Factfinding commission recommends slight salary increase for Minot teachers

The North Dakota Education Factfinding Commission is recommending a very slight increase – $100  – in the salary for a beginning teacher in the Minot Public Schools. That would take the base salary for a beginning teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience to $42,488 and for a teacher at the top of the salary schedule to $78,079 per year. The recommendation was made  in a report the commission delivered Tuesday regarding the contract negotiations impasse between the Minot Education Association and the Minot Public School Board. A hearing on the impasse was held June 5 at Minot High School-Central Campus.

Salaries have been a major sticking point in the negotiations. The MEA’s final proposal was a $600 increase on the base salary for a beginning teacher, while the school board had refused to increase the base salary, citing a projected $3.3 million budget deficit for the coming year. The board negotiators said the district would honor the existing salary schedule and allow teachers to move up on the schedule and earn more money based on additional education and additional experience. The district would also pay the same percentage of health insurance as this school year, with employees also paying the same percentage as this year.  Business manager Scott Moum had estimated the cost of the district proposal at just over $1 million.

Teacher and school board negotiators are scheduled to meet at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the factfinding committee’s recommendations, said board negotiator Mark Lyman on Tuesday. The two sides have 20 days after receiving the report to arrive at an agreement. If they fail to do so, the entire commission report will be published in the newspaper of record along with the factfinding commission’s explanation of why negotiations failed and which side they judge to be at fault.

The recommendation made by the factfinding commission is not binding; the school district would be able to impose a contract on teachers if the two sides fail to reach agreement.

Members of the state factfinding commission are Dean Rummel, chairman, and commission members Jerry Hieb and Barb Evanson.