Members Vote to Ratify the Agreement, Campaign for Staffing and Respect Continues


Plus New Officers Sworn In, JESPIES Awards Received at Ratification Meeting

JESPA members met last week to open the voting on ratifying our contract for the upcoming school year. The result of the voting is a resounding YES, which recognizes the dedication of our union members in the fight to end outsourcing and understaffing. The relentless efforts throughout this year’s negotiations have ensured ESP jobs in the JESPA bargaining unit will remain posted until filled instead of permanently outsourcing positions, a huge gain made after weeks of collective actions and press coverage.  The agreement also guarantees all Jeffco ESPs a 6% raise, steps to all eligible employees, and a one-time 1% stipend in November. There will also be a $640 per month stipend to cover employee health insurance plans which now includes three high-deductible plans at no cost for individual employees.

This important vote came after a tough bargaining season in which the district, at Tracy Dorlands request, hired a known union-busting attorney to bargain for them. JESPA declared impasse after negotiations with the attorney, Brent Case, went nowhere due to his refusal to bargain in good faith. The district’s tactics were a set-back to what was hoped to be good-faith negotiations.

Links to the agreement and other documents are here.

Before voting got underway, JESPA members discussed the pros and cons of the agreement during a Q&A session with the bargaining team and speeches from leaders in the union. Members agreed that the power of our united voices is what forced the district to negotiate over outsourcing and job security and got us further in raises than we otherwise would have gotten. 

“[The meeting] showed me that paraeducators have a voice and that there is a united front to support and fight for our students and our income,” said Foothills Elementary paraeducator Lauren Miller.



The contract discussion was peppered with references to next year’s bargaining and the 2025 school year, when the entire contract expires and a new one will be negotiated. The district’s push back on bargaining this year is a foreshadowing of what next year will look like. The members in attendance made commitments to help their co-workers join the union which will be paramount in obtaining a strong contract next year.

The evening included the swearing in of newly elected local leaders and the 2nd annual JESPIES Awards, honoring the very active JESPA membership. Awards were given to the much-deserving bargaining team and many of the members who helped strengthen their union in the 2023-24 school year. More stories on award winners to come.

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