LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Teachers and staff at Jefferson County Public Schools will receive a 4% pay raise next year.
Aletha Fields, who is an instructional coach at Iroquois High School, has been teaching for 24 years and recognizes the many barriers brought to Kentucky classrooms.
She tells Spectrum News 1, “For some it was a change that wore down the best of them in many cases and that’s not a character fault, it’s not a pointing finger, but it has been unreal to levels of epic proportion.”
Those teaching our next generation will soon be getting bigger paychecks, including Fields.
At a Friday press conference, JCPS and the Jefferson County Teachers Association announced that Louisville educators would receive a 4% raise as part of a tentative agreement.
The longtime veteran educator says the gesture makes her feel valued.
“The pay raise also lets us know that someone thinks we are as valuable as we know. There is no understatement of our value,” Fields said.
In addition to general increases, teachers will receive a one-time $1,000 stipend.
Faced with a shortage of teachers, Fields says he is reassuring that teachers entering the profession will get better pay.
“We don’t need hot bodies taking up classroom space in leadership positions, we don’t need them, but what we need are people who are qualified to lead our children to the top. excellence in education and now we can, I believe, do more of that consistently,” says Fields.
Dr. Marty Pollio, superintendent of JCPS, explains that the salary increase occurs when the search for employees is more competitive.
“We hope to attract teachers from other districts around us that this salary increase will apply to JCPS as a result of this,” Dr Pollio said.
District leaders say the well-deserved raise not only attracts and retains teachers, but has benefits for veteran staff.
Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, teachers who work at schools in the “choice area” (West Louisville) and at accelerated improvement schools like Fields will receive an automatic stipend of $8,000-14,000 to help retain and recruit teachers.
“I believe it will make a difference, particularly in retaining our teachers, attracting teachers, but more importantly retaining our teachers in our area teachers of choice,” Dr Pollio said.
The mother-of-two says it shows people really respect what educators do to help turn children into productive adults.
“If there’s a doctor, a teacher taught that doctor, if there’s a lawyer, a teacher taught that lawyer,” Fields said.
“It has to be more than a one-year contract if we are going to do this and reduce this crisis that we are facing with our teachers,” school officials say.
School board members are expected to have a final vote on the new contract on June 7. If passed, the pay increase will take effect July 1.