Volume 2 Issue 3

Ninety Nine Percent of Teachers Get Raises

Millions More Added to Compensation

Wrapping up what has been an unusually long negotiations process, the Jeffco Board of
Education approved the allocation of $18.2 million in employee compensation increases.
Initial recommendations from last year’s summit had set the compensation increase
pool at $11.7 million. During the spring budget cycle, the new board increased the dollars
available to $18.2 million.

The teachers association wanted to have that money allocated as a step. A continuation of
the old pay system, their plan was to give out raises based on years of service and education
levels. In Jeffco there are many places on the salary schedule where a teacher gets no
raise for a couple or even several years. Four hundred and fifty Jeffco teachers would have
received no take home increase.

The new board had a different idea with better results for more teachers. They determined that all teachers should be eligible for increases. After all, every teacher saw their static paychecks lose purchasing power over the last couple of years. The board adopted a plan that extends an ongoing increase to 98 percent of Jeffco teachers while 99 percent will see larger paychecks this year. The plan also recognizes performance by giving bigger raises to those who earned the highest rating in the district’s evaluation system. Appropriately, the board also approved making the increases retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Wrapping up what has been an unusually long negotiations process, the Jeffco Board of
Education approved the allocation of $18.2 million in employee compensation increases.
Initial recommendations from last year’s summit had set the compensation increase
pool at $11.7 million. During the spring budget cycle, the new board increased the dollars
available to $18.2 million.

The teachers association wanted to have that money allocated as a step. A continuation of
the old pay system, their plan was to give out raises based on years of service and education
levels. In Jeffco there are many places on the salary schedule where a teacher gets no
raise for a couple or even several years. Four hundred and fifty Jeffco teachers would have
received no take home increase.

The new board had a different idea with better results for more teachers. They determined that all teachers should be eligible for increases. After all, every teacher saw their static paychecks lose purchasing power over the last couple of years. The board adopted a plan that extends an ongoing increase to 98 percent of Jeffco teachers while 99 percent will see larger paychecks this year. The plan also recognizes performance by giving bigger raises to those who earned the highest rating in the district’s evaluation system. Appropriately, the board also approved making the increases retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Most Jeffco teachers received an “effective” rating on their professional practices evaluation
last year, and will see an average increase of 2.43 percent (an additional $1,336 for someone
earning $55,000). First-year teachers rated “partially effective” will have an ongoing 1 percent
increase. Highly effective teachers will see their paychecks grow by an average of 4.25 percent.

For the 66 teachers out of more than 4,500 who rated less than effective, there will be no
raises. However, the district is picking up the increased costs of their retirement benefits,
as it is for all employees. Jeffco employees will continue to contribute 8 percent of their paychecks to PERA, instead of contributing to Social Security, while the district will now pay 18.35 percent.

Newer teachers in Jeffco will see increases from 1.3 to 13 percent as the board directed that
the entry-level salary floor be raised to $38,000. Previously, new teachers with a bachelor’s degree started at $33,616. This change will allow Jeffco to compete for outstanding new teachers to help ensure an effective teacher is in every classroom.

In addition, the 25 teachers at the high end of the salary schedule will receive a one-time
stipend, the size of which is based on their evaluation rating. Under the association’s step
plan, those teachers making $81,031 would not have received any increase at all.

Some have expressed concerns that the evaluations were not fair. As in any evaluation
of professional practices, there are bound to be differences. Therefore, the district has set up
an appeal process for any teacher who believes their evaluation was not accurate.

By moving away from a system that pays teachers for length of service, the Jeffco board has given raises to significantly more teachers and has helped ensure that the most effective
among them know that the Jeffco community recognizes and rewards their efforts.