Association News

From the Bargaining Team

Jan 28, 2018

Thank you to everyone who took our annual bargaining survey. We are analyzing the data and reading all the comments. Scroll down to see some comments that are either representative of many comments and/or have some concerns or misconceptions that we felt needed to be addressed.

As always, we appreciate dialogue with members and invite you to email any of us with additional questions or concerns or great ideas for making JeffCo a great place for students and educators.

Your bargaining team,

Christy Yacano, Chair, Sierra ES
Rob Cassady, Standley Lake HS
Jon Cefkin, Lukas ES
Jayson Haberkorn, Bell MS
Arik Heim, Wheat Ridge HS
Stephie Rossi, Wheat Ridge HS
Anthea Samuels, Ryan ES
John Ford, President
Lisa Elliott, Staff Liaison

1. I want a pay raise to where I should be. I make about $20,000 less per year than teachers with equal experience and education in other metro area districts. This discrepancy is inexcusable. JCEA has let me down with regard to this issue.

Salary is the #1 issue for our members, and therefore for our bargaining team. After taking hits during the recession, we were just coming back from salary cuts and furloughs when the 2013 election put an anti-teacher board in place.

Teachers who were here remember the attacks, the arbitrary salary raises, and the elimination of the salary schedule.

JCEA fought back through the bargaining process, going to fact-finding and finally to court. At the end of the day, we maintained a negotiated agreement, but it was not without costs.

Finally, after the 2015 recall, we re-established a salary schedule for the 2016-2017 school year.  It’s not perfect, and we will try to improve it this year, but the biggest challenge is lack of funding from the state and the failure of the 2016 mill levy.

Jeffco receives $7,472 from the state for each student. Other districts receive much more. Denver, for example, receives $7,918 per student. Cherry Creek gets $7,623.

ALL districts are impacted by the “negative factor” which was put in place to balance the state budget during the recession and has never been eliminated. The negative factor for Jeffco is a whopping $75,715.514. That’s 76 MILLION dollars!! Even part of this lost money would mean a huge salary increase.

We understand your frustration, but urge you to support your bargaining team. We are classroom teachers volunteering our time to get the best deal possible for all our members. We aren’t perfect, but many factors outside our immediate control play into our Jeffco budget woes.

2. I have concerns about a home visit program. I worry that low income families might be embarrassed to have their teacher visit.

That is an understandable concern. That’s why JCEA wants to use a national home visit program, Parent Teacher Home Visits (www.pthvp.org). The program has several non-negotiables, including that visits should be voluntary, both for the teacher and the family. Teachers in Denver who have used this protocol report amazing visits with families that leave both teachers and parents positive and more connected.

Other elements in the program are training and pay for staff who conduct visits (ESP staff may be included); a requirement to not target students, but offer visits to all families so that home visits do not carry a stigma. Educators visit in pairs and reflect on the visit together.
We hope to negotiate district funds to pay for these visits. Schools would need to apply for the program. It would be run similarly to the Professional Growth Funds for teacher training.

3. I think that with site based budgeting, principals are going to displace those teachers who are paid more so that they have more money to use in other areas. This is unfair to those of us who have invested our career into teaching and then end up being displaced.

Under SBB schools are charged the average teacher salary for every teacher in the building. New teachers making less money do not result in increased SBB dollars for the school. Conversely, veteran teachers making higher salaries do not cost the school more money.

4. The yearly IEGs create more work and I have not seen a transfer of increased PARCC scores as a result of this initiative. It has created more work and no measurable results in student achievement. It is more micromanaging of teachers to justify our salary. Punitive busywork needs to be eliminated. Thank you for all that you do to support us.

Many teachers agree with you! The IEGs are a result of Senate Bill 191 which overhauled evaluation (and included the 50% growth that IEGs measure) as well as transfers. Losing NP status after two consecutive years of less than effective ratings is also part of that law.

SB 19 also created the “mutual consent” provision which requires the District to “displace” teachers and require them to interview for a new position. Formerly teachers were involuntarily transferred to another district school when reductions needed to be made at a building level.

The IEG process might be able to be streamlined, but the 50% growth has to be reported to CDE each year. Let the JCEA office know if you have ideas on how to make it more meaningful and less burdensome.