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Published August 27, 2013, 09:33 PM

Valley City mediation between teachers and school board

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Typically teachers sign contracts before the school year begins, but that won't be happening this year in Valley City.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Typically teachers sign contracts before the school year begins, but that won't be happening this year in Valley City.

Instead, with school set to begin, mediators have been called in as the School Board and Teachers Association "agree to disagree" on a budget.

A spokesperson for the Education Association says their frustration stems from the board finalizing a school budget in the midst of negotiations.

At a special school board meeting, negotiation strategy was key.

Superintendent Dean Koppelman says the school board has agreed to disagree with the education association, a group made up of teachers.

Dean Koppelman- Valley City Superintendent: "It's some language items in our negotiated agreement and it's salary, it's money and it's insurance."

Kathy Lentz, a spokesperson for the Valley City Education Association declined to comment on camera, but says quote, "There was never an intent to negotiate with the VCEA as proven by the Board adopted budget."

Lentz tells us mid-way through negotiations the board approved a finalized budget.

Koppelman says it's a matter of not seeing eye to eye.

"They are looking at what we call a step-increase, based on a persons year of experience."

A fancy way of saying a salary increase, something Koppelman says the board has denied.

"The board has proposed no salary increase - other than if people meet specific requirements, such as additional graduate credits."

A lot of it boils down to finances. Within the past year 25 students have left the district.

"A little over 8800 dollars is allocated per pupil from the state, for funding."

Meaning the district is receiving nearly $200,000 less And that's not all.

"The property tax part of the formula we're looking to receive about $1.1 million dollars less in property tax revenue. "

Although both sides say discussion has been civil.

"The process has been very professional, very courteous, very respectful."

Koppelman says the mediators are tentatively set to met September 4th.

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