The Jamestown Education Association is seeking a two-year contract agreement while the Jamestown Public School Board said it wants a single-line salary schedule and voting members on the health insurance committee.

The two sides met Thursday to exchange proposals for the next teacher contract that would take effect in the next school year. The current one-year contract is set to expire in August.

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"We hope to have a two-year contract and to get the best for all the district employees," said Danielle Giesler, JEA president and middle school counselor.

Also with the JEA negotiating team were David Dooley, eighth grade geography teacher, and Lynn Kosel, high school chemistry and physics teacher.

Dooley said it is in the best interest of the teachers to have a two-year contract. The North Dakota Education Fact Finding Commission recommended a one-year contract that has been in effect this year after an impasse hearing, he said.

Jennifer Schmidt, school board member, said the priority item of the school board is to find a solution to the current salary schedule. The step increases that the school district currently provides are not sustainable and the schedule itself "provides a false sense of salary increases to teachers, she said.

Schmidt, who was present with fellow negotiating team member Roger Haut, school board president, said the board wants to abolish the current salary schedule and proposes a single line salary schedule based on education level and years employed with a $500 base salary increase in the first and second year of a contract for returning teachers.

There is an additional $200 increase for returning teachers in the first four years to maintain a salary gap, she said.

The total cost of the proposal is $344,948 over the two year contract period, she said.

The school board also wants to eliminate the memorandum of understanding for health insurance, Schmidt said. Under the current contract the school board contributes $2.5 million to the school district's self-funded health care insurance fund and agrees to provide 40 percent cost sharing of health insurance fund reserve shortfalls.

"The board is unable to be stewards of taxpayer dollars, a role we are elected to do, with no vote in the plan design or premiums," Schmidt said.

The school board proposes eliminating the payment to the health care insurance fund but would reconsider if the health insurance committee voting member structure was comprised of two school board members, two teachers, one support staff, one administrator and one central office administrator, she said.

Kosel said the offer would be presented to the teachers and a response to the proposal would be presented at the next negotiation meeting.

Other JEA proposals include a stipend for professional development or training that is above and outside of contracted time. The stipend recommendation is 1/184th of a teacher's salary to replace the $100 taxable flat rate stipend.

The JEA is requesting that retiring teachers be allowed to cash in unused sick leave at the sub rate pay of $114 per eight hour day, Dooley said. The possible maximum cash out would be $15,190, he said.

Other items proposed include co-curricular and district school improvement committee payments at 18 percent of a teacher's base salary. The JEA also seeks payment for the cost of continuing education credits that are part of school district initiated professional development.

The next negotiation meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 22, in the Thompson Community Room of the middle school.