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Teachers contract settled in Park Rapids

Park Rapids teachers and school board members have reached an agreement for the 2009-11 Education Minnesota contract, ahead of the Jan. 15 deadline.

Board chair Sherry Safratowich announced the agreement at Monday night's board meeting.

The board agreed to a 1/4 percent increase for 2009-10, for both steps and lanes and a 3/4 percent increase for 2010-11, with no steps, lanes only. The agreement also included minor language changes.

"With the Jan. 15 date looming, a lot of schools, some that obviously haven't settled yet, were looking at some pretty severe penalties," said Superintendent Glenn Chiodo. "This avoids that for us. The penalty wouldn't have done any good for anybody.

"It would have been additional costs that would have had to been absorbed someplace. So, the whole idea that we were able to finalize that before Jan. 15 was good, again for both sides."

He added that it has been a difficult time for everyone in the community and the schools.

Board member Gary Gauldin said he thanks the negotiating team and Education Minnesota for staying with the negotiations.

"Things are tough," he said. "I think both parties did a good job of reaching a consensus."