Negotiations continue for teacher contracts

December 10, 2007

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

As teacher negotiations continue, Dassel-Cokato School Board member Richard Tormanen said the two sides are still “quite a ways apart.”

“I can understand where the teachers are coming from since two years ago, they accepted a below-average contract,” Tormanen said.

“It’s a little bit unrealistic to get back to average all at one time,” he added.

Mark Dolan, chief negotiator for the Dassel-Cokato Education Association, said things are progressing and that so far, the school board is being fair.

With approximately 150 full-time teachers, the negotiating team compares its salaries with other districts in out-state Minnesota – schools with similar number of staff and students, according to Dolan.

The negotiating team consists of one representative from each school. Dolan is a third grade teacher at Cokato Elementary.

Two years ago, with the financial uncertainty of the district, the teachers agreed to a “below-average settlement,” Dolan said.

After not coming to an agreement Monday evening, the negotiating teams met again Sunday.

“This shows the teachers are wanting to negotiate [since] they wanted to meet before the next regular school board meeting Monday, Dec. 17,” Tormanen said.

Further information will be provided as it comes in.

To avoid financial penalties of $25 per student, teacher contracts must be finalized by Tuesday, Jan. 15. There are no deadlines for other staff contracts.

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