Teachers union withdraws support for tentative salary agreement
Grand Forks Education Association says agreement's language provides for increases to base salary, rather than an agreed-upon increase for all salaries.
GRAND FORKS – Following confusion surrounding the language of the Grand Forks Public Schools’ tentative salary agreement for its teachers, the Grand Forks Education Association – a union representing the district’s teachers in contract negotiations – withdrew its support of the agreement.
The decision came during a meeting Monday evening. It was the seventh session of negotiations.
According to Dawn Mord, negotiations chair for the GFEA, the language of the negotiated agreement reads differently from what was agreed upon on May 4.
“I think it was just an error and unintentional, but the proposal said to add 9% to the base salary in year one, and 3% in year two,” Mord said. “The salary schedule that we talked about is actually 9 and 3% per cell. The counteroffer is intended to clarify the intent of the discussion we had on May 4.”
The GFEA presented two counteroffers. Its first proposal would add $5,000 to all salaries in the 2023-24 school year, and $2,500 in 2024-25. Additionally, a graduated career increment incentive would be added to the salaries of teachers with 26 or more years of experience. Teachers with 26-29 years of experience would receive $1,000 annually, those with 30-34 years would receive $2,000, 35-39 years $3,000 and 40 or more $4,000.
Under its second proposal, the GFEA is requesting what it asserts was agreed upon on May 4 – a 9% across-the-board salary increase in year one, and 3% increase in year two. Additionally, teachers with 26 or more years of experience would receive a flat $1,500 annual career increment incentive.
Mord said both proposals would cost the district the same – approximately $7 million.
Amber Flynn, vice president of the School Board, said the district will wait to make a decision regarding the GFEA’s counteroffer until Brandon Baumbach, business manager for the district, has the opportunity to analyze the financial impact of the proposals.
Mord also said she will speak with Baumbach prior to the next round of negotiations at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, to discuss the financial ramifications of the GFEA’s proposals.