Colorado teachers rally for more funding

Inspired by teachers in other states, Colorado educators brought demands for more funding to the streets on Monday....

Posted: Apr 17, 2018 10:09 AM
Updated: Apr 17, 2018 10:09 AM

Inspired by teachers in other states, Colorado educators brought demands for more funding to the streets on Monday.

Low funding and teacher pay is making the job less attractive to college graduates, prompting teachers to leave the profession early and leading to a shortage of fully qualified teachers, the Colorado Education Association says.

Dressed in the red T-shirts of the #RedForEd campaign that started in Arizona, they waved signs and chanted as they marched in front of the state Capitol. In the Denver area, the Englewood School District said it closed after more than 150 educators -- 70% of its workforce -- called in to take a personal day for the rally.

One of those teachers, Jessica Tarkanian, brought her 7-year-old daughter to Monday's rally. She said she's protesting to "support our retirement, fund our schools, and make sure we get what we need for our kids."

A teacher at Cherrelyn Elementary School, Tarkanian said she recently moved in with another family to save money and make ends meet. She says she's been teaching for 10 years, but earns the same as a teacher with three years of experience.

"I'm not sure I can do it anymore," she said.

The issues

Colorado's educators have been energized by teacher walkouts and demonstrations in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona, CEA President Kerrie Dallman told CNN. Teachers in West Virginia won a 5% pay raise in March after a nine-day strike.

"Our members are energized and fed up by the constant year-over-year chronic underfunding of our public schools," Dallman said.

Among the issues:

-- Teacher pay: The CEA says Colorado educators' average pay has dropped by more than 17% when adjusting for inflation over the last 15 years. In 2016, Colorado ranked 46th in the country for average teachers' salary, according to a report by the National Education Association.

-- Education funding: Colorado effectively has underfunded its schools by $828 million, the CEA says, because the state hasn't kept up with a state constitutional mandate passed in the last decade to increase funds each year by at least the rate of inflation.

Raising taxes to make up the money isn't easy, because the state's 1992 taxpayer bill of rights demands that voters approve any tax hikes. In a recent survey, teachers reported spending an average of $656 yearly on school supplies and expenses for students, the CEA said.

Third grade teacher Libby Bucher said she referees and coaches sports on the side to make ends meet. She said she has so much debt she had to stop putting money in her retirement account and cancel her life insurance.

Yet the single mom says she has never thought of leaving teaching. "I don't look at teaching as a job, it's who I am."

Residents join teachers for walk-in

Beyond the state capital, residents of Fort Collins joined educators in a walk-in outside Webber Middle School.

Laura Schachet is a media specialist at the school. She joined others in the demonstration, waving a sign that read, "We -our students & want the CO legislature to fix this!"

"Our generous voters in Fort Collins have historically supported PSD, teachers and support staff. We are asking the State to do so for PSD and all CO districts," said Schachet, a teacher for 18 years.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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A cold front will move into our area during our Tuesday. This front will bring some chances for some rain and isolated thunderstorms for our Tuesday night. Some of the activity will linger in our area into our Wednesday.
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