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Salary gap remains in teacher negotiations

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local Jamestown, 58401
Jamestown Sun
701-251-2873 customer support
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

Inching slightly closer on teacher salaries, negotiators for the Jamestown Education Association and the Jamestown Public School Board found other points of disagreement Monday.

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While both groups agreed on a policy allowing teachers to use earned sick time for up to three weeks of adoption leave, the School Board wanted to place the issue in school policy, and the Education Association wanted to place it in the 2-year contract.

"The board feels strongly that it should be in the policy and not in the agreement," said Roger Haut, spokesman for the School Board.

Cody Mickelson, spokesman for the JEA, said it should be in the contract, because otherwise the School Board could change it at any time.

Mickelson said the teachers understood the School Board has no intention of acting in bad faith and eliminating the policy after negotiations are complete, but said other schools had it in their contracts, and Jamestown doesn't "need to be a trendsetter by putting it in our policy."

The JEA is also requesting two days of paid personal leave per year in addition to one unpaid day of personal leave per year, with paid days rolling over if unused, limited to five.

The School Board is offering the two days of paid personal leave per year with days rolling over if unused, up to five.

And a gulf remains on health insurance, as well, with the JEA asking the School Board to put an additional $39,491 each year into the health insurance fund for teacher coverage, and the School Board offering an additional $34,000 in only the second year for teacher coverage.

Salaries

A significant gap in salary also remains between the two groups, though both moved slightly following their May 30 meeting.

The JEA is requesting a 5 percent base salary increase during the 2013-2014 school year and a 4.5 percent base salary increase during the 2014-2015 year -- after requesting 5 percent both years the previous session.

The School Board is offering 3 percent the first year of the contract and 4 percent during the second year. Its previous offer was a 3.09 percent increase the first year followed by a 3.06 percent the second.

The following figures are for base salaries, not actual salaries, and they do not include benefits.

Base salaries, current and JEA proposal:

* 2012-2013 (current): $31,670

* 2013-2014: $33,253

* 2014-2015: $34,749

Base salaries, current and School Board proposal:

* 2012-2013 (current): $31,670

* 2013-2014: $32,620

* 2014-2015: $33,925

The groups set their next negotiations meeting for 5 p.m. June 26.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at klucin@jamestownsun.com

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Kari Lucin
Kari Lucin joined the Grand Forks Herald as a multimedia producer in August 2014. Previously, she worked for a few years at the Jamestown Sun in Jamestown, N.D., as a staff writer, and prior to that, for about six years as staff writer and later online content coordinator, at the Daily Globe in Worthington, Minn. A graduate of Jackson County Central High School and Augsburg College, she has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and English. Find more of her writing at her blog, Oh Look, a Shiny Thing! or on Twitter at @karilucin.
(701) 780-1119
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