The Brainerd School District and its educational assistants have reached a tentative contract agreement, the last union group in the district to settle.
The Brainerd School Board Personnel Committee met for an hour in closed session Tuesday afternoon, then returned to open session. Superintendent Steve Razidlo read a statement from board members, announcing that they have reached a tentative three-year contract agreement for the 2008-2011 school years with Education Minnesota Brainerd Educational Assistants. Committee members recommended school board members ratify the contract at the regular school board meeting Monday.
Razidlo said educational assistants voted and approved the contract settlement Monday.
In the statement read by Razidlo, he said the union group was very understanding of the challenges the district is facing. He added that the agreement also represented an acknowledgment by the district for their hard work in the transition year following the $5.5 million in budget reductions in 2007-2008.
The agreement includes no wage increase for the 2008-09 school year, a 2 percent wage increase for the 2009-10 school year and no wage increase for the 2010-11 school year.
The agreement also includes a 2 percent wage increase for 2010-11 for those at the top step of the salary schedule. Steve Lund, director of business services, said this is an equity adjustment for this group, bringing wages more in alignment or comparable with other union groups, such as custodians and other support staff. This union group has five steps on its salary schedule and the adjustment only applies to the top step, or year five.
The agreement also includes a reduction in future post-employment benefits of about 35 percent.
"It's a contract settlement that will help the district hold both its current and future costs," said Razidlo.
Educational assistants earn about $9 to $13 an hour. The district has 285 educational assistants, but since most work part-time that equates to 220 full-time-equivalent staff members.
Educational assistants had been without a settled contract since June 2008. This contract expires June 30, 2011.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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