Dist. 728 teachers thought they had tentative settlement

by Jim Boyle

Elk River Star News


The Elk River Area School District and the Elk River Educations Association reached a tentative contract agreement on April 5.

It unraveled, however, after it was realized there was a disconnect in understanding as to how one of the proposed changes to the salary schedule would work.

Rod Barnes, the director of labor relations and personnel services for the Elk River Area School District, updated the Elk River Area School Board on the matter at its April 14 meeting and called it a setback, noting he would share more details at a closed session of the board to follow the public meeting.

“We’re almost done,” Barnes said after giving the update. “We just have to work through that detail” (related to restructuring of salary schedule).

Barnes gave the update in absence of Superintendent Mark Bezek as part of the superintendent’s report.

The two sides will resume negotiations as early as April 22. The two sides are in mediation with assistance from the Bureau of Mediation Services.

The last session started on April 4 and turned out to be a marathon. Fourteen and 1/2 hours into it, they thought they had a tentative settlement until leaders from the two sides sat down to confer.

Once a tentative agreement is reached, teachers will vote on it. If they approve, it would go to the Elk River Area School Board for ratification.