Local school teachers, staffers to get 10 percent pay raise | VailDaily.com

Local school teachers, staffers to get 10 percent pay raise

Dr. Jason Glass, superintendent of Eagle County schools was part of the negotiations with the local teachers union , the Eagle County Education Associiation, that hammered out the agreement for a 10 percent pay raise. Eagle County voters made it possible by approving a tax increase that boosted operating revenue for local schools by $8 million a year.

EAGLE — Most school district employees will get a 10 percent pay raise, thanks to a voter-approved funding bump.

The school board approved the pay increases Wednesday, part of the additional $8 million annual funding increase voters approved last month.

That 10 percent pay bump means new teachers start at $41,000, with no experience and no advanced degree. Add 35 percent for benefits and the total package for a starting teacher is $55,350, said school district data.

The pay scale now tops at $85,000, which can increase if the teacher has earned things like advanced degrees, teacher leadership stipends and National Board Certification.

The school district's other employees — non-teachers — will also get a 10 percent pay raise.

The school district's senior administrative staff does not get a salary increase.

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The salary increases will show up in the Jan. 20 paycheck.

Megan Orvis heads Eagle County Education Association, and helped hammer out the agreement.

"It's one of the largest, and perhaps the largest pay increase in the school district's history," Orvis said.

The work is not finished, though.

"Now we have work to do with the state funding issue," Orvis said.

The salary increase puts Eagle County schools near the top of the pay scale regionally, and could help in recruiting new teachers, said Dr. Jason Glass, superintendent of local schools.

"Thank you, voters"

Glass and several school board members repeatedly thanked voters for approving the additional funding.

"After all these decades we have an opportunity to give employees of the Eagle County School Board a shot at earning a living wage," Glass said.

The school board approved the salary increases as part of a resolution last June, as it was preparing for the ballot question.

When voters approved the tax increase last month, negotiations began in earnest between the union and the school district administration.

The local teachers union, the Eagle County Education Association, approved the upgraded salary package in a vote last week.

"We were trying to be more competitive for that base salary for new teachers, especially compared with Aspen and Summit County," said Orvis, who teaches world geography at Eagle Valley High School.

With $8 million more per year, the school district will increase many salaries, hire more people, expand early childhood education and upgrade technology.

The shed district shed 90 positions when recession-caused staff forced $14 million in budget cuts.

The school district won't hire any new staffers this year. Principals will determine how staffing will change in their schools in the 2017-18 school year, Glass said.

Along with $8 million annually in additional operating money, voters also gave the school district the green light to borrow $144 million to upgrade buildings and technology. The $230 million total price tag makes it the largest tax increase in Eagle County history.

How local teacher pay stacks up

With the 10 percent salary increases, Eagle County teachers earn an average of $53,966.

Compared to other mountain resort school districts:

Around the region

• Aspen $56,776

• Telluride $55,856

• Summit County $55,711

• Eagle County, $53,996

• Steamboat Springs $52,915

• Roaring Fork $49,497

• Colorado statewide average $51,802

Colorado’s Top Paying Districts

• Boulder Valley School District $77,574

• Cherry Creek School District $67,939

• Littleton $64,739

• Adams 12 5-Star Schools: $57,561

• Jefferson County $54,922

• Pourdre School District $53,383

• St. Vrain Valley School District $52,941

• Douglas County School District $51,274

• Denver Public Schools $50,247

Source: Colorado Department of Education

Highest average in major U.S. cities

• New York City $54,903

• Los Angeles $51,729

• Chicago $50,000

• Houston $50,000

Source: Forbes