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School Board, teachers settle on new contract

Staff Reports The New York Mills School District and teachers union have settled on a 2-year contract. After negotiations between the two sides the teachers voted last month to ratify the new contract. On Monday the school board voted to do the s...

Staff Reports

The New York Mills School District and teachers union have settled on a 2-year contract. After negotiations between the two sides the teachers voted last month to ratify the new contract. On Monday the school board voted to do the same at its annual reorganization meeting, a week ahead of the Jan. 15 deadline.

The total package settlement reached was a 3.5 percent increase the first year and 4.5 percent the second year of the contract. Superintendent Todd Cameron notes what we see in the percentages is more than just salary when calculating the percent increase.

Included in this total package percentage increase are the salary, FICA, TRA, extracurricular salaries, health insurance, and other benefit costs. The dollar amount increase over the 2006-07 (base year) school year is $109,966 for 2007-08 and $146,359 for the 2008-09 school year. There are approximately 54 full-time licensed teachers currently working in the district.

The two sides first met for negotiations Sept. 19. Committee members for the School Board include: Rachel Grieger, Dan Welter, and Josie Hendrickx. Committee members for the teachers include: Matt Radniecki, Verne Peterson, and Cheri Tumberg. They also met Oct. 8, Oct. 24, and Nov. 7.

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Some of the things discussed during negotiations included extending sick leave, allowing a sick leave bank, reducing the number of steps on the salary schedule, and a sick leave policy.

The number of steps in the second year of the contract was reduced from 30 to 22. Basically, a step is a year of experience in teaching. A beginning teacher would typically start at step one and continue moving one step with each additional year of experience. The two sides also agreed to develop a sick leave policy for all employees to be able to share leave in the event of a serious health issue.

Matt Radniecki, representing the teachers, said the negotiations were done in a respectful manner and the teachers enjoy working with the school board to continue to make the district a great place to receive an all around education. Radniecki also pointed out the settlement was fair for both sides and issues were discussed that help make the district pro-active in education.

The NY Mills increase compares favorably to neighboring districts like Perham (4.06 and 2.67 percent); and Wadena-Deer Creek (2 percent and 2.5 percent).

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