Denver schools cancel classes amid teacher protests

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Two Republican lawmakers who have long helped shape education policy in Colorado have introduced a bill that would bar teachers from striking and strip unions that endorse strikes of their bargaining power.

The Coloradoan says the bill is unlikely to pass in the Democratic-controlled legislature. Bob Gardner, a Colorado Springs Republican who is one of the measure's prime sponsors.

"I started thinking about the bill when I saw the news about teacher strikes in West Virginia", GOP Sen.

"I'm not sure how far it makes it", said Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City. They coalition said they support Marty Pollio but feels his hands are now tied by JCTA and a dysfunctional board.

Denver Public Schools, the state's largest school district, will send students home early Friday because of the number of teachers expected to attend an afternoon rally.

Under the bill, school districts would be able to seek an injunction to stop a strike in court. It also would prohibit public school employers from "consenting to or condoning" a teacher strike. If a public school teacher or teacher organization failed to comply with a district court injunction, they could be held in contempt of court and punished with fines or up to six months in county jail, or both.

"We are certainly going to amend the bill to require the union to pay the costs of parents who are disrupted, that can't be good for families, that can't be good for Colorado, that can't be good for anyone other than the teachers union", said Gardner. 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.

Most importantly, there are better ways to increase teacher pay.

The Colorado Education Association, the state teacher union responsible for organizing the walkouts, has called for educators to meet at Colorado's State Capitol Building to call on legislators to support teachers and their interests. "Now what we are seeing is a teachers' union that is pressuring teachers in school districts to converge on the Capitol". On Monday, April 16, with walkouts happening statewide and many teachers converging on the state Capitol, teachers in RE-1 wore red to show their support for public education.