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BREAKING NEWS

BEA board approves two-year teacher contract

By Staff | Dec 27, 2009

Mary Eckhardt

The Blue Earth Area School Board approved a two-year contract with the union representing the district’s 95 teachers.

The new agreement is retroactive to July 1 and calls for a ‘total package’ increase of 3.134 percent.

The master contract, which expires June 30, 2011, includes the following:

• salary schedule increase of .72 percent the first year and .50 percent in year two;

• step advancement only in the second year;

• lane change advancements to qualifying staff in both years;

• district contribution health insurance caps of $7,746 the first year and $8,335 in year two.

Negotiations between three school board members and three members of the teachers’ union began in May.

For board member Mary Eckhardt this was the fourth contract talks she has participated in.

She says 11 negotiation sessions were held, most lasting one to two hours. But, there was one that lasted for six hours.

“Overall, the process went well. We really want to thank the teachers’ negotiators,” says Eckhardt.

Superintendent Dale Brandsoy says both sides worked very hard to come up with an agreement they could live with.

“There were a set of priorities the board wanted and what the teachers wanted. There was compromise and give-and take by both sides,” he says.

Eckhardt attributes the small salary increases for teachers in part to the two-year pay freeze the superintendent and three principals agreed to in their last contract.

Donna Drescher, president of BEA Education Association, says the district is fortunate to have teachers that are dedicated to their profession and service to the district.

“This year you have both sides coming together to best serve the students of Blue Earth Area,” she says.