RFSD teachers to see minor pay raise | PostIndependent.com

RFSD teachers to see minor pay raise

A comparison of base and comparable step pay schedule rates between the Roaring Fork School District and other area school districts.

Roaring Fork School District teachers will see about a 1 percent pay raise next year, following the most recent Interest-Based Bargaining talks among a committee of district teachers and administrators.

The RFSD school board at its Wednesday night meeting unanimously approved the new salary schedule, increasing the base rate by $359 from $35,691 to $36,050.

The change increases the rate for each step in the schedule by the same amount. Under the new pay plan, teacher salaries will range from $40,925 for those with master's degrees to a maximum $75,545.

By comparison, the new base rate for RFSD teachers is slightly more than Garfield District Re-2 and three other districts used to determine competitiveness, according to a report from the IBB salary committee to the school board.

It remains anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars below five other districts, including Aspen, which has the highest area base salary at $40,500.

The average base rate between the nine resort-area school districts used for comparison was $36,103, the study found.

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"The top priority of the committee was to address salary schedule competitiveness for both new and returning teachers," according to the report presented by Nikki Jost, human resources director for the district. "The committee attempted to balance these needs with available funds."

Five larger Front Range school districts were also studied for comparison's sake. Base rates in those districts range from $36,207 to $39,851.

"Summit, Littleton and Cherry Creek all have significantly higher salaries than RFSD, especially with increasing longevity," the report noted. That's possible because of a combination of having passed additional mill levy overrides to bolster teacher pay, and higher student-to-teacher ratios.

RFSD maintains the ratio of 14.6 students for every one teacher, while Littleton, for instance, has a ratio of 18.5:1. If Roaring Fork schools had that ratio, the district would employ 74 fewer teachers and have $4.8 million more to spread around

In the future, "We will need to consider all of the factors … (including) how we balance the value of lower class size and increased programming with the need to increase teacher pay," the report concluded.

The school board also approved a health benefits package for district employees that includes a 3.5 percent increase in premiums, "the lowest increase we have had in years," according to Jost.

Also recommended by the IBB school year calendar committee was a 2016-17 calendar that moves spring break up a week from the week of March 26 to the week beginning March 19. That would correspond with the Garfield Re-2 spring break, rather than Aspen's, said assistant superintendent Rob Stein.

The school board approved the calendar for next year on a 4-1 vote, with board member Matt Hamilton opposed.