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Detroit Lakes Public Schools, union reach agreement

Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
Detroit Lakes Public Schools, union reach agreement
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Detroit Lakes Public Schools and its teachers have labor peace for the next 18 months: The school board approved a new bargaining agreement Monday night.

The district was up against a Jan. 15 deadline to reach a deal or face a $25 per pupil fine from the state.

The deal, covering the current and the next school years, gives teachers a 1.48 percent raise this year and a 1.4 percent raise for the 2010-11 school year. Step and lane increases are also in place.

"It's a process," said Superintendent Doug Froke.

Froke said that the teachers pointed to the district's increased enrollment and overall good financial health in negotiations.

"In a process that should be designed as a win-win, it's not," Froke said.

A representative from Education Minnesota-Detroit Lakes could not be reached for comment.

"But what we have is a final outcome and we go forward and continue the business of educating kids," Froke said.

He said that district budgeted for a 3 percent salary increase this year, with next year's increase to be factored into the next budget.

The district will increase its health insurance contributions from $830 for a family/$440 for a single person to $910/$440 this year and $958/$467 next year.

The district will increase long-term disability coverage from $36,000 to $50,000, with costs paid for by the teachers.

Severance pay increases from a maximum of $26,000 to $28,000.

The total increase that the district will pay out over the agreement is $854,021, representing a 5.81 percent jump over the last contract. The statewide average contract increase is 3.8 percent, according to The Forum.