School District 51 contract includes more days and pay

Teachers in Mesa County School District 51 will work more days and receive more pay during the next school year under a contract ratified by the District 51 Board of Education.

A contract between District 51 and the Mesa Valley Education Association increases contract days and salaries. Members of the association also ratified the contract.

Key elements of the contract for the 2018-2019 school year include:

n Increasing teacher contacts days to 188. The four additional days include will include three school days funded by a mill levy override approved by voters last year and one professional learning day funded by increased state revenues. The override funds five additional school days in total, but last year’s contract with MVEA already added two of those days in 2017-18 with one-time funds.

n 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 new teachers also receive a boost.

n Applying a market adjustment to the minimum and maximum of the teacher salary schedule to help recruit and retain teachers.

“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,” said Heather O’Brien, president of the MVEA. “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 State Legislature uses the budget stabilization factor to reduce the amount school districts would otherwise receive through the state funding formula. While Mesa County District 51 still loses $15.5 million this year because of the budget stabilization factor, that figure is smaller than previous years.

Tom Parrish, president of the District 51 Board of Education, said reducing the factor for the  2018-19 school year played a big role 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,” Parrish said.