FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2022
Jefferson County Public Schools Support Professionals and the Board of Education ratify new contract
Starting pay for union workers increases by 44% with historic new deal
GOLDEN, CO. – After months of negotiation, the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education ratified a historic agreement on Tuesday night with the Jeffco Education Support Professionals Association (JESPA), who represent 3,800 paraeducators, custodians, bus drivers, secretaries, food service workers and more across the district. The new contract calls for an $18/hour starting wage by September 2023, increased job security, reduced turnover, more sick leave rights, healthier food for students and increased parent engagement about school nutrition.
“This is a historic night 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.”
Last October, Coloradans for the Common Good, which JESPA is a proud member of, held a school board candidate forum asking all six candidates to commit to increasing wages by $3/hr over the next two years in an effort to retain workers who could otherwise make more money outside of the district. The candidates were also asked to commit to mandating parental consent for student purchases of junk food and ending the district practice of tying junk food sales to food service workers’ pay.
“We are so grateful for our friends at the Coloradans for the Common Good and for our community, parents, students and teachers,” said Center. “Without them, this victory would not have been possible.”
Memory Wollenweber, a retired Jeffco teacher and delegate to Coloradans for the Common Good from Trinity Presbyterian Church said, “It was a privilege to stand with our invaluable JESPA personnel. I thank the Jefferson County Board of Education for prioritizing our workers and our children and for honoring their commitment.”
“JESPA members have fought hard for increased wages through our collective action,” said 25-year veteran Doreen Edstrom, school secretary and JESPA bargaining chair. “We simply could not have achieved as much as we have without our community standing with us.”
The Jeffco Education Support Professionals Association is a union of 3,800 support professionals working together to ensure all students have the support they need everyday, in every public school and in every neighborhood in Jefferson County. JESPA strives to ensure that workers have a voice in our workplaces so that our students can learn and thrive from the moment their school day begins. If support staff are thriving then our students thrive.