By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Negotiations have been underway since September between the Delano School District and the Delano Teachers Association (DTA) for a contract agreement for 2009-11.
“Our negotiations have been underway since a kick-off meeting in September, and we’ve met five times so far,” commented Peter Brasket, the lead negotiator for the school district. “We will be meeting as frequently as possible in December as we try to reach agreement.”
Brasket said he feels the teachers and district negotiators are on the same page regarding the “macro issues” affecting Delano Schools.
“Namely, the decreased state funding of k-12 education (the general education formula per pupil was flat, but the state is holding back 27 percent of funding), and the ever-rising health care premiums,” Brasket said.
“Both sides are making best efforts to understand the needs of one another, and we’re trying to get as creative as possible to reach a settlement,” Brasket added. “I think in this regard, we are very similar to many districts in the state: everyone is basically deficit spending this biennium (combining use of fund reserves, cuts, or borrowing we’re doing the first two), so settlements have been lower than in the recent past.”
Steve Brown, negotiator for the DTA, said, “Both sides are working hard to reach a settlement. The teachers are hopeful that we can get this accomplished in the near future.”
The most recent agreement with the DTA was approved Jan. 3, 2008, for 2007-09.
At that time, a settlement of 1.6 and a 1.4 percent new money increase in the first year and second year, respectively, was reached, according to Brasket at the time. With an additional .5 percent increase each year because of a contingency pay clause, the increase was actually 2.1 and 1.9 percent over the two years.