Pay going up for Eagle County teachers |

Pay going up for Eagle County teachers

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” The school district is boosting it’s starting pay for teachers by more than $2,700 for the 2008/2009 school year ” a change that will hopefully attract more talented teachers and keep them here, school leaders say.

Year after year, the school district loses dozens of teachers because of the high cost of living, said Jason Glass, human resources director for the school district.

If the district can become more competitive with pay, it will get and keep the best teachers, he said.

“We’re trying to reverse the flow of teachers around here,” Glass said. “People come here early in their career for the lifestyle, then we end up sending teachers over to the rest of the state.”

At $38,650, the new base pay for teachers will be one of the highest starting salaries for public schools in the state, second only to Aspen, which pays starting teachers $40,000. However, teachers who come here have several ways to easily push their starting pay over $40,000, Glass said.

For instance, teachers who sign up for hard-to-fill positions, like ones in special education or teaching English as a second language, will receive an extra $1,000 signing bonus. The district added a few schools to its high poverty school list, which will earn teachers another $2,500 signing bonus.

Instead of an extra $2,500 a year for having an advanced degree, like a masters or doctorate, teachers will now get $3,000 a year.

The school district will also start paying a lot more for veteran teachers, and every extra year of experience means more money. Teachers with even one year experience will earn $773 more a year, a teacher with five years experience would earn $3,865 more a year, and teachers with 15 years experience would earn $9,663 a year.

As for teachers who are already here ” their salaries will be going up to match what the new teachers are making, Glass said

“We don’t want to hire someone new and pay them at a higher rate than what our current staff is making,” Glass said.

Todd Huck, a teacher at Berry Creek Middle School, said these changes should be a great thing for the school district.

“It’s going to be attractive to young teachers coming out of college,” Huck said. “If you’re a high performing teacher, and you have the skill set, and you’re good at it, you’ll end up making more money in the long run here.”

Even with the pay raises, Huck knows it will still be difficult to keep teachers here. When you’re looking at half a million dollars to buy a town home, the school district still has its work cut out for it to retain teachers, he said.

Glass said the district is looking at more ways to keep teachers here for the long run ” things like down-payment assistant programs and obtaining more district-owned employee housing.

For instance, the school district is seriously considering investing in Stratton Flats in Gypsum and the West End in Edwards, both large developments with affordable housing communities.

If you want to see the full pay schedule for Eagle County Schools for 2008-2009, visit

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or

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