Teaching Profession

Contract Stalemate Comes With a Price, Minnesotans Find

By Vaishali Honawar — February 05, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In Minnesota, failing to reach a contract agreement with teachers on time can cost a school district—and not just in terms of labor-management reputation.

Under what appears to be a law unique to that state, districts have until Jan. 15 to reach agreements with their local teachers’ unions in each even-numbered year. If a district fails to do so, the state deducts $25 per student from its aid.

The state held back $345,000 from the 11 districts that did not make the deadline in 2006.

This year, 16 districts failed to settle with their unions before the deadline, according to Education Minnesota, the state teachers’ union, which is an affiliate of both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The 10,000-student St. Cloud school system, the largest of the districts that have failed to reach an agreement, would, for instance, pay a penalty of $257,000.

The deadline is meant to keep contract negotiations from stretching indefinitely. Officials from the union say they haven’t heard of any other state with a similar requirement. Tom Dooher, the president of Education Minnesota, said the union believes the deadline has been beneficial.

“We support the deadline because we know it works. It encourages both the school district and the local to get their work done,” Mr. Dooher said.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Minnesota. See data on Minnesota’s public school system.

He said that 95 percent of contracts are settled when the deadline is in place. On the few occasions when the legislature has suspended the deadline, only a little over a third of the contracts were settled, he added. Minnesota has a total of 339 school districts.

Contract agreements vary by district, but on average teachers in the state got a 2.36 percent salary raise for 2008-09.

Those representing school leaders say, however, that the contract deadline creates unfair pressure on districts, which feel pushed to make deals for fear of being hit with the penalty.

“[It] can make school boards take action and accept proposals that they wouldn’t accept” in the absence of a deadline, said Bob Lowe, the associate deputy director of membership services for the Minnesota School Boards Association.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 06, 2008 edition of Education Week


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Opinion ‘A Culture of Care’: How Schools Can Alleviate Educator Stress This Year
It takes more than deep breathing to alleviate the stress teachers feel. Here's how to get to the root cause.
Sean Slade & Alyssa Gallagher
6 min read
shutterstock 740616958 resized
Shutterstock
Teaching Profession Reported Essay Students Aren’t the Only Ones Grieving
Faced with so many losses stemming from the pandemic, what can be done to help teachers manage their own grief?
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Teaching Profession We Feel Your Grief: Remembering the 1,000 Plus Educators Who've Died of COVID-19
The heartbreaking tally of lives lost to the coronavirus continues to rise and take a steep toll on school communities.
3 min read
090321 1000 Educators Lost BS
Education Week
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor Educators Have a Responsibility to Support the Common Good
A science teacher responds to another science teacher's hesitation to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
1 min read