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Brainerd teachers, school district, reach contract settlement

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Just a couple weeks before Brainerd School District voters headed to the polls to vote on referendum questions, the district and its teachers’ union reached a contract settlement in late October.

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The contract, which went into effect retroactively July 1, called for no wage increases for the 2011-12 school year and a 2 percent salary increase for the 2012-13 school year. The contract also includes steps and lanes increases.

Before 2012, there hadn’t been any increases to the salary schedule for teachers for three consecutive years.

The agreement also included a reduction in health insurance benefits by increasing both the annual deductible and the out-of-pocket maximum paid for each employee, as well as increasing the co-payments for prescription drugs.

This reduction will shift about $350,000 of annual medical insurance costs from the school district to its employees, according to Steve Lund, director of business services.

Negotiations were relatively quick when compared to the previous one, which took 14 months, including several rounds of mediation to settle the 2009-11 teachers’ contract. The district forfeited about $200,000 in state aid for not settling by the Jan. 15, 2011, state deadline. This deadline has since been repealed by lawmakers.

JODIE TWEED may be reached at jodie.tweed@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5858.

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Jodie Tweed
Jodie Tweed has been a staff writer at the Brainerd Dispatch since May 1997, primarily covering education and writing human interest stories. She also took over as HealthWatch editor in the spring of 2010. A graduate of Pequot Lakes High School, she received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications at Bemidji State University and her master’s degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University. She previously worked as news director at KLKS Radio in Breezy Point and was a media consultant at a Twin Cities public relations firm. She also worked as a staff assistant for the former “Nashville Now” television show on The Nashville Network while attending college in Nashville. She and her husband, Nels, have three daughters, Erika, 17, Madeline, 2, and Beatrice, who was born in April 2011.
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