Weather Forecast


DL School District settles grievance filed by teachers' union

The Detroit Lakes School Board voted to approve a two-year long grievance settlement with its teachers' union, Education Minnesota.

The grievance stems from a dispute over who should receive $243,000 worth of rebates given back to the school district from its health insurance handler, Lakes Country Cooperative.

Initially the school district told employees 75 percent of the money would go to the district and 25 percent would be distributed to employees holding a family insurance plan, while nothing would be given to single policy holders.

"Our thought was, the district paid for 100 percent of the single policies and 75 percent of the family plans, so we thought it was a reasonable offer," said Detroit Lakes School Superintendent Doug Froke.

The teachers' union, Education America, disagreed, and referred to a precedence-setting case from 1995 in Fergus Falls, which gave the employees more right to the money.

According to union officials, teachers and other employees are the ones who had to pay more when health premiums went 'through the roof', while the district paid the same amount regardless of inflation. They say this makes the rebate, handed out due to low employee claims, property of the employees.

The school district then came back to the table and offered a plan that would allow the district to keep only $60,000 and $183,000 would go to employees who held family plans during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years.

The union then denied that offer as well, leading to arbitration.

However, just before arbitration was to get underway, Education America agreed to the settlement, as did the school board at its meeting Monday morning.

Checks are expected to be doled out to those employees May 30.

Look for more on this story in Wednesday's Tribune.