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Mediation Makes Progress With Language

The Wolf Point Education Association and Wolf Point School District made positive progress in language proposals during the mediation meeting held on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

The sides agreed on pay for concession workers, ticket sellers and ticker takers for individuals who aren’t already receiving pay through an extra-duty contract.

An agreement appeared to be made regarding longevity pay for teachers with 15 or more years of service in Wolf Point.

The school district agreed to drop a proposal that dealt with the handling of nontenure teachers. The school district wanted the ability to nonrenew the employment of a nontenure teacher at the conclusion of the school fiscal year with or without cause.

Proposals that the teachers’ union dropped included having allowing teachers to have leave for local association business and increasing the amount of pay for when a teacher prepares for a change of assignment.

After the school district stated that it wasn’t interested in increasing the amount of compensation for teachers substituting in another teacher’s classroom, the teachers’ union stopped pursuing the matter for this contract.

The two sides agreed to have representatives meet to reach an agreement regarding recognition of experience and additional preparation.

The parties remain apart as far as a salary increase. The school district offered a salary schedule that would move the base salary to step three of the schedule and have raises at 3 percent for year one of the contract, 2 percent for year two and 1 percent for year three. The school district also offered a $4,000 recruitment and retention payment for each teacher this school year.

Under the proposal, the base salary would increase to $38,072 for 2022-2023, $38,834 for 2023-2024 and $39,221 for 2024-2025.

The counterproposal from the teachers’ union was an increase of 7 percent for year one, 3 percent for year two and 3 percent for year three.

It was mentioned that a fact finder from the Montana Department of Labor could requested to reach a decision regarding the salary schedule at some point.

The next mediation meeting is planned for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 21.

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