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DPS Board receives little public input since impasse with contract negotiations

The Dickinson Public School Board said Monday during a special meeting at the Central Administration Office that there has been little public input since the Governor's Factfinding Commission report sided with the board after it came to an impasse in its contract negotiations with the Dickinson Education Association.

The school board quickly discussed the little input it has received. School Board President Kris Fehr spoke about the lone email she and other board members received from a former Dickinson State University professor who was critical of the board's position. Others said they had verbal discussions with members of the community and that most people they spoke with sided with the board.

The board then went into executive session in which it consulted with its attorney regarding the negotiation impasse.

The negotiation period between the school board and the teacher's group ended July 10 after which the Factfinding Commission placed an advertisement in The Dickinson Press on July 11 recommending four items:

* A two-year contract covering the academic years 2013-15.

* The board's final offer of a salary schedule increase of $2,000 base for the first year and $1,500 base for the second year, which would put first-year teacher salaries at $38,500 and second-year salaries at $40,200.

* That all previous items agreed to remain in agreement, including seven of the nine issues identified in the collaborative bargaining team meeting minutes and resolved prior to the impasse.

* The addition of one professional development day in the second year of the contact, and that the Professional Development Leadership Team that is already established meets in year one of the contract to determine inservice topics, specific academic needs and establishes a consensus on how to meet the professional development goals of the district.

The education association is asking for a first-year base salary increase of $3,000 and a second-year increase of $2,000.

The Factfinding Commission stated in its review that the school board's offer is estimated to cost $4.25 million in salary and benefit increases, or 85 percent of the estimated $5 million in increased revenue for the two-year contract. It expressed concern that 85 percent is already a large financial commitment of estimated new revenue due to the additional demands faced by the school district because of increasing enrollment.

The 2013-14 Dickinson Public School year begins Aug. 21 with teacher inservice days Aug. 19 and 20.

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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