On Oct. 2, the Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a compensation agreement with the Jefferson County Education Association. The terms of the agreement had been …
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On Oct. 2, the Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a compensation agreement with the Jefferson County Education Association. The terms of the agreement had been agreed on by district negotiators and the JCEA on Sept. 21.
The compensation agreement gives educators a 3% salary payment that they will receive in two installments of 1.5% each. The money for the payments will come from one-time money in district reserves. Aside from compensation, this years agreement included the development of a sick-leave bank which can offer additional support to educators in times of health crisis, changes in language around grievance, class sizes and teacher assignments, summer school pay rates, benefits coverage and student discipline. It also allows for salary movement for those who are eligible based on education.
In a press release, Interim Superintendent Kristopher Schuh said the District was pleased to have reached the agreement with the JCEA after many long negotiating sessions.
“Many of the items discussed this session — class size planning and collaboration, student behavior and teacher rights around discipline directly impact the success of teachers and ultimately students,” Schuh said. “Our teams are very proud of the positive changes we made this year.”
Prior to the Board’s vote, the JCEA voted to ratify the agreement. A statement from JCEA President Brooke Williams said that while the agreement had achieved some concrete improvements, especially through language changes, Jeffco educators still made significant sacrifices this year.
“We cannot afford to not invest in Jeffco educators long term. It is bad for our students, our educators, our communities and our future,” Williams said.
She also said that members made the difficult decision to accept the deal which has long-term effects on their compensation while facing the most difficult working conditions they had ever seen. In her written statement, Williams pointed out that Jeffco currently ranks fifth in average educator salary among surrounding districts, and that as a state, Colorado ranks last in the nation for wage competitiveness (measuring what teachers are paid compared to what they could make in other industries with a similar level of education). She thinks that if nothing is done to make Jeffco more competitive, the district will continue to lose educators to surrounding districts and other states. She also touched on the current crisis we’re all facing and the effect it is having on schools.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our students, educators and community profoundly. Some of those impacts are immediate and obvious while others continue to reveal themselves,” said Williams, in her written statement. She also made it clear that although educators want to be in schools with students, they are relying on the community to follow safe practices to achieve that vision.
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement between Jeffco Public Schools and the JCEA is effective through Aug. 31, 2021.
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