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Education

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • String theory

    Note to school principals: If you want teachers to come up with creative and cost-efficient ideas, send them to Hawaii.

    Mary Bowlen, music teacher at Littleton’s Montessori Peaks Academy, was vacationing with her husband’s family on Oahu several years ago when she picked up a family friend’s ukulele.

    “I sat down, I played, and before I knew it, I was like, ‘I want one,’ ” she said.

  • 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.