School district payroll up $10 million since 2007 |

School district payroll up $10 million since 2007

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The school district’s payroll increased $10 million since 2007, while employing roughly the same number of people.

Higher teacher salaries are the reason, say school district officials.

The numbers break out like this:

• 2007: $31,903,029 total payroll spread across 858 employees, 416 teachers and 442 non-certified staffers.

• 2011: $41,495,227 total payroll for 889 employees, 497 teachers and 392 non-certified staffers.

• The school district’s payroll jumped 30 percent between 2007 and 2011.

• The number of employees is up 4 percent over the same period.

The payroll increased $10 million over five years because teachers were underpaid, said Dr. Brian Childress, the Eagle County school district’s human resources director.

“The district realized we were underpaying teachers and needed to be more competitive,” Childress said.

Over a couple years the district increased teacher salaries significantly, and teachers cost more than hourly employees, Childress said.

The average Eagle County teacher’s salary is now $46,398 before benefits, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

That’s higher than the Roaring Fork school district, but still lower than other High Country school districts.

Before the salary increases, about 50 percent of local teachers were in their first three years, Childress said, and relatively low salaries were part of the problem.

“Now we’re more competitive,” Childress said.

They’re still not at the top of the scale, he said.

“We still pay teachers and administrators less than the large Front Range districts,” Childress said.

The school district’s payroll increase coincides with its performance pay program.

Last year, the school district paid out $746,048.93 in performance based bonuses, $546,326.21 for teachers and other salaried employees, and $199,722.72 for hourly employees.

School district employees get performance pay bonuses instead of annual raises.

The school district says cuts in state funding are pushing it back to 2007 funding levels.

The school board is asking voters for a $6 million annual property tax increase that it says would make up for that cut in state funding.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

Support Local Journalism