Ballot Measure 5A

Benjamin Breuer, Staff Reporter

For the past few years, Douglas County has struggled to retain teachers. Some of the best teachers at HRHS have been lost due to other school districts’ higher pay. Our teachers are dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring individuals, so we should question why this continues to happen as our district continues to lose wonderful teachers.

The way a teacher’s salary works is each year they teach in a district their pay will increase by a specified amount, this could range anywhere from an $874 increase up to $1,118 in Douglas County. With their base pay being $43,680, teachers in Douglas County do not make a lot of money to begin with.

Cherry Creek, a district with around 10,000 fewer students than Douglas County, pays their teachers a fair amount more than Douglas County. Their yearly salary increases by a range of $1,556 up to a $3,820 increase. So while their base pay is very close to Douglas County, after a few years a Cherry Creek teacher will be much more money.

 This is further illustrated by the difference between the salary of a teacher who has been teaching in each district for ten years. The teacher at Cherry Creek would be paid $68,609, in contrast, a teacher working in Douglas County would earn only $53,756. This has made it difficult for teachers in Douglas County to justify staying in this district; many have already left.

During the 2022 midterm elections, there was a local ballot initiative in Douglas County to increase teacher pay and school funding. This initiative would have increased the property taxes of the people in Douglas County by $60,000,000. 60 million dollars is quite a bit of money, but what many may fail to grasp is that this 60 million is not coming directly out of taxpayers’ pockets, instead, it will increase the tax by $43 per $100,000 of property value. The majority of people would only be paying an extra $300 per year.

$300 is not an insignificant amount of money, it’s enough for a grocery run, but our teachers are struggling. It’s hard to remember a year when HR hasn’t lost at least one teacher to other districts. So as one of the wealthiest districts in Colorado we should reinvest even just $300 into the future of our community, and into the inspiring people who work hard despite these conditions.