DENVER (KDVR) — High school sports officials in Colorado are in line for big raises next school year.

Schools voted to pass the pay structure at the Jan. 24 meeting of the Legislative Council, according to the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Starting in August, officials will see a phased-in pay increase. In the first year, it will rise 33-35%, and it will be up 45-49% by year three.

“Colorado has been in the bottom one-third of pay for many years. We lose officials to neighboring states because they simply pay better,” Michael Book, CHSAA assistant commissioner, told FOX31.

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Book said the new pay structure aims to deal with issues like recruitment, retainment “and being among the leader, or at least competitive with surrounding states and their officials’ fees.”

As more schools open, more games are played, and that’s led officials to work more nights and see quicker burnout, Book said.

Book said a campaign to recruit more officials — with CHSAA covering the cost of dues and uniforms — has been successful. A goal to attract 500 new officials was surpassed, with more than 610 signing up since the campaign started on Nov. 1.

“With the combination of this campaign and the new pay structure, we hope to both recruit and retain officials and allow the schools to play games/matches on nights that they desire instead of having to move games off those nights due to the shortage of officials,” Book said.

School budgets will be affected by the raises, Book said, as schools are responsible for paying officials’ fees. Sports officials are independent contractors.