Denver Public Schools, Jeffco Schools raise minimum wage for some workers

Denver Public Schools
Posted at 5:05 PM, Jul 28, 2022

DENVER – At least two Denver metro school districts announced this week they’ll begin paying some of their employees more for hours worked.

Denver Public Schools announced Thursday it will begin paying paraprofessionals a minimum wage of $20 an hour starting Aug. 1, with all employees getting that pay bump by the 2024-2025 school year.

The increase in pay comes after employees and parents rallied over the summer, asking DPS for an increase in the minimum wage for its workers, according to our partners at The Denver Post.

Paraprofessionals in the district were previously paid $15.87 an hour, but employees said that wasn’t enough to make ends meet, the newspaper reported.

The district reached separate three-year agreements with at least four unions representing bus drivers and mechanics, DPS patrol officers, custodial staff and paraprofessionals and food service employees.

“Each of these agreements shows our commitment to our employees while allowing the district to stay within our budget,” said DPS Chief of Talent, Edwin Hudson. “It also immediately raises the minimum wage for our paraprofessionals, which is something that we have been committed to. We are so thankful for everyone involved in this work to ensure that our students receive the education that they deserve from people who are passionate about educating our students.”

District officials said they’ll be hosting a career fair for these and other positions on Thursday, Aug. 18.

Some Jeffco Schools employees can also expect a pay bump soon

In Jefferson County, paraeducators, custodians, bus drivers, secretaries, food service workers and more will see their minimum pay go up to $18 an hour by September 2023, a spokesperson with the Jeffco Education Support Professionals Association (JESPA) announced Wednesday.

The new contract, which was ratified on Tuesday, also calls for increased job security, reduced turnover, more sick leave rights, healthier food for students and increased parent engagement about school nutrition, according to a news release from the association.

The increase for those union members in JeffCo. comes after months of negotiation which started in October, when workers called on a minimum wage raise by $3 an hour over the next two years.

“This is a historic moment for Jeffco Public Schools support staff,” said Lara Center, library paraprofessional and president of JESPA. “This is the second year that we’ve fought for and achieved well-deserved and substantial pay increases for our members. We’d like to acknowledge the members of the Board of Education for keeping their promise to work with us.”

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