JESPA is United for Fair Pay

JESPA, a workforce of what is usually 4,000 Education Support Professionals in the Jeffco Public School district  demand increased staffing,  ongoing pay raises, and a cost of living adjustment this year.  During this difficult time, our students need more supports, and we are the staff that support our students, our teachers, and our schools directly. 

During the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and following, the district balanced the budgets on the backs of these workers, and to date, most ESPs still haven’t caught up from those pay cuts and freezes despite a booming economy in Colorado.  Now, we see that the Jeffco Board of Education has more interest in adding more money to reserves to save for a rainy day. 

What we’re seeing is simple, the lowest paid workers are continuing to work throughout the riskiest phases of the pandemic, and yet are the first to be threatened with their jobs as the district uses uncertainty to hoard money at the top. 

The district has also grown the number of central administrators and their salaries significantly over the past several years at a time without increases in student enrollment.  JESPA members have vocally opposed the district doubling the number of administrators making over $100,000/year in the last four years, while many ESPs pay more out of pocket for health benefits, contribute more toward their own retirement, and live off public assistance – all while being fully employed by the school district.   

In the 2019-20 4th Quarter Financial Report, Jeffco Public Schools reported an unassigned fund balance of $124 million (reserves), which is an increase of $37 million from the previous year’s ending fund balance of $87 million  In this year’s 1st Quarter Financial Report, Jeffco reported again, that the line item for general central administration was trending over budget due to salaries.  The district shows again, an increase in admin positions, while licensed and support staff are each down in number of positions.   

JESPA members are standing up to their district and demanding change now!  We know the vitally important role ESPs play in well-functioning schools, and we’re working to change harmful employment practices that increase the pay gap for low socioeconomic workers, women and minority workers, increases turnover of these valued professionals, and increases inequities in supports for the students we serve.  Take action and support our fight for fair pay!

Help us elevate our voices to the board of education!

After almost 10 months of bargaining with Jeffco, the essential workers of Jeffco Public Schools demand that their dedication and increased risk during COVID be recognized. The district must: increase support staff back to sustainable levels, implement ongoing pay increases, similar to what was bargained in many surrounding Colorado districts, and treat us with the respect and dignity we deserve.

Our ESPs can't wait for the district any longer! Tell the school board and Kristopher Schuh it's time to side with their workers! Send an email demanding fair pay and respect for the workers of Jeffco!

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