Denver Public Schools implements $12 minimum wage for employees

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DENVER — Denver Public Schools announced Tuesday it will implement an organizational minimum wage of $12 per hour.

This move will impact nearly 1,700 employees, including about 700 paraprofessionals, 500 food service workers and 300 custodians. Many employees who initially made just more than $9 an hour will receive a nearly 33 percent pay increase.

“All of our employees are crucial to the success of our students,” Superintendent Tom Boasberg said in a news release. “From our teachers and our paraprofessionals who assist our teachers, to our cafeteria workers who serve food to our students and our custodial staff who clean our buildings and grounds, all of these people are important to our success. All of them deserve to earn a living wage.”

A law recently signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, which equalized employee required contributions to the state Public Employees’ Retirement Association, will return more than $20 million each year to Denver schools, which allowed for the increase.

Other contributions from PERA will go to raises for DPS teachers next year of upward of 5.6 percent. It will also benefit the school system by adding new teachers, increasing the incentives to retain strong teachers in high-poverty schools and support health care costs for employees with children.

Denver Public Schools also plans to hire new employees at $12 an hour.