Jeffco schools, teachers union reach tentative agreement

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By Daniel Laverty

The bargaining teams for Jeffco Public Schools and the Jefferson County Education Association have reached a tentative agreement on teacher compensation and other items in the teachers' contract.

The agreement, which was reached Thursday night, includes:

* An average 2.5 percent increase in salary for teachers rated “effective” or “highly effective” in their evaluations,

* An increase in starting pay for new teachers,

* No increase in employee health-care premiums for the next school year,

* Class size remaining the same, and

* An agreement to work on a new compensation plan for the next contract.

 “This agreement doesn’t get us all the way to where we need to be to continue to recruit and retain the highest quality teachers, but will allow our teacher to know what the upcoming year brings,” said Ami Prichard, JCEA president.

JCEA members must now approve the agreement. If approved by the teachers, the Jeffco school board will then vote on whether to ratify it.

The negotiated terms would be in effect from July 1, 2014, until June 30, 2015, which is when the contract expires. The JCEA had wanted to extend the contract for another three years.

Contract negotiations between the district and the teachers union were made public this year for the first time. The teachers union declared an impasse last month, and negotiations were moved behind closed doors for third-party mediation. Thursday was the first day of mediation.

Jeffco teachers have not had cost-of-living pay raises in four years. The current contract between the district and the teachers union expires August 2015.

See the May 14 issue for a complete version of this story.