LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Good news for educators in Kentucky's largest school district: Jefferson County Public Schools announced a significant raise for teachers and other full-time employees in its latest contract proposal. 

JCPS leaders said once the raise is approved by the Board of Education, it will be the largest raise in the district in more than two decades. 

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio and Jefferson County Teachers Associated President Brent McKim announced the proposed contract Monday morning at the VanHoose Education Center. They said teachers and full-time employees can expect the 5% raise on their paychecks this coming July if the board approves the contract.

Pollio said he sees no problem with the contract being approved. 

Combined with the 4% raise in 2021, JCTA estimates this will bring the average teacher salary to $68,000 per year. Officials usually make salary adjustment announcements in the spring but wanted to make get the news about the raise out early, not only in the spirit of the holiday but also hoping to increase teacher retention and recruitment for next year.

Pollio believes the raise will entice educators to return to the classroom and encourage students to choose as a career. 

"As teachers begin to retire there's real concern what that will look like," Pollio said. "So I think once again this is a step in the right direction to make sure we have our young people going into the teacher profession."

Also included in the package is a provision allowing teachers to take half-days when sick, which the union said will increase the pool of substitute teachers and allow teachers to take time off for appointments.

An $8,000 bonus for teachers working in Choice Zones is also part of the package.

JCPS said there are approximately 300 teacher vacancies across the district right now.

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