Teachers, South Washington County District Still Working Toward New Contract

March 15, 2018 10:40 PM

Teachers in the South Washington County school district say they've been working for 258 days without a new contract.

And those teachers and their supporters attended a school board meeting Thursday night in Cottage Grove to show solidarity.

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"We're ready for a settled contract to move on to do what we need to do to support our students, support our families, without the distraction and the uncertainty of an unsettled contract hanging out there," Marty Fridgen of the United Teachers of South Washington County said.

The district, however, said teachers are being paid under their previous deal.

"Unlike an individual contract that expires at the end of its stated term, by law a collective bargaining agreement with the teachers' union continues in effect until the parties successfully negotiate a new agreement," school board chair Tracy Brunette said as part of a larger statement.

"As a result, it is incorrect to state that teachers have been working without a contract. Teachers continue to receive all the pay and benefits in their current contract. Teachers also continue to enjoy all the job security provided under their contract."

Both sides, however, said they were hopeful an agreement can be reached soon. The two sides head back to mediation next Tuesday.

"The School Board and the administration value and respect our hard-working teachers and staff," the opening portion of Burnette's statement read. "We recognize they are essential to the work of educating students and to achieving our mission of igniting a passion for life-long learning.  

"The School Board is fully committed to reaching a timely and mutually agreeable teachers' contract that provides our employees with a fair wage and benefits package, that protects programs and services for our students, and that is fiscally responsible for our community."
 

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