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Dickinson school board approves teacher contracts

Dickinson Public Schools teacher contracts will be ready on Monday at noon.

The DPS Board approved contracts for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years at a special meeting at noon on Thursday, per the terms of the Governor's Education Factfinding Commission's report.

The board unanimously voted to distribute contracts, save for Morton Krieg, who was unable to attend Thursday's meeting.

Teachers have until 4 p.m. Sept. 3 to sign the contracts. School begins Aug. 19.

Should the teachers not show up for work Aug. 19 nor sign a contract by Sept. 3, the district can advertise the position, Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep said.

"The district would be absolved of any continuing contract laws and we would open that position," Reep said. "Because school will start before that, I would guess that if we have a classroom teacher that's not in their room, we would open that position."

The contracts feature a salary of $38,400 for a first-year teacher and $40,200 in the second year of that contract. The first year will have 185 days and the second 186.

The contracts come after the collaborative bargaining process between the DPS board and the Dickinson Education Association came to a halt in May, leading to an impasse hearing in front of the Factfinding Commission in June.

Going into the hearing, the DPS board wanted two additional professional development days and the DEA wanted none. The Factfinding Commission split the difference and asked for one.

The collaborative bargaining team met Wednesday evening for a final attempt. The DEA wanted to accept the Factfinding Commission's decision for the first year and head back to the negotiating table in the fall for the second. The school board wanted to accept the commission's proposal in full.

More than the salary, DEA representatives were worried about adding professional development days because they feel that past presentations have been wasted, especially for specialty teachers.

"We will be reactivating the professional development committee," Board President Kris Fehr said. "We've already appointed our board member to that. That committee will be working on professional development for the next year."

Professional development days for the 2013-14 school year have been set, but the board and the professional development committee want comprehensive feedback to better schedule the 2014-15 school year.

Teachers will first have an opportunity to sign contracts at the Central Administration Building from Monday until noon Thursday, at which time unsigned contracts will go out to the address on file via certified mail, Reep said. At that time, teachers have 30 days to return the contract.

Reep said he would notify principals to begin the call tree process to inform teachers that contracts will be coming and teachers will be notified by email.

"We just want to make sure that everyone gets their contract," Reep said.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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