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Education

  • Teachers union, district debate pay model in court

    The Jeffco teachers union argued Friday in district court that the school district improperly enacted a performance-based pay model that created unfair pay disparities between new and experienced teachers.

    The district countered that the school board was well within its rights to make final decisions about pay, and that the same disparities existed under the former system.

    Attorneys for the Jefferson County Education Association and the school district argued their cases before District Judge Christopher Zenisek, who has not yet made a decision.

  • School board member apologizes for Facebook post

    A school board member who publicly shared a link on Facebook calling for parents to protest Friday’s LGBT Day of Silence said she didn’t read the post before sharing it and feels “sickened” over its message.

    Board member Julie Williams shared a link April 15 from ultraconservative campaign website SaveCalifornia.com that urged parents across the U.S. to keep their kids home from public schools to protest “perverse indoctrination” by “sexually confused” students and teachers.

  • Student demonstration calls attention to modern slavery

    Students from Front Range Christian School took part last week in an international effort to draw attention to the plight of those suffering under forced labor and slavery.

    Students from the school stood at South Santa Fe Drive and West Bowles Avenue throughout the day April 10 as part of the International Justice Mission’s Stand Up for Freedom Day.

  • Teachers union sues over pay-for-performance policy

    Jeffco’s teachers union is suing the school district over its divisive pay-for-performance policy, which is still in its first year.

    The Jefferson County Education Association’s lawsuit, filed April 7 amid contract negotiations with the teachers, asserts that the district’s pay plan was unilaterally implemented without union input, and that it will cause irreparable harm to teachers’ interests. The suit also claims the policy violated an existing contract with the teachers.

  • GOP chair withdraws from presentation to school district

    The chair of Colorado’s Republican Party decided not to participate in a Jeffco Public Schools panel on innovative practices in public education last week after the district was criticized for his involvement.

    State GOP chair Steve House was slated to make a presentation to the politically divided school board April 16 along with several other speakers, but withdrew his name April 12. The district received complaints from some members of the public, asking why House — whose career has been in health care technology — had been invited.

  • Jeffco schools could receive less money from state

    Proposed cuts by lawmakers in the K-12 portion of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2015-16 state budget could mean that Jeffco Public Schools receives $17.5 million less than anticipated.

    Hickenlooper’s funding plan would have provided the district $37 million in state funds; $17.2 million of that would have gone toward ongoing costs, while $19.8 million would have been earmarked for one-time expenditures.

  • Study groups take over in teacher contract talks

    Jeffco Public Schools and the teachers union have agreed to take part of their current contract negotiations behind closed doors.

    The sides agreed early on to form small groups made up of representatives and experts to examine several priority topics. The smaller groups will meet to come up with options before the full bargaining teams gather again to hammer out a final agreement. The next public negotiations are slated for April 13.

  • School board approves salary guidelines for newly hired Jeffco teachers

    The Jeffco school board has unanimously approved salary guidelines for teachers hired this year who have teaching experience in other districts, have master’s degrees, or are working in hard-to-fill positions.

  • Student-based budgeting lets principals get a jump on hiring

    Several months into Jeffco Public Schools’ implementation of student-based budgeting, area principals are saying the new policy gives them the ability to react quickly to their schools’ hiring needs.

    Until this year, school funding was directed by the district office and based on schools’ enrollments — students were counted in October, and then money was disbursed. Under the new model, enrollment is still a major factor, but principals decide what programs get cut, kept or expanded based on student and community needs.

  • Pay raises urged for principals, assistant principals

    Jeffco Public Schools should pay higher salaries to its principals and assistant principals, teachers who hold relevant master’s degrees, and staff in hard-to-fill positions, the district’s human resources chief said at a March 5 school board meeting.

    As the district moves into its budget season and gears up for contract negotiations with the teachers union, chief human resources officer Amy Weber recommended that board members consider instituting the pay changes to make the district more competitive.