Former D49 Chief Business Officer Presents Salary Disparities and Comparisons Based On MLO

  • Former D49 Chief Business Officer presented to the Board of Education (June 23, 2021) the current salary financing for district teachers and staff and shows the disparities compared to other similar school districts based on current mill levy override funding in order to start a discussion with the community about possible actions to address the disparities.

    * This video was edited for time, to see the full presentation with some questions and discussion with the board of education, you can watch it on the BOE Youtube channel here...

    PDF Presentation: CBO Salary Presentation to the BOE, June 23

    PDF Document: Cause-Effect One-Pager D49 Look at Salary

More Competitive Teacher Salaries

  • BOFC Logo

    Through the years, the District 49 community of families and stakeholders has overwhelmingly supported our teachers. We’ve listened to you and our workforce, making it a strategic priority to invest in our teachers and improve their pay year-to-year. As our community continues to grow and welcome more families and students to D49 we’ve taken a fresh look at how neighboring districts recruit prospective teachers and compensate their educators. The research reinforces what we already know: D49 teachers, despite filling top priority roles in the rapidly growing D49 family, are still underpaid.


    Promises Made: In 2014, ballot measure 3A, a Mill Levy Override, was passed with a purpose of "attracting and retaining highly effective teachers..."Those funds were used to reposition teachers who lost compensation steps on the District 49 pay scale during the economic downturn. The plan was approved in 2015 to help retain our highly effective instructors. 

    Promises Kept: After this reposition plan was complete, 2014 3A funds were shifted to focus on attracting new teachers.

    Promises Made: In 2016, 3B was passed by a two-to-one margin. The first priority of the BOFC House Building Our Future Community plan included dedicated funding for our most important resource, our educators. 

    Promises Kept: Per the 3B Priority 1 criteria, an additional $1 million annually has gone to teachers’ salaries in order to attract and retain highly effective teachers.

    In 2018, voters passed 4C, which combined 3A and 3B into our current MLO structure, keeping all priorities while allowing some district funds to grow in step with our expanding community. 


    D49 still struggles compared to other school districts

    Teacher MLOWhen compared to school districts of close to equal size, D49 teachers make about 17% less than teachers in Academy School District 20 and Colorado Springs School District 11.  On average, D49 teachers earn about $49,000 a year, while D11 and D20 teachers earn about $55,000.

    When it comes to staffing, D49 is once again behind D11 and D20 in the classroom. Having nearly the same number of students in each district, D49 has fewer teachers. D49 averages about 14.2 students per teacher, while D11 and D20 averages about 12.4.  The cause of the compensation and staffing issues is a revenue disparity with D11 and D20 of 15-40%, even with the support derived from past MLO's.

    The lack of funding also hampers D49’s ability to keep experienced teachers in our schools. As teachers earn advanced degrees, receive certifications and gain experience, those milestones typically result in pay raises, but the D49 pay schedule does not compete and we therefore lose teachers to other districts that compensate better. In order to keep our classrooms staffed, D49 must constantly replenish our turnover, usually replacing experienced teachers with relatively inexperienced teachers.

    The market average base pay for new teachers is $39,723. D11 offers $39,273, while D20 pays $41,000. 

    D49 pays its entry level teachers $37,116. 

    D49 has about 1,300 teachers in the district. 


    Comparing Paras and Direct Support Staff

    PARA MLOD49 has about 420 para professionals throughout the school district which have numerous supporting roles in and out of the classroom. Paras will work one-on-one with a student or with a group. They assist with basic assignment instruction, as well as with students that need specific help with learning or physical disabilities. 

    D49 Paras make about 26% less than Paras at D11 and D20. Paras begin at $12.02 an hour in D49. 

    Skilled MLOThere are about 275 other district staff members that have direct support roles with students and the learning environment including bus drivers, nutrition services staff, counselors, school nurses, school maintenance staff, school security staff, custodians, and others. These direct support staff members provide assistance that goes unnoticed by many, but without their dedicated work, the schools would not be able to function.

    D49 direct support / skilled trades staff make about 15% less than similar positions at D11 and D20. D49 also has 34% fewer staff members than D11 and D20. 

    (Central Office Administration staff are not included in this category, even though D49 has fewer administrators and a lower pay scale than D11 and D20, see below.)


    Better Pay Would:

    Retention: Better pay can help D49 keep and recruit staff by having competitive salaries, which is a key to employee satisfaction. 

    Experience: Better pay can help D49 hold onto experienced staff and teachers by increasing the pay scale to compensate those individuals with years of experience, certifications and advanced degrees. 

    Better quality of life: Better pay can provide D49 staff with the means to provide for common expenses which are on the rise in Colorado Springs, like housing. 

    For a list of Job Titles and Pay Schedules, see the documents here: 


    Is D49’s administration staffing too much?

    One of the biggest misconceptions people have about D49 is the amount of administrative staff we have working for the district.

    People think having three chief officers and having four “Zones with Zone Leaders” increases our number of high-paying positions, which increases the amount of money we spend on salaries. In reality, D49 has fewer administrators than D11 and D20, which have about the same number of students.

    Take a look at District Leadership Comparisons:

    Organizational Charts: PDF

    List of Positions: PDF

    Actual Comparisons:

      • d49d11 leadership mloFrom their own org chart, District 11 shows it has a superintendent, a Deputy Superintendent, an Assistant Superintendent, Five Chief Officers, and Six Executive Directors (Total = 14 positions)
        • For the same roles, District 49 has Three Chief Officers, Four Zone Leaders, and Two Executive Directors (Total = 9 positions).
        • The Five position difference, plus fewer related secretarial support roles, in addition to four other positions titled and paid differently, saves D49 $1.5M per year in administrative costs compared to D11.

    D49d20 leadership mlo

    • From their own org chart, District 20 shows it has a superintendent, Four Assistant Superintendents, Four Chief Officers, Three Executive School Leaders and Two Executive Directors (Total = 15 positions).
      • For the same roles, District 49 has Three Chief Officers, Four Zone Leaders, and Two Executive Directors (Total = 9 positions).
      • The Six position difference, plus fewer related secretarial support roles, in addition to three other positions titled and paid much differently, saves D49 $1.8M per year in administrative costs compared to D20.

    Virtually all other Central Service Departments (Human Resources, Finance, Communications, Learning Services, IT, etc.)  have savings in numbers of positions and average pay per position as well, which provides additional savings to that noted above.

    In the end, District 49 has a highly effective and highly efficient central administration design, despite having fewer staff and a lower budget.

    (*We'll update this section once the D49 Board of Education decides on the future leadership strategy this school year. For now, we'll stick to the current three-chief organizational charts.)


    How does the increase in property values impact salaries? 

    1. The increase in property values is also a reflection of the cost of living, which also increases. A higher cost of living means your salary does not go as far for bills and living expenses.  
    2. The increase in property values will be recognized in other districts as well, so it is not unique to District 49.
    3. While increased taxes from property values will go to compensation, other districts will do the same. This does not fix the funding disparity between D49 and other school districts, because the equation remains the same, other districts will continue to generate more revenue due to higher mill levy overrides.