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Jeffco Schools, JCEA to meet about fact finding report Thursday

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Jeffco Schools officials and the Jefferson County Education Association say the fact finding process continues to move forward, and both sides expected to receive the fact-finding report by the end of business on Aug. 26. A meeting between JCEA and the Jeffco Schools negotiating team is scheduled for the morning of Aug. 28, according to Amy Weber, Jeffco Schools Executive Director of Human Resources.

The Jeffco School Board will meet for its regular meeting on the evening of Aug. 28 and is scheduled to “provide negotiations direction” in an executive session scheduled for 5:30. If the board decides to take action, it will be added to the meeting agenda when the meeting begins at 6:30.

“The district’s goal is to have a board vote as quickly as possible to try and make sure our teachers see a pay increase in their September paycheck,” said Lynn Setzer, Jeffco Schools Chief Communication Officer.

The fact-finding report will remain confidential until the JCEA and Jeffco Schools meeting according to the negotiated agreement, Weber told the Jeffco School Board during Saturday’s study session. Either side may release the report after the meeting.

Members of the Jeffco community who wants to speak about negotiations may sign up for part one of public comment because the executive session is already on the agenda, Setzer said. Parents, students, staff and Jeffco residents may sign up for public comment through the Jeffco Schools website until 3:30 pm on Aug. 28.

Speakers should also note that the guidelines for public comment were changed during the board’s study session on Aug. 23. Under the new guidelines, speakers will have three minutes to speak if 20 or less people sign up for public comment, two minutes if 21 to 30 individual speakers sign up, and one minute if 31 or more individuals sign up.

Groups of four or more people will have 10 minutes if 20 or less speakers sign up, and five minutes if more than 20 sign up for public comment. Public comment sign-up will open at 10 am on Mondays and close at 3:30 pm on the day of the board meeting.

Fact-finding began in mid-August, the Jeffco School Board failed to approve the tentative agreement with JCEA at their June 5 meeting. The tentative agreement had been negotiated with the help of a federal mediator on May 8, but shortly after School Board President Ken Witt contacted the district’s negotiating team and asked them to request additional changes.

JCEA declined to make the changes because the tentative agreement had already been signed. The process was then sent to fact-finding on a 3-2 school board vote. Due to budget constraints, Jeffco teachers have not had a raise in four years.