10.25.15 One reader responds to the Denver Post

election_ballot_box_2We received a message from a recall supporter who had a letter published in the Denver Post in response to their Oct. 14 editorial against the recall effort. Because the Post required him to keep the letter to about 150 words and eliminate the chart and percentages in his original letter, we’re reprinting the full letter as he originally submitted it.

His letter speaks to the board majority’s failure to adequately address teacher compensation, the exodus of our Jeffco teachers, and why we need to recall Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams. We hope you will share it.

I was disappointed by your recent Editorial (Oct. 13th) suggesting that the Jeffco School Board recall effort should be rejected. But I was not surprised. While I have great respect for this paper and its dedicated employees, I have found its coverage of the new board majority to be very one-sided.

To focus on just one example: your editorial questioned why teachers would be upset by the recent pay plan, but neglected to mention that teachers only received a 1% average raise. This is well below market and was particularly painful for Jeffco teachers who gave up raises for years to help the District during the downturn and were promised they would be fairly compensated when the economy recovered. The new board majority broke that promise. I put together a chart outlining the raise that a teacher with a Master’s Degree and seven years of experience received from other districts versus Jeffco in 2015:

School District 2014/15 (Yr 6) Salary 2015/16 (Yr 7) Salary % Raise
Cherry Creek $51,680 $56,503 9.3%
Littleton $49,369 $52,751 6.9%
Aurora $50,373 $53,961 7.1%
Boulder $59,043 $61,909 4.9%
Average of 4 Districts $52,616 $56,281 7.0%
Jeffco $46,646 $47,112 1.0%
Percentage that the Average of Other Districts is Higher Than Jeffco 12.8% Higher 19.5% Higher 6.0% Higher

No wonder Jeffco teachers are upset and many are leaving the District! To make matters worse, the District sent an email to parents touting the “raise” without telling anyone how under market the raises were. That was very misleading. And if the Board majority continues these extremely small raises for the next several years, the effect on teacher pay and teacher retention could be devastating.

I am the son of a former teacher and husband of a current Jeffco teacher, and strongly believe that most teachers are heroes in our community, giving everything they have for their students. Thus, rather than being the enemy, Jeffco teachers deserve to be treated with respect and to be fairly compensated as they were promised during the recession.  Unfortunately, I think’s it’s very clear the current board majority feels differently and thus needs to be recalled.

John Mulhern lives in Arvada with his wife and three children who attend Jeffco schools.

We can’t say it enough: Please vote for Ali Lasell in District 3 and Amanda Stevens in District 4. Then vote YES to recall Julie Williams, John Newkirk and Ken Witt, and choose successor candidates Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon and Ron Mitchell.

Don’t know where to find a 24-hour ballot drop box? Look here.

24 hour Drive-up Ballot locations- Jefferson County, Colorado

Elections Locations for Voting and Ballots – 24 hour Drop-off locations

A list of other ballot drop-off locations is here.

And for early voting and polling center locations you can look here.



5 thoughts on “10.25.15 One reader responds to the Denver Post

  1. I’ve heard from several Jeffco teachers who still buy many teaching aids for their students. Receiving less compression for their dedication than other area teachers is a slap in the face to Jeffco teachers. We need to recall Witt, Newkirk and Williams so our students can receive the benefit of being taught by these dedicated teachers.

  2. 6 years experience with a master’s degree is a very specific and limited data set.

    (Assume there are 30 years of experience with the same number of students per year eaxperiance; this is 1/30th of the population based on years. Now I don’t know the number with undergrad, masters, and Ph.D., but let us assume 20% have a master’s degree, again even distribution over the years of experience. Leaves us with 0.67% of the total population. I would not call that a representative sample)

    Why did you choose this data set? What are the n values for each school district? What does the larger data set show?

    • I can’t speak for the author, but I can provide more numbers for context. According to the Jeffco Schools website, 57 percent of Jeffco’s approximately 4,700 teachers have master’s degrees, and 1.1 percent hold a PhD.

      Interestingly, the 2011-2012 Jeffco Schools annual report stated that only four years ago, 72.6 percent had master’s degrees and 2.2 percent held a PhD. We’ve clearly lost a lot of those teachers to other districts or the private sector. From what I remember in board meetings, six or seven years of experience plus a stated level of education is a pretty typical number used to compare teaching salaries across the state.

  3. I believe that under the new contract, all teachers new to JeffCo are given the same salary, regardless of advanced degrees or years of experience. Not only are we pushing good teachers out, we are not attracting good teachers anymore. Who would want to teach in JeffCo under these circumstances when our neighboring counties offer more?

  4. Starting salaries would have to reduce so that there are funds to support pay-for-performance over pay-for-seniority.

    I guess the way businesses control costs and rate performance will never by the way government does it.

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