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Onward and Upward: Jeffco Forges Ahead with New Pay Model

A while back, I wrote about a proposal in Jefferson County that aimed to reimagine the way the district’s pay structure works. The proposal generated much huffing and puffing by the teachers union. Happily, this has not resulted in them blowing the proverbial house down. In fact, the school board voted last week to press forward on a more sensible pay system.

The most interesting parts of the model’s newest iteration are the details, which a recent story in Chalkbeat outlines rather well:

  • The base salary for teachers, which is currently about $33,000, will be raised to $38,000
  • Last year’s teacher evaluations will determine bonuses
  • Probationary teachers, those still in the first three years of teaching, who received a “partly-effective” rating will receive a 1 percent raise
  • Teachers who received an “effective” rating will receive a 2.43 percent raise
  • Teachers who received a “highly effective” rating will receive a 4.25 percent raise
  • All raises, regardless of when they are finalized, will be retroactive to the start of the school year.

Those paying close attention will notice a new piece: probationary teachers rated as “partially effective” will now receive a small raise. While this may be a partial nod toward a rejected fact-finder recommendation that partially effective teachers receive raises, it’s also a rational acknowledgement of the fact that many new teachers need some time to gain their sea legs.

Jeffco has taken an admirable first step here, but it’s important to remember that the district’s new pay model is not a done deal. In a rather boringly unsurprising development, our friends at the teachers union are already considering legal action. And on a policy side, there will still be issues that need to be ironed out, including the often intractable issue of evaluating teacher evaluations themselves.

Even so, Jeffco is on the road. Rest assured that I’ll be watching their incipient pay model carefully as it develops.