August 21, 2009

Lewis and Clark board, teachers wait for Fact Finding report

Lewis and Clark board, teachers wait for Fact Finding report
Little was settled during a 2 1/2-hour impasse hearing in Berthold Thursday between the Lewis and Clark School Board and the Lewis and Clark Education Association.
The North Dakota Fact Finding Commission was brought in to hopefully get both parties to compromise on a contract deal. However, when the smoke cleared, it was Fact Finding Commission Chairman Tom Hesford who said his group will collectively decide what is best for the Lewis and Clark School District, which has schools in Berthold, Makoti, Ryder and Plaza.
“We’re not looking for winners or losers, we’re trying to find solution to this impasse,” Hesford said. “Disagreements like this will occur between reasonable people and we have reasonable people in this room.”
At odds are salary compensation, continuing education, contract length, insurance benefits, professional membership and/or development, reduction in force and a grievance policy.
Hesford said in most cases, it all boils down to money; essentially salary and benefits as most other items are usually compromised for the good of the school district. For Lewis and Clark, he believes the same to be true, but there is a gap of aproximately $250,000 that he wished was closer.
“I don’t believe your bottom line is your bottom line,” Hesford said. “Every time I’ve negotiated, I’ve always had a bottom line and it seems like you reached it quickly.”
School board negotiator Mike Lautenschlager opened the hearing by stating the board made four proposals and all four were rejected based on overall cost. He said last year the teachers base was raised $4,000, which theoretically should have justified a more modest increase for this contract.

The Weather Network