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Mediation leads to new tentative agreement between teachers union, South Washington County Schools

South Washington County Schools has a tentative contract agreement with its teachers union.

The tentative deal was reached through mediation Monday and will require a vote by the United Teachers of South Washington County and the District 833 School Board.

The district and union reached an agreement, but the proposed contract’s contents are not public at this time, district Communications Director Barb Brown said.

Union president Marty Fridgen said they won’t discuss the agreement until members receive the information first. She hoped to get information to union members by the end of the week.

This is the second tentative agreement in the ongoing contract negotiations. Teachers rejected the first proposed deal 55-45 percent. Union and district negotiators agreed to the July 25 mediation after that tentative agreement was voted down.

Brown said it is anticipated a union vote on the new tentative agreement will be held when teachers return the last week in August. A school board vote would follow a successful vote by the union.

Teachers’ last contract expired in June 2015. Negotiations on a new contract for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years were delayed until after last November’s school referendum. Fifteen negotiation sessions have been held.

Teacher pay and a contract provision called the “transfer article” that outlines how open teaching positions are filled were key issues in negotiations prior to mediation.

Mediation was held through the state Bureau of Mediation Services. There is no cost to the district or union for the state-appointed mediator.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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