Starting pay for classroom aides in Denver will rise to $20 an hour and the minimum wage for all school district employees will reach $20 an hour by 2024-25, according to agreements reached between the district and four labor unions.
The agreements come as school districts across the state struggle with staffing shortages and compete with rising private-sector wages.
Many Denver Public Schools positions offered a starting salary of $15.87, the minimum wage in the city of Denver. This spring, union leaders argued that workers would need to earn twice as much earn a real livable wagegiven the rising cost of living in the city.
In a news release, Denver Public Schools Chief Talent Officer Edwin Hudson said the agreements balance budget constraints with commitments to district employees.
Starting pay for classroom aides, known as paraprofessionals, will increase to $20 an hour starting Aug. 1 and to $21 by the 2024-25 school year.
Starting pay for janitors and food service workers will increase to $18 an hour and will increase by $1 each year to $20 an hour in 2024-25.
Starting pay will increase to $24.40 an hour for bus drivers, $22.42 an hour for transportation workers and $27.50 an hour for security patrol officers.
The pay raises are covered by separate three-year contracts with the United Transportation Union, the Colorado Federation of School Safety Professionals, Communications America, which represents the custodians, and the Denver Federation of Paraprofessionals and Food Service Employees.
Bureau Chief Erica Meltzer focuses on education policy and policy and oversees Chalkbeat Colorado’s education coverage. Contact Erica at email@example.com.