JCPS board votes for 4% teacher raises; union vote last step in approval

The board voted to approve a 4% raise plus stipends for all JCPS teachers, the largest increase they’ve seen in 15 years.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 11:47 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Board of Education said “yes” to teacher raises Tuesday evening. The board voted to approve a 4% raise for all JCPS teachers, which is the largest they’ve seen in 15 years.

However, the plan is not final until the members of the Jefferson County Teachers Association vote to approve it. Votes are due 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Beyond the 4% raise for all JCPS teachers, the plan also provides a one-year stipend to each teacher. In accordance with the recently approved student assignment plan, in “choice zone” schools, largely in the West End, teachers will receive an $8,000-14,000 stipend with capped increases.

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said he hopes it is enough to entice more teachers to apply and to stay within the district, but he isn’t sure.

“I’m worried for all teachers in all counties all across the commonwealth and the nation,” Pollio said after the vote. “Really concerned about the future of education when it comes to staffing in our classrooms long-term. So, you know, is 4% going to make a difference as far as that? Long-term? I don’t know, long-term.”

However, Pollio and the board that approved the plan Tuesday seem to think it is a start.

The same is true for JCTA. While union members still have to vote to approve the plan, the JCTA board overwhelmingly voted in its favor last week.

“It’s not everything that teachers deserve or need, but it does make a big step in the right direction of helping us attract and retain the best teachers that we can for our kids,” Tammy Berlin, the vice president of JCTA and teacher at Atherton High School said.

Berlin expressed less enthusiasm for the increased stipends for choice zone teachers, but said, “We are not opposed to it.”

“Those schools are very hard to staff,” Berlin said. “So if the district feels like that is warranted, then we weren’t going to stand in the way of that. We just were concerned with making sure that we had a good across-the-board increase.”

“I do think it’s going to make a difference in our high-need schools,” Pollio said. “I really do.”

Pollio said the Kentucky General Assembly gave the district $7 million for teacher raises last legislative session, which equated to a .9% raise for all staff.

JCPS is using Support Education Excellence in Kentucky, or SEEK, and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER funds to pay for the remaining 3% raise and the $1,000 stipends. This will cost the district around $49 million, according to Pollio.

Pollio said that district funding is not sustainable long-term.

“I would be asking our legislators in future years to increase that SEEK funding, is the way that has to happen,” Pollio said.

The starting salary for a JCPS teacher is just less than $43,000, according to public documents. JCTA reports that the average teacher makes about $65,000 per year.

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