Negotiations between the Ramsey school district and its K-12 teachers’ union recently entered mediation, after the two sides were unable to come to a resolution without assistance. The state mediation process began after the two side gave up on independent negotiations, which had been in process since February 2016. There are nearly 300 teachers, school secretaries, custodians, and other school employees currently working on the three-year contract that expired at the end of June.
There have been two formal mediation sessions thus far, overseen by a state-appointed mediator. The goal is for both sides work face-to-face with the support of the mediator to reach an amicable solution. Those involved have described the talks as professional.
The expired contract under which the union members are operating was negotiated in 2013. It raised the pay package by nearly three percent per year for teachers and secretaries. The total for teacher salaries grew by nearly $2 million by the time the contract expired in 2016.
According to the new salary guide, Step One teachers with a bachelor’s degree would receive just over $51,000 in 2013 and 2014, and just over $52,000 in 2015 and 2016. Step 14 teachers with a master’s degree would receive up to $95,300 by 2016 and Step 16 teachers with a master’s degree and 45 credits would receive $106,300 in 2016. That package was approved by the school board with an eight to one vote, with the single holdback calling those contract terms “unsustainable.”
If all goes as planned with the mediation and it is similar to previous mediations, the dispute should be settled within three sessions.