Lakeville teachers approve new agreement with school district

After working on an expired contract for 319 days, Education Minnesota Lakeville teachers are one step closer to a new agreement with Lakeville Area Public Schools.

According to a press release from Education Minnesota Lakeville (EML), 88% of voters voted in favor of ratifying the tentative agreement with Lakeville Area Public Schools on Tuesday. Carrie Popp, president of EML, praised the group’s effort in reaching the new agreement.

“I’m proud of the work that we did as a collective, standing strong and standing together for the future of our educators, students, and schools,” said Popp in the press release. “Our community values teachers and sees the essential role we play in creating excellent public schools for their children.”  

According to the same press release, the new agreement includes a number of pay changes for teachers if completely ratified, including a 2.25% raise in the contract’s first year and a 4.75% increase in the second. The contract would also increase the starting salary for new teachers to increase recruitment and create longevity pay as a retention bonus for teachers starting their sixth year of employment.

Non-pay changes include four due process days for special education teachers and no change to the “right of assignment” language which EML said protects teachers from being transferred mid-year by the district.

“It’s a hard-fought step in the right direction toward attracting and retaining educators,” said Johannah Surma, the lead negotiator in the press release. “This agreement responds to the needs of both teachers and the district and can provide a stable, stronger future for our schools. We couldn’t have made progress without the incredible support we’ve seen from parents, community members and union allies and we hope to carry this momentum – with the district hearing our voice and meeting our needs – well into the future.”  

The agreement will now go to the Lakeville Board of Education for a vote to officially ratify the contract. Both union members and the school district must ratify the agreement for it to be enacted.