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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 28 2013

West Fargo School Board approves two-year teacher contract

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo School Board voted 6-0 at a special meeting Wednesday to approve a two-year contract with its teachers union.

The contract calls for a 3.06 percent increase in salary and benefits for the 2013-14 school year, and a 6.26 percent increase for the 2014-15 school year, documents show.

The district will pay $45.5 million in salary and benefits in 2013-14, up $1.3 million from the 2012-13 school year.

In the 2014-15 school year, the district will pay $48.4 million in salary and benefits, up $2.8 million from 2013-14.

Board President Kay Kiefer said it was a good contract for both sides.

“We (the board) did go slightly beyond what we felt we wanted to, but we felt that was necessary. And in the end, I think it was the right decision,” Kiefer said. “We have great buildings, but we want to have great teachers in those buildings as well.”

As part of the benefits package, the School Board agreed to continue to pay the teachers’ half of the annual contribution to the Teachers Fund For Retirement: 9.75 percent of a teacher’s salary in the first year of the contract, and 11.75 percent of a teacher’s salary in the second year.

In 2013-14, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree fresh out of college will be paid $36,971 a year if the TFFR payment is included in the calculation. A teacher with a master’s degree plus 30 credits and 30 years in the district would earn $77,414 with TFFR included, Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

In 2014-15, a new teacher would earn $37,808 a year with TFFR in the calculation, while the top-of-the- pay-scale teacher will earn $80,429 with TFFR included, Lemer said.

Teachers will now receive 12 days of six leave annually, an increase of two days. They can accumulate up to 120 days of sick leave, the agreement states.

At retirement, eligible teachers can cash in up to 45 days of unused sick pay at $100 per day.

Board member Angela Korsmo was not present.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583