MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tentative agreement has been reached that should prevent the possibility for teachers to go on strike in one of Minnesota’s largest school districts.
On Tuesday, the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s director of communications said that the school board reached an agreement with the union representing the teachers.
The two sides had just resumed negotiations on Monday, with their meeting held at the state Bureau of Mediation Services.
“We are very pleased to be able to announce an agreement that we believe fairly compensates our teachers within the financial resources available to the school district,” school board chair Tom Heidemann said in a released statement.
The teachers had previously set an April 17 deadline for a strike vote, and leading into this week negotiators from both sides met 16 times over the past nine months without coming to a contract agreement.
Key issues between the teachers and the district were health insurance, compensation and a district proposal to change the salary schedule to target young teachers.
According to the school district, the teachers’ union agreed to allow the district to put a cap on their contribution to their health insurance premiums, and the district agreed to not include a new step in the salary schedule.
The teachers union agreed to take a portion of its members’ pay increase as a one-time stipend. Also, teachers got a salary increase of $1,000 in the first year. More experienced teachers got an additional 1.5 percent. In the second year, new teachers get a 1.5 percent raise and the more experienced teachers a two percent raise.
The district will also add a health plan featuring a high deductible with an HRA option next year and an incentive for the teachers who choose that plan.
The district has about 2,800 teachers who serve nearly 39,000 students in 13 suburban communities north of the Twin Cities. It operates 24 elementary schools, six middle schools, five high schools and two alternative schools.
The deal still has to be ratified by the teachers’ union, prior to going before the school board for a final vote later this month. The leaders of the teachers’ union are expected to recommend canceling the planned vote to strike, and a vote on the agreement is scheduled for April 14.