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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.

  • 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.

  • School district negotiations raise Open Meetings Law questions

    The recent move by Jeffco Public Schools and the teachers union to take portions of contract negotiations behind closed doors falls into a murky area of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.

    The district and the Jefferson County Education Association opened negotiations last month, and both sides agreed early on to break into small study groups and examine several priority topics. The two sides announced last week that meetings of the small groups would not be open to the public.

  • School district, teachers open talks

    Negotiators for the Jeffco school district and the teachers union waded into collective bargaining last week, and while pledges of cooperation remain in the air, some friction around compensation has already made an early appearance.

    The union’s entire contract is on the table this year, and the district and the union spent most of their first two sessions laying out each side’s specific interests and defining logistics for how bargaining sessions would be structured. Negotiations could run through May.

  • Union seeks to protect names of teachers absent during sick-out

    A lawsuit filed by Jeffco’s teachers union in an attempt to protect the names of teachers who missed school during a “sick-out” last fall has shifted the district’s simmering discord to the judicial arena.

    An injunction issued last week prevents the district from any further release of the names of teachers who were absent last Sept. 19 — at least until a district court hearing scheduled for May 15.

  • Jeffco develops Outdoor Lab master plan

    Jeffco Public Schools is developing a master plan for maintaining its outdoor lab schools on Mount Evans and in Bailey.

    Shannon Hancock, executive director of the Outdoor Lab Foundation, said the plan will address site needs, as well as educational impacts and programming goals.

    “This is a really exciting process,” she said.

  • Alternatives to building new schools considered

    If Jeffco school board members don’t want to spend money on new buildings and renovations, there are alternatives to deal with crowded schools like Rooney Ranch Elementary — but district COO Steve Bell isn’t crazy about them.

    Alternative solutions to anticipated crowding at schools like Rooney Ranch could include installing temporary classrooms in the short term, and taking more drastic measures over the long term.

  • Alternatives to building new schools considered

    If Jeffco school board members don’t want to spend money on new buildings and renovations, there are alternatives to deal with crowded schools like Rooney Ranch Elementary — but district COO Steve Bell isn’t crazy about them.

    Alternative solutions to anticipated crowding at schools like Rooney Ranch could include installing temporary classrooms in the short term, and taking more drastic measures over the long term.

  • School board dismisses federal mediator

    The Jeffco school board has dismissed its outside mediator for upcoming union negotiations because of his organization’s policy banning recording or streaming.

    The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which is free to the district, will not allow its mediators to be recorded or streamed.

  • Jeffco school board votes to seek testing waiver

    The Jeffco school board voted to request a waiver that would let the district opt out of some state standardized testing, in a move that some board members said is premature.

    The Jeffco vote came Jan. 15, just a week after the State Board of Education approved a measure that allows districts to request waivers from exams developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.