Fargo teachers to vote on contract
Fargo teachers will vote on a contract agreement at their union meeting in mid-May. The Fargo Education Association will not endorse nor oppose the terms laid out in the two-year contract. "We're to the point where we need to take it to all of ou...
Fargo teachers will vote on a contract agreement at their union meeting in mid-May.
The Fargo Education Association will not endorse nor oppose the terms laid out in the two-year contract.
"We're to the point where we need to take it to all of our members," said Eric Henrickson, FEA president.
FEA and Fargo School Board negotiators agree on most terms of the contract, but not salary.
The union's 730 members will consider the School Board's proposal, which adds $800 a year to the base salary used to determine teachers' salaries. The average salary would be $46,685. A first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree would make $30,575.
The average increase would be about 4.3 percent the first year and 4.1 percent the second year, according to Dan Huffman, business manager for the Fargo School District. Increases for individual teachers could range between 3 percent and 8 percent a year depending where they fall in the salary schedule.
Total cost to the district would be about $3.2 million, with about $300,000 set aside for volunteer professional development days.
The union wanted board members to add $1,000 to the base salary in the first year of the contract. That would cost the district about $300,000 more for a total of $3.5 million.
The district is spending millions of dollars on buildings and has a healthy fund balance, FEA negotiators said as support for an increase.
"Is there any wiggle room (on your side)?" asked Lee Myxter, an FEA negotiator.
When School Board negotiators said no, the union representatives said they'd present the proposal to the entire membership.
The contract proposal is for 190 days per year and allows teachers to be paid their daily rate for up to two voluntary days of approved professional development per year.
Fargo teachers are now paid $100 a day for district-approved experiences that occur outside contract terms. Both sides agree teachers should be paid their regular rate - an average of $250 a day - for the extra work.
The FEA will vote on the proposal May 16.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534