The Sentinel: APS approves teacher raises, stipends amid statewide economic woes

Story excerpt:

"Among a dire statewide economic crisis and budget cuts created by the pandemic crisis, historic teacher salary boosts and a stipend program for high-turnover positions are now a reality in Aurora Public Schools.

The APS Board of Education unanimously gave a sweeping teacher pay plan its final seal of approval Tuesday night as part of finalizing this year’s contract negotiations between the Aurora Education Association teacher union and the district.

The pandemic cut short those negotiations, and revenue shortfalls brought on by recession conditions pulled about $25 million in state funding from the district budget, The Sentinel reported last week.

Even so, the school board signed off on a plan to put an additional, approximate $10 million every year into teacher pockets. The plan involves directly raising salaries and sending annual stipend checks to teachers and specialized employees in 'hard-to-staff' positions. District officials have said they already budgeted the money into next year’s financial plan, thanks to a 2018 mill levy override voters approved in part to give teachers raises.

From that pot of money, APS will now invest about $7 million into teacher salaries each year for the foreseeable future."