May 14, 2018 06:21 PM
More than two dozen school districts around the state have teachers that are working with old contracts right now.
Those contracts expired on June 30 of last year, and now teachers in some districts are strictly "working their contract".
It means teachers in the South Washington County school district and in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district aren't staying late after school with students or coming in early, and they aren't grading papers at home or responding to emails after hours.
They're working their contract hours, and that's it.
South Washington County schools is one of 25 around the state working with an expired teacher contract.
"There's a lot of uncertainty for them. They are wondering 'am I going to get a contract, what will this look like' and it's leading to a lot of low morale," Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said.
Education Minnesota says roughly 93 percent of the traditional 355 school districts around the state have reached deals, leaving 7 percent that have not.
Pay is one of the main concerns. Specht says the Lynd School District in southwest Minnesota knows that well.
"In Lynd, we have a very sad story. They have had the lowest teacher pay in the entire state for as long as I can remember, at $27,000," she said.
Specht says three teachers have resigned from the small district in the last month.
"They are finding jobs in other professions, and in other school districts," she added.
Andrew Aoki is a political science professor at Augsburg University.
"There is a significant small number that for whatever reason seems to be struggling," he said of the two dozen districts still negotiating.
He says the pressures around organized labor is likely a concern for teachers unions.
"You only have to look to Wisconsin to see there are some real pressures on the unions," he said.
He says the issue of who is going to deliver education in the future is key, as growing student choice is having a financial impact on districts.
In Minneapolis, for example, he says one reason they have lost money is because money follows the students, and many are going to charter schools.
"I think we're starting to see that grow and make it harder and harder for districts," he said.
Teachers can continue to work with their old contracts, but more than 300 days into negotiations now for some districts means many will want to settle sooner rather than later.
Updated: May 14, 2018 06:21 PM
Created: May 14, 2018 05:19 PM
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