After years of sacrifice, benefiting the Jefferson County Public Schools district, the Jefferson County Education Association reached a tentative agreement today that will begin to restore pay for educators who made sacrifices during the recession. The tentative agreement was reached on the final scheduled day of bargaining, and is pending final ratification by JCEA members.
“In the 10+ years since the recession, we’ve seen our educators continually step up and sacrifice for the good of the district and the good of our students. It’s nice, for once, to see the district do something to not only reward those educators but to put in place the competitive tools necessary to attract the very best to our school district,” said JCEA President John Ford.
Some of the highlights of the deal include:
- A 2.5% increase to every cell on the salary schedule, step and lane movement for existing employees, and additional longevity pay for employees that remained loyal to their students through pay freezes during the recession. Though that exact amount has not yet been determined, the district will divide $3 million dollars among roughly 3,000 employees, which Chief Human Resources Officer, David Bell, stated to be about $600, though it may be higher, annually, for the entirety of their career in Jeffco Schools.
- Protected educator plan time three days a week in order to prevent meetings from taking away from educators ability to prepare for their students.
- Reduced class sizes for elementary Art, Music, and PE to no more than 30 students for 2019-20, and to not exceed a grade level classroom size in 2020-21.
- Educators will receive their sick leave days twice a year, instead of monthly.
Though Jeffco educators are excited to have reached a deal with the district, they are exhausted with the endless cycle of worrying if their compensation will increase enough each year to keep up with the cost of living. “This problem is twofold – there is a funding crisis in the state of Colorado which hugely impacts our district,” said Stephanie Rossi, Social Studies teacher at Wheat Ridge High School. “Members of JCEA are committed to advocating for a long term funding fix across the state of Colorado, but Jeffco also needs to examine its priorities, work with us to eliminate the barriers in this state, and invest in the hard working professionals in our district that are dedicated to our students.”
The final ratification vote is anticipated to take place August 19 – 21.
The Jefferson County Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents educators in Jeffco Public Schools. We believe that the every student in Jefferson County should have a quality teacher in every classroom, all voices matter, and our students deserve safe and welcoming schools.