Thousands of teachers gathered at the Colorado state capitol on Thursday for the first of two rallies, asking for more school funding. The second happens today. It comes at the same time teachers in Arizona are walking out of the classroom to demand higher pay. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland reports.
Colorado teachers are protesting to highlight long-standing problems in school funding and potential changes to the public employee pension they rely on. Michelle Di Manna- teaches high school math. She says she’s making less money now than she was ten years ago.
“We don’t have enough textbooks for students. We have to supple pencils and papers out of our paycheck, and we’re paying more and more into our health benefits.”
The rallies come at a time when Colorado is putting more money into schools than it has before. The Democratic chair of the joint budget says this session represents the largest investment she has seen in 8 years, including 30 million dollars for rural schools and about 225 million dollars to help shore up the pension system.