Teachers in Pueblo, Colorado, are striking for a higher salary and better health care coverage. Even after the district offered them what they said they wanted, the strike continues, NBC News reported.
The strike began earlier in the week, keeping thousands of Pueblo students out of class while their teachers followed the example of those in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona before them.
"Pueblo schools are under attack. What do we do? Fight back," teachers chanted outside the district administration building, according to the Denver Post. "Get up, get down, Pueblo is a union town!"
What do the teachers want?
The teachers have asked for a 2 percent cost-of-living raise and an extra $30 per month toward their health insurance. Their request was rejected by the school board, which said it could not afford the raise.
"Nobody disputes that all teachers deserve more," Pueblo School District communications director Dalton Sprouse told NBC. But Sprouse said the district is "not in a condition that we can fund" the raises.
Despite that, the district reportedly offered teachers a package of:
- $1,000 bonuses this year;
- Cost-of-living raises next year; and
- $50 per month toward health insurance starting in September 2018.
However, that wasn't enough to end the strike.
Pueblo teachers make an average of $47,617 annually. While that's below the state and national averages, it means the deal they have been offered would give them more than a 2 percent bonus this year, an actual cost-of-living raise next year, and more than they asked for toward health insurance.
Some teachers have said the strike is about more than salary and health insurance, referring to the poor condition of textbooks or a lack of school supplies. But the demands they are making for additional school funding are not clear.
"I got into teaching because I understand its value to society," East High School teacher Michael Lonsberry told the Denver Post. "You can't have a solid chance at a successful, productive and satisfying life without education."
(H/T: The Hill)