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'Largest raise in 15 years': JCPS educators say 4% raise, stipend are a step in the right direction

Jefferson County Public School Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said the raise is the largest raise percentage-wise the district has given to staff in 15 years.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) employees will get a 4% raise and a one-time $1,000 stipend next school year if a tentative contract agreement is approved. 

"This is the largest raise percentage-wise that we have given to staff in 15 years," JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said.

Pollio said the last time the district gave teachers a 4% raise was for the 2006-2007 school year.

"We want Jefferson County Public School teachers without a doubt to be the top paid teachers in the entire commonwealth," Pollio said. 

Under the tentative agreement, starting in the 2023-24 school year, teachers working at enhanced support schools, also called Accelerated Improvement Schools, would get $8,000 supplemental pay annually. 

That supplemental pay would increase by 1.5% each year, and max out at $14,000 for teachers with 25 years of continuous service at an enhanced support school. 

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Enhanced support schools provide additional services to students. According to a JCPS presentation, one goal at these schools is to decrease achievement gaps. 

"Sometimes there are a lot of added responsibilities that people might not necessarily be aware of," Christie Mudd, who spoke to WHAS11 on behalf of the Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) and works at a JCPS enhanced support school, said. 

Mudd said she thinks the tentative agreement will put JCPS on a path to increase retention rates down the road. 

"I'm hopeful that these incentives will encourage retention at the schools and I think that will lead to more consistency and stability for our students," she said. 

Aletha Fields, an Iroquois High School teacher, said that this is a good start for compensating teachers.

"I think it's an exciting day for us," Fields said. "We don't typically get anything in regards to cost-of-living adjustments so the first part of what has been negotiated is a good start."

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This is just a tentative agreement. Teachers still need to vote on the proposal. Online voting started Friday and ends Wednesday, June 8 at 5 p.m.

JCTA, the union representing JCPS teachers, encouraged teachers to approve the contract. 

"This is a salary agreement that will benefit kids in Jefferson County, it will help us attract and keep teachers in every school, but it will particularly help us attract and keep great teachers at our most struggling schools where the kids need them the most," JCTA President Brent McKim said. 

Superintendent Pollio said though he is concerned about how the 4% raises will be paid for in the long run.

He said the legislature approved funds for JCPS employees to get a 1% raise in the current state budget.

"We do have money in our fund balance that we are able to pick up the additional 3% raise over the next couple of years so that it equals that 4%, but there will be challenges as we move forward to make sure that we can sustain that year after year," Pollio said.

Click here to read the full tentative agreement.

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