Denver School Leaders Association (DSLA) was formally recognized by the Denver Board of Education in September 2020. DSLA leaders and the district collaborated for several months to come to an agreement on the first-ever Master Agreement (MA) for a bargaining unit of this kind. We are proud of the teamwork demonstrated during the discussions. This page has all the information you need to understand the MA and what impacts it will have for your compensation.
The complete Master Agreement, effective 2021-2024, can be found here.
Setting Your Salary
Salaries will be determined by your leader role, school level, and years of experience. All salaries are listed on this salary schedule for the 2022-2023 school year. A maximum of 20 years of experience credit will be applied. As you continue your career with DPS, you have opportunities to increase your [base] salary by earning a step.
Lead Partner position salaries will be determined by the average Principal and Assistant Principal rate of pay, school level, and years of experience.
Principal Residents are paid at the appropriate Assistant Principal level.
Interim roles are paid at the appropriate position level.
Earning Step Increases
A step increase (or vertical movement down the salary schedule - p. 35) is earned annually, after completing the school year with a qualifying performance rating. It is applied at the beginning of the next school year (August 16). You do not need to request a step increase, it is processed automatically by the Compensation department. There are 20 available steps per grade level.
To earn the step increase, you must meet all eligibility guidelines and receive an evaluation rating of Approaching, Effective, or Distinguished on your annual evaluation (such as the Leadership Excellence and Development (LEAD) program, or other evaluation program).
Grades on the salary schedule - p. 35 - are assigned based on the level of your school (Elementary, ECE-8/Middle School, and High School), as well as your position (Assistant Principal or Principal). A grade change (or horizontal movement across the salary schedule) is earned by moving to a new level of school (elementary, middle, high, etc.). A grade change may result in either a salary increase or decrease.
Obtaining a doctorate degree equals one step change, with a cap at Step 20. It is the employee’s responsibility to initiate a request for a step advancement with the Department of Human Resources (contact us here).
Incentives and Stipends
Incentives are one-time payments, non-base building. They are paid in June of each year. Principals and Assistant Principals may be eligible for the following incentives.
Incentive Eligibility Criteria:
- Employed or retiring from an eligible position, and has worked during the school year in an eligible position: Principal, Assistant Principal, Principal Resident
- Recently PERA retired employees are still eligible if you meet the guidelines below
- Employees who finish the current contract year and then transfer to a non-school leader role within DPS
- If you transfer to a non-school leader position (for example, a job other than Principal, Assistant Principal, or Principal Resident) before the end of the contract year, you will not be eligible for any incentives
- Employees that start in their role prior to March 1 of the respective school year
- Employees with a total school leader FTE of 0.5 or higher
- Unpaid leaves of absence are prorated for incentives. Unpaid time during your leave is not eligible for incentives.
- Prorated Incentives - payments are prorated by FTE and time spent in the school. Only the months of August - May will be considered for proration eligibility. For late hires, you must start on or before the 1st of the respective month to count towards eligibility. If you transfer from one school to another mid-year, you will receive prorated incentives for time spent in each school.
- September 1 = 100% prorate
- October 1 = 90% prorate
- November 1 = 80% prorate
- December 1 = 70% prorate
- January 1 = 60% prorate
- February 1 = 50% prorate
- March 1 = 40% prorate
- Employees who leave DPS for any reason other than retirement and are not employed at the time of payout will not be eligible for incentives
- School Designation - there are three school designations at DPS. Incentives are paid to school leaders at schools with one of these designations. If your school is awarded multiple designations, you will only receive one of the incentives. Check your school’s designation.
- Innovation Management Organizations (IMOs) - Incentive Model: Incentives are pooled and allocated at the discretion of the Executive Principal. Eligibility Guidelines stated above do not apply to IMOs. Questions about your IMO eligibility for incentives? Contact your Executive Principal.
Principals may earn incentives based on the number of students enrolled in their school.
- Greater than 750 students: $3,000
- Greater than 1,000 students: $5,000
Title 1 Incentive
All Principals and Assistant Principals at Title 1 schools will receive an incentive of:
- Principals: $5,000
- Assistant Principals: $3,000
Roles Not Eligible for Incentives:
- POSAs (Principals on Special Assignment)
- Hourly Principals
- Principal Interns (Richie/ELL)
- Instructional Directors
- Teacher Admin Assistant
- Dean of Operations, Culture, Instruction, or Student Services
- Admin Interns
- Year Zero Principals are not eligible
Benefits Allowance (Credits)
Benefit eligible Principals and Assistant Principals hired on or after July 1 2017 will receive $343 in benefit credits per month if they enroll in one of the District’s medical plans. Principals and Assistant Principals working less than full-time will receive the benefit credits prorated by their full-time equivalency (FTE).
Retirement & Early Retirement
Early Retirement Notification: any Principal or Assistant Principal that is eligible for retirement benefits and submits a retirement request effective at the end of the school year for action by the Board at its April legislative meeting shall be eligible for a severance pay stipend of $1,200. The application deadline is February 1. DSLA and the district may mutually agree to extend this date in extenuating circumstances.
Unused Sick Time Payout: Principals and Assistant Principals who are eligible for Colorado PERA retirement at the time they terminate employment may receive a payout of their accrued sick time. If a Principal or Assistant Principal is retiring from DPS, but not through Colorado PERA, they will need to notify Human Resources prior to their retirement date and provide a letter from Colorado PERA that reflects their eligibility for retirement through Colorado PERA.
Sick Time Payouts are compensated for accrued and unused sick time at the rate of current annual salary x .0015 for each day (8 hours = 1 day). Days paid out will not exceed the work year.
More information on Colorado PERA can be found here.
High School Principals will continue to be on the 233 work-year calendar. HS Principals will receive 12 sick days per school year.
Effective July 1 2021, ECE-8, K-8, and Middle Schools Principals will be on the 223 work-year calendar. Principals will receive 11 sick days per school year.
Elementary Principals will be on the 215 work-year calendar. Principals will receive 11 sick days per year.
All principals will receive 4 personal leave days per work year. Personal leave days can be used for the purposes outlined in the DPS Employment Practice Manual. Any unused personal leave days will be converted to sick leave at the end of each school year (in accordance with DPS policy).
Assistant Principals & Residents
Assistant Principals and Residents will continue to be on the 215 work-year calendar. They will receive 11 sick days per year.
All assistant principals & residents will receive 4 personal leave days per work year. Personal leave days can be used for the purposes outlined in the DPS Employment Practice Manual. Any unused personal leave days will be converted to sick leave at the end of each school year (in accordance with DPS policy).
Lead Partners will continue to be on the 235 work-year calendar. They will receive 12 sick days per year.
All lead partners will receive 4 personal leave days per work year. Personal leave days can be used for the purposes outlined in the DPS Employment Practice Manual. Any unused personal leave days will be converted to sick leave at the end of each school year (in accordance with DPS policy)
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