July 10, 2009

Fact Finding Commission meets with school board, teachers; report pending

Fact Finding Commission meets with school board, teachers; report pending
New Town teachers, school board members and administrators now have to wait until the North Dakota Education Fact Finding Commission comes up with a report on salary impasse.
The fact finding panel of Jerry Hieb, Valley City, Dean Rummel, Dickinson and Chairman Tom Hesford, Bismarck, heard comments from both sides last Thursday in New Town High School, then asked questions of both sides and Rummel told everyone there would be a report and recommendations in seven to 10 days.
Rummel said copies of the report will be sent to New Town School Board President Gary Enno, Supt. Marc Bluestone and longtime New Town teacher Jeri Bratvold. Rummel said adequate copies of the report would be sent to all concerned and he asked Bluestone that one copy, as well, be placed in the school’s library.
“You have to take action within 20 calendar days (from the report’s delivery date) and you have to meet at least once,” Rummel said. “If not, the report will be published with the chairman’s findings about who didn’t agree.”
Rummel cautioned the fact finding report will not be a binding agreement and it can be fine tuned, or it can lapse. He said it would be in the best interest of everyone to come to some sort of a compromise and move on.
“Your district has gone to impasse four of the last six years,” Hesford said. “When you get to impasse, you’re at a point where people aren’t talking anymore. A lot of that is unnecessary.”
At odds are two major items, a $2,500 annual loyalty payment and a 3 percent cost of living increase.
Lead NTEA negotiator Karen Hartman said in her opening statements there are actually six items at issue that include base salary, cost of living increase, substitute teaching pay, salary schedule, school lunches for teachers and extracirricular salary changes.

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