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Paula Supports Quality Educators

As is true of districts all across the nation, Jeffco schools have faced hard times. In 2011, as a result of the economic crisis and resulting budget cuts, the majority of my colleagues and I voted to cut and freeze our salaries, as well as take furlough days. We wanted to do our part to help the district and keep cuts as far from the classroom as possible, though anything that impacts educators impacts students. The sacrifices we made then significantly impact my retirement today, but I still feel we did the right thing at the time.

The district promised to get educator compensation back on track as soon as possible, but a new board majority was elected in 2013 that actually created a pay scheme that was ultimately found to be unfair by an independent fact-finder. Although that board majority was recalled and a transparent salary system re-implemented, trust between the district and its educators had been damaged, and Jeffco remains well below neighboring districts, like Denver and Boulder, in educator compensation.

This is also true when it comes to compensation for our educational support professionals, vital members of the Jeffco Schools team who have struggled for years in negotiations to get compensation commensurate with their contributions to student achievement. 

Betrayal of trust is no way to retain the quality educators we are fortunate enough to employ, and offering less-than-competitive salaries will not place us in an advantageous position for new hires. Jeffco has made commitments to our educators regarding compensation, and we must prioritize responsibility for those commitments to the best of our financial abilities. What we cannot offer in financial compensation, we must offer in work/life balance, by cutting back on extraneous tasks that do not directly benefit students. 

Our students deserve educators who are committed to them, which means we need to be committed to our educators.