FARGO — While the Fargo School Board and local teachers union are at a stalemate over a new contract and pay issues, the board unanimously decided Tuesday, Jan. 14, that they should keep their own pay the same.
Board member compensation was set at $750 per month in 2004 and raised to $1,000 per month in 2009.
With the vote, it will remain at that $1,000 figure for the coming year.
In 2016, the board approved and then rescinded an increase. In 2018 and 2019, the board reaffirmed the $1,000 per month compensation.
The only discussion on the issue at the board meeting was from board member John Rodenbiker, who talked extensively about the responsibilities of board members, including the 22 official board meetings per year, two daylong work sessions and numerous committee meetings. He also noted the preparation needed to keep up with issues facing the board.
Meanwhile, the board and teachers are waiting for a report from the three-member North Dakota Education Factfinding Commission which held a Jan. 8 hearing about a new teacher contract. The commission heard from current and former teachers who painted a dismal picture of district morale.
It's expected the report could be released later this week or next week, said David Marquardt, who works for North Dakota United representing educators and other public workers in the state.
He said the board and teachers union negotiators, who represent about 900 staff in Fargo, would then be required to meet once or more within the 20 days after the release of the report.
Rodenbiker, chief negotiator for the school board, told the fact-finding commission last week that from the very beginning of the monthslong negotiations the board intended to put every dollar it could into its salary offer. He said that remained true even after the board learned the district would receive less revenue from the state than it initially thought.