Teacher contract negotiations come to a halt as state deadline approachesFrazee, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A state deadline to meet agreements with Minnesota teachers is quickly approaching. By midnight, all districts must have new contracts in place. Many districts have done so already, including Moorhead, Detroit Lakes and DGF. Not meeting that deadline will soon cost Frazee-Vergas thousands of dollars.
Teacher contract negotiations have come to an abrupt stop in the Frazee-Vergas school district after one final early morning attempt today.
“They didn't even want to look at it. They immediately called for mediation and left the room.”
School Board Member Dwight Cook says both sides are disappointed, but neither wants to budge. Dwight says in tough financial times, everyone needs to be willing to give, but this deadlock is now going to cost the district more than 25 thousand dollars in fines. A race to meet a midnight state deadline with teachers is unlikely.
“It’s going to cost us 26 thousand dollars for them to not look at it and what can we say, they have every right to call for mediation, they have every right to do what they're doing now. We have no control over that.”
The two offers between the school district and the teachers union are only 15 thousand dollars apart. But the Frazee Education Association tells me this deadlock goes beyond dollar amounts.
“It's sad that it had to come to this.”
Jerry Bellefeuille with the Teacher’s Union says tension continues between both sides. They feel the only way to resolve it is with mediation. Bellefeuille says his union is only trying to get what's fair for Frazee teachers to stay competitive with other area districts.
“Even with our raise that we proposed, it won't get us up to that point. It won't even maintain what other districts around us have already gotten. We are actually in better financial shape than a lot of the districts around us.”
The one thing both sides do agree on is there are no winners when students start suffering. School leaders say, in order to make up for the $26 thousand dollar fine, more cuts may have to be made across the board. There is an open forum Monday night. It's at the Frazee Event Center starting at 6pm.