Far more Denver teachers returned to the classroom this fall than in previous years, a retention boost that district officials attribute to pay increases won after a teacher strike last year.
But because veteran teachers tend to make more money than new hires, the higher retention means the district is paying more in teacher salaries than it budgeted for this year.
Whereas the district originally projected teachers would get an average 11.7% raise this year, the average raise for returning teachers was actually 15.7%, according to Denver Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Jim Carpenter.
The district also underestimated the cost of salary increases teachers could earn for completing training courses. A new contract with the teachers union allows teachers to cash in completed courses for pay raises.
The difference between what the district budgeted for teacher pay this year and what it’s spending is about $11 million, Carpenter said. The Denver school board will be asked later this month to amend the district’s $1.1 billion budget to reflect the higher sum.
The $11 million, which is about 1% of the district’s total budget, will come out of reserves, Carpenter said.
This reporting is made possible by our members. You can directly support independent watchdog journalism in Colorado for as little as $5 a month. Start here: coloradosun.com/join
The latest from The Sun
- Gov. Polis pitches preschool expansion, insists Colorado can afford it
- LGBT activists say new bills — including one in Colorado — target transgender youth
- Carman: As impeachment trial looms, vulnerable Gardner is on increasingly thin ice
- Nicolais: Humane Pet Act is a long-overdue step toward compassion for dogs and cats
- Opinion: The public option plan isn’t sustainable for Colorado and jeopardizes access