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Boulder Valley teachers expected to receive 2.8 percent raise

By Amy Bounds, Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 06--Boulder Valley School District teachers are expected to receive a 2.8 percent cost-of-living increase next school year, bumping the starting salary up to $41,901.

The district and the teachers union are entering the third year of a three-year contract that stipulated salary increases in the first two years, but left increases for the coming year up to negotiations. The 2.8 percent increase is the rate of inflation used by the state. The total cost of the agreement, which includes health insurance cost increases, is $7.5 million.

"We're really pleased that additional state funding came through this year that allowed us to recognize our employees," said Boulder Valley Superintendent Bruce Messinger. "This builds on a really successful bargaining we did three years ago. We're in a really good place."

The school board is set to vote on the contract changes, which have already received the approval of the teachers union, at its Tuesday meeting.

Boulder Valley Education Association President Tina Mueh said 93 percent of the members of the teachers union voted in favor of the contract.

"The cost-of-living increase maintains the integrity of our current salary schedule," Mueh said.

Boulder Valley two years ago moved to a professional salary schedule that rewards teachers as they increase their level of education and bumped up the starting salary to $40,000.

The St. Vrain Valley school board also recently approved a new teacher contract for 2014-15, though with a smaller cost-of-living increase.

St. Vrain's contract includes a 1 percent raise in the base salary, from $34,491 to $34,836, and up to $7,712 from the district toward the health insurance premium. The district also will pay up to $372 per year for dental coverage.

In Boulder Valley, the contract includes an agreement that teachers and the district will work collaboratively on several issues, including teacher evaluations and determining the ideal length of the school day.

"This really sets the stage for continued collaboration," Messinger said.

The last school year, the district had a trial run of a new teacher evaluation system that will determine if teachers earn tenure, replacing the previous system that awarded tenure based on longevity. The new evaluation system is required by the state's educator effectiveness law, passed in 2010.

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Though the law requires that half of the evaluation is based on student growth on tests, Boulder Valley is still figuring out how that will work -- and the state Legislature recently gave school districts another year before they need to include the student growth piece. The system Boulder Valley will use next school year evaluates teachers on professional practices.

"We are moving ahead with our own evaluation system," Mueh said.

For the school day, Boulder Valley is looking into standardizing the school day start and end times to maximize student success, as well as to improve bus route efficiency and save money on transportation costs.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Amy Bounds at 303-473-1341 or boundsa@dailycamera.com.

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(c)2014 the Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.)

Visit the Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.) at www.dailycamera.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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