It took 14 months, several rounds of mediation and many more closed negotiation sessions, but in mid-September the Brainerd School District and its teachers settled the 2009-11 master teachers’ contract.
While it’s unknown what went on behind closed doors during those negotiation sessions between school officials and union representatives from Education Minnesota Brainerd, the issue became contentious within the community. Residents questioned whether the sticking points involved pay raises during the tough economic times.
In the end, the school board narrowly ratified the contract by a 3-2 vote. Teachers also voted for the contract but the final vote tally was not released by Education Minnesota Brainerd.
The contract settlement will cost the district $1.317 million over the two years of the contract, a 4.13 percent increase.
The contract contained no wage increases but teachers will continue to earn step and lane increases and payments for those at the top of the pay schedule. It also included significant retiree benefit reform for teachers hired after Jan. 1, 2009.
Steve Lund, director of business services, said in September it was the lowest contract settlement in at least the last 24 years in the records he searched. The average settlement during the past 24 years was more than 8 percent for a two-year contract, Lund said.
In early October, the district and its educational assistants reached a contract agreement, the final union group to settle with the district. Educational assistants had been without a settled contract since June 2008.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.