Breaking News
More () »

All DPS early childhood education classes canceled during teacher strike, parents get creative with childcare

Gov. Jared Polis said all Denver Public Schools will remain open despite a strike, but that doesn't apply to early childhood education classes. DPS explained why.

With Denver school teachers poised to picket starting Monday after a long but ultimately failed negotiation process, the district has assured parents that all DPS schools will remain open and operating throughout the strike. 

What isn't guaranteed, however, is the availability of early childhood education classes as the strike looms. 

DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova said Wednesday that due to the licensing requirements, training and background checks needed to staff early childhood education classrooms, the district wouldn't be able to provide those classes during a strike. 

That leaves 4,714 students - 71 percent of which qualify for free and reduced price lunch - without promised childcare should teachers strike on Monday. 

RELATED: Denver teacher strike: A timeline of events

Mom Bex Girmann has two children - one in ECE classes and one second-grader. To cope with the fact that one of her kids won't have childcare, she's teamed up with other parents to take turns watching a group of 10-15 similar aged kids. 

"We have worked out a childcare exchange amongst our friends at school," Girmann said on Thursday. 

This is a solution to what Girmann hopes is a temporary problem. 

9NEWS asked Anna Alejo, the district's Chief Communications Officer, about the decision to cancel all early childhood education classes. She said DPS understands how this closure may affect families.

"We understand how disruptive it may be for families to not be able to take their students to preschool," Alejo said via email. 

DPS is, however, doing its best to accommodate lower-income families. 

"To ensure all students have access to meals, ECE students can come to the school to eat breakfast and lunch with a parent or guardian," Alejo said. 

Highlands United Methodist Church at West 32nd Avenue and Osceola Street in Denver is helping take care of ECE kids in their neighborhood if the strike begins next week.

Striking teachers, retired teachers and community members have also volunteered to help care. 

There will be activities for kids at no cost to parents, but the church does ask if parents can make a donation to do so to cover activity costs. They will prioritize the students based on need. Those interested in this can call the church at (303) 477-5857. 

As of Thursday afternoon, teachers are expected to walk off the job on Monday if they don't reach a last-minute agreement with the school district. 

Cordova has previously said she was "very motivated" to reach a deal with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association ahead of Monday. DCTA and DPS are slated to meet again on Friday afternoon. 

This announcement came after the state of Colorado decided not to intervene in negotiations, citing it believes both the union and the district are very close to a resolution to their labor dispute.


RELATED: No state intervention in DPS, union labor dispute; Teachers say they'll strike Monday

RELATED: Denver teachers union, district to have closed-door meetings with governor this afternoon

RELATED: Denver Public Schools explains 'incorrect communication' about visa holders

RELATED: Denver teachers union rejects latest offer from school district

RELATED: Denver teachers rally at State Capitol ahead of Thursday's negotiations

RELATED: DPS, teachers to resume contract negotiations on Thursday

RELATED: Students plan a sit-in for teachers

RELATED: DPS apologized for threatening to report striking teachers to immigration

RELATED: Denver teachers rally outside school board meeting

RELATED: Denver teachers have to wait to strike by law

RELATED: If DPS' mental health staff strikes with teachers, some students could have a longer school year. Here's why

RELATED: DPS teacher strike: Union outlines its next steps

RELATED: Teachers union: DPS strike 'highly unlikely' to begin Monday as state gets involved

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Local stories from 9NEWS


Before You Leave, Check This Out