Newsletter (I would title this: There's Plenty of Money)

January 10, 2000 My Response
Welcome back to the remainder of the school year and a new century. If you are at all like me you have probably heard enough about the new millennium to last you about another one thousand years, so I'll just give you an update on what has been happening and what we are planning for the next few months.

Let's start with negotiations. We had our last mediation session December 14. The entire session was devoted to ways to structure our severance plan to avoid the pitfalls of constructive receipt. Jim Melander and Kent Schutte (from Education Minnesota) presented a plan which we felt would both meet our needs relative to the entire membership and be revenue neutral. The district requested additional time to study the proposal. They will respond at the next mediation session which is scheduled for January 6. An attempt will be made by both parties to deal with ill of the issues and reach a settlement during this session. The deadline for.a settlement is Tuesday January 18. 1. Should a settlement not be reached, the school district could lose about $300,000 in state funding. Of course they appear to have close to $20,000,000 in reserves, so the penalty would not be a major problem. Still, it would be preferable to settle ahead of the deadline. If we ire not successful, it will become necessary to -onsider all of our options. I would expect that we would schedule a general membership meeting to discuss a strike vote. We still have the signs from last time.

As of December 15, about one hundred districts had settled. The average settlement per school is 3.65% in year one and 3.7% in year two on schedule. When the average is weighted (to consider that some districts have more teachers) the averages are 4.18% and 3.76%. Again this is actual improvement in salary schedule. Our own school district has offered 2% and 2%. We would expect that they would be a bit more generous on January 6.

Towards the end of January the Sick Leave Bank Committee will be meeting to discuss usage of the bank and the need to replenish it. Human Resources is telling us that the bank is running at a deficit and we need a donation of two days per member. I would hope that the situation will prove to be less dire. We are requesting that the school district provide a breakdown on use of sick leave and use of the sick leave bank. As well, we have asked the legal staff of Education Minnesota to do some research on possible limitations of usage. It is well to remember that when one goes into the sick leave bank that the cost is paid by other members. These are not free days but are provided by donation of days by the membership. This consideration is particularly important when one remembers the cost to members who are about to retire with fewer than 180 days of accumulated sick leave. Each day they donate costs $250 to $300 which is deducted from their severance. Perhaps it would be possible to not take days from those about to retire. The D.F.T. representatives on the Sick Leave Bank Committee are ***l, *** and ***.

We will update members on the work of both the negotiating team and the Sick Leave Bank Committee as soon as there is something to report.

Frank Wanner


A mediation session was held Thursday, January 6. During this session there was further discussion of all of the issues including salary. Little progress was made and a follow-up session was scheduled for Monday, January 10 with another possible if needed. We are still optimistic that we will be able to reach a settlement prior to the deadline and are hopeful that the district shares in this optimism. A full analysis of the situation will be given at the general membership meeting on Thursday, January 13, 4:15 p.m. in Woodland School Auditorium.

Except for the outrageously inaccurate claim that ISD 709 is swimming in money this is a remarkably mild newsletter. Unfortunately, this claim will lull our teachers into lockstep with their misguided union leadership. The young teachers who get laid off in the next few years have been betrayed. Any teacher who wants to avoid program cuts and increased class sizes has not been represented at this negotiation. The simple fact is that the school district is limited by the complicated formula's created by the state legislature. I would like to pay our teachers more. We can't do it until the law changes except by canibalizing our own staff.




1. The penalty is small. It equals the salary of 3 and a half senior teachers over two years. Frank continues to talk about the reserve as though it was the fountain of youth when its not much more than a tub of cold cream. When we cut 4 or 5 million dollars from our budget Frank should get the blame.