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Teacher Protests Will Close Some of Colorado's Largest Districts on Thursday and Friday

UPDATED

Ahead of planned teacher protests on Thursday and Friday to call for increased K-12 funding and for the state legislature to fully fund the teachers' retirement system, some of Colorado's largest school districts are already canceling classes.

Based on the early announcements, districts serving more than 400,000 students could be affected, according to Chalkbeat.

The massive wave of teacher protests that started in West Virginia in February has made its way to Colorado, where teachers rallied in the state capitol last week for more money for schools and to protest proposed cuts to their retirement benefits.

Hundreds of teachers are expected to head to the state capitol again on Thursday and Friday while a proposed bill seeks to ban teachers from encouraging or participating in strikes. Under the bill, teachers could face fines or six months in county jail.

While the teachers are focusing on K-12 funding, the anti-union bill is also garnering attention.

The bill would ban public school employers from condoning a teachers' strike or paying teachers during a strike, and it allows districts to get an injunction to stop a strike. Teachers who violate an injunction could be fired without a hearing, according to the bill. 

(In contrast, during the recent Oklahoma teachers' strike, some superintendents openly supported teachers. Tulsa superintendent Deborah Gist, for example, rode to the capitol with some of the district's teachers.)

Chalkbeat reports that the Colorado bill, sponsored by Republicans Sen. Bob Gardner and Rep. Paul Lundeen, is not expected to pass. 

While Jefferson County Schools will be closed on Thursday, Denver will close on Friday. Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Cherry Creek, Poudre, and St. Vrain Valley school districts are among the school systems that plan to close on Friday.

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