This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More on chalkbeat.org.
New teachers in Jeffco Public Schools will receive starting salaries of $50,000, while the most experienced teachers will be able to earn more than $100,000 a year, according to a preliminary agreement between the district and the teachers union.
Jeffco Public Schools and the Jefferson County Education Association reached an agreement Wednesday night, two weeks before the start of the school year. Earlier, after months of negotiations, the union declared an impasse and the two sides moved to mediation.
The agreement still requires ratification by the school board and union members.
Christine Wiggins, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Education Association, the union that represents teachers and special services providers, said the new salary schedule strikes a balance between retaining experienced educators, which has been a priority for the union, and attracting new teachers to the district, which has been a priority administration.
Starting salaries for new teachers will rise 15% to $50,000 from the current $43,274 a year. Wiggins estimated that the average raise for current teachers would be about 9%. The contract guarantees all teachers a raise of at least $3,000 a year, with some getting double or triple that.
A district spokeswoman did not immediately respond to questions about the agreement, including how much it would cost, instead delaying comment until an official statement was released Thursday afternoon.
School districts across the state are raising pay as they grapple with staff shortages, even as the skyrocketing cost of living eats away at those gains.