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Farmington teachers get new contract

The Farmington School District and its teachers have reached an agreement on a new contract a little more than six months after the old contract expired.

The new deal will pay teachers an additional 4.75 percent over the two-year period, with a small increase to the salary schedule in the first year and a larger increase in the second year. It also includes a new incentive for teachers to earn national board certification, offering a $1,000 stipend for each year the teacher is certified.

The new contract is retroactive to July 1, 2013 and runs through the end of June, 2015.

In addition to salary changes, the new contract offers a $1,000 contribution to a health savings account for teachers who choose the district’s high-deductible health insurance option. Thomas said being on the high-deductible plan might be the right option for many teachers who do not currently consider it.

The new contract also calls for the creation of six-member elementary and secondary task forces to look at issues related to teachers’ workloads. The task forces will meet at least four times per year — once before the start of the school year and once at the end of each trimester — to address concerns teachers raise during the year.

Thomas said there haven’t been specific workload issues raised, but said such task forces are becoming more common.

“I think across the entire state and probably not just school districts, jobs are getting more complicated,” Thomas said. “People are being asked to do different things, do more with less.”

Teachers would raise concerns with their building principal first. If issues cannot be resolved there they would be brought to the task force.

District human resources director Maryann Thomas said the new contract took time to negotiate because there were a lot of things both sides wanted to discuss.

“There were just a number of issues we wanted to talk about,” Thomas said. “There’s certain times you don’t want to burden the teacher group with having to meet and bargain. We want to stay away from the beginning of the school year…. We ran into a couple of issues with regard to that.”

Teachers approved the contract last week. School board members approved it Monday.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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