School Board ratifies teacher agreement

School Board ratifies teacher agreement
Posted on 05/24/2018
D51 All Staff Meeting crowd

Grand Junction, CO – Tuesday, May 22, 2018, the District 51 Board of Education ratified a 2018-19 contract between the Mesa Valley Education Association and School District 51 that increases teacher salaries and contract days. MVEA members ratified the contract on May 21, 2018.

The board ratifies an agreement with the association (which represents D51 teachers) each May following negotiations. Key elements of this year’s contract include:

  • Increasing teacher contracts from 184 days in 2017-18 to 188 days in 2018-19. The four additional days include one professional learning day funded by increased state revenues and three additional school days funded by the 2017 Mill Levy Override. The override funds five school days in total, but last year’s contract with MVEA already added in two of those days in 2017-18 with one-time funds.
  • Using increased state revenues to offer teachers an additional 2.6 percent pay increase, plus $500. The percentage increase lifts pay commensurate to experience and salary levels, while the flat monetary increase makes sure even the newest teachers receive a boost.
  • Applying a market adjustment to the minimum and maximum of the teacher salary schedule to further recruit and retain highly qualified teachers. 

The negotiated contract is the result of positive relationships between the D51 School Board, District 51, and MVEA and their shared focus on doing what is best for students, including recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. While this new contract is a step forward in reaching that goal, District 51 and Colorado still have some catching up to do.

“Having a high quality teacher in the classroom requires salaries which are competitive and draw new teachers to our district and incentivize experienced teachers to stay,” MVEA President Heather O’Brien said. “The key is more funding from the state and wise use of local funds. We, as a community, must lobby our state legislators to prioritize public education, to pay down the budget stabilization factor, and to increase funding.” 

The Budget Stabilization Factor, formerly known as the Negative Factor, is a post-recession tool used by the state legislature to reduce the amount districts would otherwise get through the state funding formula. While the district is still losing $15.5 million this year to the Budget Stabilization Factor, that figure is smaller than previous years. School Board President Tom Parrish said the reduction in the factor for 2018-19 played a huge part in making the negotiated salary increases possible.

“We value our teachers and the hard work they’re doing, and we are grateful that we are able to give them the salary increases they deserve because the state is reducing the Budget Stabilization Factor by $150 million statewide.”

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