I’m Leaving Jeffco to Earn a Living Wage

Posted on: August 2, 2019
Posted By: Christine Wiggins
Posted in: Educator Stories

Lakewood’s 2019 graduation was especially poignant for me. Not only did my first class of freshmen at Lakewood graduate, but I graduated from Jeffco at the same time. During my 8 years in the district, my life evolved and changed, while my paycheck unfortunately did not. I got married, became a mother, and then a single mother. I held my breath during the pay freeze as did many others. I finished my second master’s, got divorced, and started paying closer attention to my paycheck. It wasn’t until I found out that a colleague (another veteran teacher) who had just been hired with similar years of teaching experience was earning $8000 more than I. Her 10 years in another district counted towards her pay but my service in the district did not. At that moment, I became determined to earn what I was worth.

Having just made the move to DPS, I am now compensated for both my 10 years of experience and, with the additional columns on the pay scale, my salary reflects and rewards my extensive education. While I was proud to be a Lakewood Tiger, I am getting a $16,000 raise that will allow me to provide a much better life for my son and me. I will truly miss what I loved about Jeffco, including my former principal and Assistant Principals, fabulous colleagues, non-probationary status, a chance to teach Advance Placement classes, and chairing the World Language department. However, I look forward to forging new relationships and connections while at the same time being compensated as a professional. I truly worry about Jeffco’s future because while we educators are passionate and dedicated, we are not volunteers. In DPS, I will be able to continue inspiring students with my love of learning while at the same time being able to afford to live where I work.

I loved being a Lakewood Tiger, and would have loved to stay; but I also need to be able to support my family. Jeffco Schools needs to make a real commitment to increasing employee compensation in order to keep experienced educators working with Jeffco students. Write the Board of Education and tell them it is time for them to invest in our kids by investing in their educators, and advocate for your needs: attend bargaining August 14th from 4:30-8:30 at the Ed Center.

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