St. Cloud teachers begin voting on contractby Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Teachers in St. Cloud are due to start voting on a new contract on Monday. The tentative agreement would give teachers their first raise since 2007.
Teachers would get a 1 percent raise for the upcoming school year. Among other details, the tentative agreement caps the district's health care contribution at $650 a month for individuals.
The contract covers last year and the coming school year, meaning teachers in the district have been working for the last year without a new deal.
While pay scales haven't been adjusted upwards for cost-of-living increases since 2007, teachers have been eligible for raises based on years of service and increased education.
Bruce Watkins, the superintendent of the St. Cloud School District, says that even though negotiations lasted nearly a year, they were not contentious.
"It was trying to come to an agreement that as we went forward, what could the district afford to do and still maintain sustainability in the long run," Watkins said.
He says contract negotiations will likely start again next spring.
Mary Broderick, president of the St. Cloud Education Association, the teachers union, says it's nice to have a tentative deal to vote on before the school year starts.
"We're pleased that we have an agreement, a tentative agreement," Broderick said. "It's not necessarily pretty. But it's done and I think it's fair given what we were up against" given the district's financial situation and the slow economy.
Voting is scheduled to start Monday evening and should be wrapped up Wednesday.
According to Education Minnesota, 21 of the state's 337 school districts are still working on new teacher contracts.