• 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.