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Cherry Creek School district hopes to lure in more teachers with salary raise

Cherry Creek School district hopes to lure in more teachers with salary raise
Cherry Creek School district hopes to lure in more teachers with salary raise 02:10

New teachers in Cherry Creek Schools will soon be among the highest paid in the Front Range, it's all due to a new salary schedule approved this week that goes into effect next school year.

The salary for new teachers will start at $57,000 next year, a significant increase the district hopes will attract talented new teachers looking for classroom jobs.

The new schedule also raises salaries for all teachers across the spectrum of classroom experience and offers additional compensation for teachers and certified staff who further their education.

The salary increases are part of a compensation package approved overwhelmingly on Monday by members of the Cherry Creek Education Association.

The average Colorado educator starting salary statewide is $35,724. The other districts with starting salaries above $50,000 are:

  • Westminster
  • Mapleton
  • Sheridan
  • Boulder
  • Jefferson County
  • Denver
  • Aspen
  • Summit

District leaders at Cherry Creek Schools say they hire about 350 new teachers every year because a lot of their newer teachers leave due to low pay.

They hope that'll change when they increase starting pay to $57,000.

For Erinn Shea who has taught second grade at Polton Community Elementary school for a year and a half, this is her calling.

Cherry Creek Schools teacher Erinn Shea CBS

"Being a teacher has been a lifelong goal that I achieved," said Shea.

She comes from a family of educators and her mission is to inspire the next generation.

"I grew up and had teachers that just changed my life, so I hope to be able to make kids' dreams come true and give them the attention they deserve," said Shea.

But financially it's been tough. Living in the Denver metro area and only making about $42,000 a year has made for a difficult year.

"I live with three different roommates and I do operate on a decently strict budget just to make sure I can make it through the month," said Shea.

That's the case for thousands of educators across the Front Range.

School leaders hope increasing salaries will lure in more teachers. This was a two-year effort by the Cherry Creek Education Association.

District leaders collaborated with leaders of the CCEA to reach a compensation package that fairly compensates teachers and certified staff for their hard work and dedication to serving students. 

President of the Cherry Creek Education Association, Kasey Ellis was behind that effort.

"It means that we can attract teachers and retain teachers because not only did we focus on the lower end of the scale, but we moved that pay increase across the scale so that every educator is seeing an increase along the way," said Ellis.

According to Brenda Smith, the human resources officer, the district was able to find the additional money through some changes.

"We did an early separation agreement about two to three years ago which allowed for additional money to be available and by collapsing the salary schedule it gave us additional dollars too," said Smith.

For new teachers like Erinn Shea this change brings her hope.

"The ability to have financial stability […] gives me peace of mind," she said.

The district will host a job fair for teachers and certified staff from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25. Candidates signing up for an interview at this fair must hold a valid Colorado Department of Education license or be in the process of obtaining licensure. More information can be found here.

They hope to hire more than 200 educators and staff.

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