DougCo schools raise teacher pay and benefit from more state funding

Suzie Glassman

By Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver

(Castle Rock, CO) Douglas County teachers and staff will see an increase in pay for the coming school year as the district works to fulfill its promise to invest in its employees.

According to the proposed budget presented to the Board of Education, the average salary for licensed staff will increase by 8% over the prior year, and non-licensed average staff salaries will increase by 6%. Full-time employees will get a $2,000 retention bonus, and part-time employees will get $1,000 in September.

Director Kane acknowledged that Douglas County teachers continue to make less on average than surrounding districts despite the increases. “Retaining our staff and helping to develop them and reward them for being such wonderful, amazing employees is a huge priority,” said Kane.

Kane said a mill levy override (MLO) could address long-term compensation investments and close the pay gap.

State money increases

According to Chalkbeat Colorado, the state’s constitution calls for a yearly increase in education funding to account for inflation and population increases.

However, state lawmakers passed the budget stabilization factor during the 2010 recession to take that money and use it for other budget priorities.

The impact on DougCo amounted to nearly $679 million in lost revenue from 2009 to 2021.

Thanks to this year’s proposed budget, signed into law by Gov. Polis, the impact of the budget stabilization factor will be less than in any year since 2010.

“The budget dedicates more than $5 billion in state money to base K-12 spending, a 7.5% increase over this year. Average per-student funding will go up 6% to $9,560 ($9,192 for Douglas County), writes Chalkbeat.

Special Education per student dollars increase

“Lawmakers are also putting $80 million more into special education, getting closer to funding a formula established back in 2006,” writes Chalkbeat.

The per-pupil dollars allocated to special education students through the state’s passing of Senate Bill 127 will increase to $1750, 40% more than the prior year.

Colorado has long underfunded special education services in the state. According to Chalkbeat, “State spending covers just a fraction of the cost of educating students with disabilities, and districts spend more than $740 million a year out of their general education budgets to make up the difference.”

Where the district will invest

According to the proposed budget presentation, the district’s priorities include investments in compensation, site-based budgets, and support systems for schools and students.

Those support systems include hiring additional health/wellness, mental health, and special education staff. The district will also increase its literacy curriculum and stipends for athletics/activities coaches.

The district says it will resume all outdoor education programming and return to normal extra and co-curricular activities.

2018 MLO uses for next year

The 2018 MLO gives DougCo schools an added $40 million per year in property tax revenue. The district will spend the money in the following places:

  • $17 million to address pay gaps
  • $3.5 million toward allocating for elementary school counselors
  • $2.5 million to change the student-to-counselor ratio at middle and high schools
  • $2 million toward career and trade-focused programming
  • $7 million toward school-level funding depending on the need
  • $8 million toward district charter schools

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I'm a reporter covering the Douglas County School District in Colorado.

Denver, CO

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