachers' strike
Part of the 2018–19 education workers' strikes in the United States
DateApril 27, 2018–May 12, 2018
LocationColorado
Caused by
  • Ongoing education cuts
  • Lack of pension plan funding[1]
  • Low salaries
Methods
Resulted in
2 percent pay raise[2]
Parties to the civil conflict
Colorado Education AssociationGovernment of Colorado
Lead figures
Amie Baca-Oehlert
Kerrie Dallman
Lawrence Garcia
Kevin LaDuke
Ami Prichard
Brad Bartels
John Hickenlooper
Donna Lynne
Cynthia Coffman
Wayne W. Williams
Walker Stapleton
Background
State of public education in Colorado
The Colorado Education Association says that teacher salaries after inflation have dropped 17 percent in the last 15 years, and that the state has underfunded education by $6.6 billion since 2009 by failing to implement a constitutional amendment that requires education funding to grow on pace with inflation.[3]
Pension costs
One of the largest reasons for decreasing teacher pay and less funding for schools is the large amount of money diverted from current budgets to pay educators' unfunded pension liabilities. [1]:1 For example: "In Colorado, school district payments to the public pension fund have roughly doubled since 2006, from about 10 percent of payroll to 20 percent." [1]
A 2016 study found that only 30% of the money that school districts pay towards the retirement benefits of an educator actually go toward that educator's pension, with 70% being used to pay off unfunded debt in that pension system. [1]:1 "The disparity is about twice as stark in Colorado. Just $3 of every $20 spent per teacher goes to their retirement, according to an analysis by the state retirement system." [1]
Strike
The strike began on Friday, April 27. On that day, 10 school districts were closed in the state due to the strike.[4]
The topic of educational funding in various states within the United States has become a controversial subject. In early 2018, teachers in the states of Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia conducted strikes. In Colorado, the strikes occurred because of low teacher salaries and insignificant benefits. Colorado teachers were represented by the Colorado Education Association (CEA) and were opposed by officials of state government. The CEA demanded a two percent salary increase and a significant favorable adjustment to the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA). In response, on April 20th, 2018, Colorado Senator Bob Gardner and Representative Paul Lundeen introduced Senate Bill 18-264. Gardner and Lundeen intended to discourage teachers from conducting protests. “The bill prohibits public school teachers and teacher organizations from directly or indirectly inducing, instigating, encouraging, authorizing, ratifying, or participating in a strike against any public-school employer” (SB18-264, n.d.). [5] However, Senate Bill 18-264 was heavily criticized and was dismissed. Despite the threat of the bill, Colorado teachers began to strike on April 27th, 2018 and continued to do so until May 12th, 2018. Ultimately, the state government of Colorado agreed to give teachers a two percent salary increase.
Reactions from state officials
Two Republican state senators, Bob Gardner and Paul Lundeen responded by proposing a bill that would fine teachers $5,000 per day for striking and send to teachers to jail for six months for striking.[6][7] The bill was met with harsh criticism and was killed in subcommittee on April 30,[8] although Gardner indicated he would consider reintroducing the bill in 2019 should there be a strike.[citation needed]
On April 30, Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper signed a $28.9 billion budget into law. In the law, $225 million was allocated to the state pension, and increased K-12 education funding by $150 million annually. Additionally, public colleges and universities would receive a 9 percent increase in state funding aimed at limiting increases in tuition rates.[9]
See also
References
  1. ^ a b c d e Eason, Brian (May 1, 2018). "What's driving the latest wave of teacher strikes? Pension problems, some say". PBS.org. Archived from the original on 2018-06-01. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  2. ^ Whaley, Monte (May 12, 2018). "Pueblo teachers reach tentative agreement with district for 2 percent pay hike". The Denver Post. Digital First Media. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  3. ^ Doctorow, Corey (April 29, 2018). "The teachers' strikes are spreading". Boing Boing. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  4. ^ "Schools in Arizona and Colorado set to stay closed due to teacher strike". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. April 30, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  5. ^ SB18-264. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb18-264
  6. ^ Roberts, Michael (April 24, 2018). "Who Does and Doesn't Want Striking Colorado Teachers to Go to Jail". Westword. Voice Media Group. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  7. ^ Galer, Kyla (April 30, 2018). "Bill to punish striking teachers goes to Colorado Senate committee". KKTV. Gray Television. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Paul, Jesse (April 30, 2018). "Colorado teachers won't be barred from striking – or face fines or jail time – because the bill's GOP sponsor says he'll yank it". The Denver Post. Digital First Media. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Associated Press (April 30, 2018). "Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signs $28.9 billion state budget". KMGH-TV. E. W. Scripps Company. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
Last edited on 10 September 2020, at 05:27
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