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LP-A reaches teaching agreement

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

With a minimum amount of fuss, members of Education Minnesota Lake Park-Audubon and the LP-A Board of Education reached agreement on a new two-year master teaching contract earlier this week.

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LP-A faculty members approved the agreement on Friday, Nov. 18, while the LP-A school board members followed suit at their regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 21.

"It was a very peaceful settlement," said school board member Mike McIntire, who was on the negotiations committee.

"Both sides were within a few dollars of each other (in their initial proposals)," said board member Bryan Anderson, who was also on the committee. "It made it pretty easy to go through the process."

The agreement provides for a 3.12 percent increase in teacher salaries and benefits for the first year of the agreement, and a 2.14 percent increase for the second year.

It also provides a .5 percent increase in TRA, as required by Minnesota statute, and a $200 annual increase in the salary schedule for 2011-12. The 2012-13 year includes a $300 increase in the salary schedule.

The agreement covers the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. In the previous two-year agreement, teachers had received a 0 percent increase for 2009-10, and a 1.5 percent increase for 2010-11.

The school board and teacher representatives also agreed on the following district goals in their initial meetings last spring:

• Maintain financial stability for the district;

• Maintain small class size;

• Expand curriculum opportunities at the high school;

• Retain the same number of FTE (full-time equivalent) positions;

• Adopt a master agreement that promotes retention of staff and attracts the best applicants;

• Avoid salary and benefit increases that cannot be afforded with anticipated revenue;

• Work toward a fund balance of 10 to 18 percent of the expenditure budget.

Also at Monday night's meeting, the LP-A school board approved the district's 2011 financial audit report from Eide Bailly.

"It was another clean year for the district," said Derek Flanagan, Eide Bailly representative, during his presentation of the report to the board.

What that means, according to LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie, is that the district received a "clean audit opinion," otherwise referred to as an "unqualified opinion."

As stated in the executive summary of Eide Bailly's audit report, "An unqualified opinion means that the financial statements have been prepared using accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP), do not contain material misstatements, and are fairly represented."

The report showed general fund revenues of $5,893,724 for the district's 2010-11 fiscal year, along with $5,506,282 in expenditures.

As Flanagan also noted during his presentation, the district has benefited from an increase in average daily membership (ADM, or student enrollment numbers) since 2009.

"I hope that (positive trend) continues," Flanagan said.

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