Douglas County Schools

Chief Human Resources Officer Cesare to leave Douglas County School district

Cesare helped implement DCSD market-based pay system for teachers

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One of the key figures behind the Douglas County School District's market-based pay system for teachers is leaving.

A school district spokeswoman has confirmed that Chief Human Resources Officer Brian Cesare will be leaving the district. He has submitted a letter of resignation and his last day will be Nov. 3.

"This role has afforded me the opportunity to perform some of my most rewarding HR work," Cesare said in a statement to Colorado Community Media. "I am most proud of the many creative programs we have implemented to attract and retain the best employees to the benefit of our awesome kids. I am also extremely proud of the HR team, their performance, professionalism and accomplishments."

Board member David Ray said the timing of Cesare’s departure poses a challenge given that the district is in a transition year as it searches for a new superintendent. But Ray is hopeful that new faces will help to heal divides in the community.
“I believe the turnover signals that a positive change is coming where the focus will return to what is best for students, as opposed to implementing unsuccessful initiatives that have taken a toll on our district’s culture,” Ray said.

Cesare began working for the district in 2011. He previously worked for PeoplePerfect, a human resources consulting company based in New Mexico. He has a bachelor's degree from East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and a M.B.A. from Syracuse University.

Cesare helped to design and implement the school district's market-based pay system, which became a lightning rod for controversy among teachers, principals and district officials since its implementation in 2012.

Market-based pay, district officials say, takes a wider picture of not only a candidate's education, experience and skill, but also supply and demand of the position, to determine pay. That means teachers of harder-to-fill subjects like science and math are paid more than those of easier-to-fill subjects, such as English or social studies.

The district evaluates the salary bands several times a year so it can adjust the scale to help find candidates the district needs.
In addition, raises are offered yearly based on effectiveness ratings ranging from highly effective to ineffective rather than on tenure and level of education.

In DCSD, more than 70 positions are differentiated into five pay bands based on demand and rarity of skill.

For the 2016-17 school year, salaries range from $36,000 to $67,000 in the first band for subjects such as physical education, social studies and upper-elementary grades. In the highest band, salaries range from $48,000 to $94,000 for specialists like occupational therapists and psychologists.

Although level of education, such as master's and doctoral degrees, are considered when negotiating salaries for new hires, current employees who earn those degrees receive no additional compensation.

The district offers teachers up to $2,000 per year in tuition reimbursement, according to the district, which Cesare, in a previous interview, said could improve a teacher's performance - thus earning him or her a larger raise if they reach the next performance level.

The bands also impose a value on what is taught, some educators say. A first-year, first-grade teacher in the second-level band makes $38,000 a year. The salary for a first-year, second-grade teacher in the first-level band is $36,000.

Any raises to pay are tied directly to the district's pay-for-performance system.

Teacher and principal evaluations are required in all Colorado school districts under 2010's Senate Bill 191, also called the Educator Effectiveness Bill. Districts were allowed to adopt either the state's teacher-evaluation program or create their own. DCSD is among six districts that designed its own.

Called CITE, Continuous Improvement of Teacher Effectiveness, the evaluation tool has six components for measuring teacher effectiveness: outcomes, assessment, instruction, culture and climate, professionalism and student data. Each of those categories contains a number of standards with a subset of criteria - totaling 31 in all - against which teachers are evaluated, according to the DCSD website.

The state's evaluation tool, by comparison, has five quality standards with a number of subsets totaling 27. Based on self-evaluations, evaluations by administrators and other factors, such as use of the district's Guaranteed Viable Curriculum - which specifies what students need to know and be able to do - each teacher is rated highly effective, effective, partially effective or ineffective.

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