Shakopee School Board Approves New Teacher Contract
January 6, 2020 - The Shakopee School Board approved a new contract for the district’s teachers at its January 6, 2020 meeting.
The past contract with the teachers’ group expired on June 30, 2019, and teachers continued employment based on the expired contract as negotiations for the current contract proceeded.
Negotiators for the Shakopee Education Association (SEA) and the district met beginning in June of 2019. Several challenging factors impacted the negotiations process:
- Insuring the continued economic recovery of the school district
- The desire to keep teacher pay from continuing to fall further behind that of teachers in surrounding districts
- The need to manage the rising cost of health insurance
The SEA and the district continue to use elements of an interest-based bargaining approach in their negotiations. The process begins with recognizing shared values and recognizes the unique assets and liabilities that shape each two-year cycle of negotiations. The two sides worked collaboratively to problem-solve the issues facing them uniquely and collectively in an effort to arrive at an acceptable result for both groups. Several factors contributed to the district’s financial situation and had a significant impact on the settlement:
- Since 2003, state funding to public schools has not kept pace with inflation. This shortfall equals $639 per pupil. In ISD 720, this amounts to a shortfall of approximately $5.4 million per year.
- Compared to the other school district members of the Association of Metro School Districts (AMSD), ISD 720 receives approximately $1100 per pupil less per year in voter approved operating levy revenue, or about $9.3 million less per year.
- Most school districts in Minnesota have been forced to use general fund money to meet the legal mandates of the State and Federal governments in the area of special education. In ISD 720 this shift from the general fund to special education, known as the special education cross subsidy, amounts to $7.5 million per year.
- Similar to the special education cross subsidy, there is also a growing cross subsidy in the area of funding for English Learners (EL). In ISD 720, this EL cross subsidy amounts to $1.4 million per year.
In the first year of the new contract, teachers will receive a 1% increase on the salary schedule, and a 10% increase in health insurance contributions. In the second year, they will receive a 3.25% increase on the salary schedule, and 8% in health insurance contributions.
“The district has made a good-faith effort in this settlement to make sure teacher salaries do not continue to fall behind that of surrounding districts while also helping teachers manage the increasing costs of insurance,” said Shakopee Education Association President Dale Anderson. “Both sides worked diligently to find the balance between adding to the district’s economic challenges and preventing teachers from going backwards financially as a result of those conditions.”
Shakopee Public Schools Superintendent Mike Redmond said he appreciates the effort on both sides to reach an agreement.
“I think the phrase ‘trying to do more with less’ fits our current situation in ISD 720,” said Superintendent Mike Redmond. “I’m very proud of the level of academic services we are providing. However, one very significant challenge for our district is, as compared to many of our neighboring school districts, our teachers are paid less. This makes it more difficult to attract the best and brightest in the field to work in our district, and it also makes teacher retention more difficult. The new teacher contract doesn’t resolve this challenge, but it does keep the gap between teacher pay in our district from growing wider as compared to teacher pay in area school districts.”