The Redwood Area Board of Education and Education Minnesota - Redwood Falls have ratified a new two-year agreement that includes a 6.22 percent total increase through the 2018-19 school year.

The school board discussed the final parameters of the master agreement at its meeting Aug. 28 and then unanimously approved it by roll call on a 5-0 vote, with members Tim Joyce and Tony Miller abstaining.

The decision by the board came after the teachers union ratified the collective bargaining agreement, with 84 in favor and eight voting “no.”

According to school board negotiations committee members Jim Buckley, Jim Boots and Darin Prescott, the negotiations went very smoothly between the two entities.

Three meetings were held between the two groups before the tentative agreement was reached and was sent on to the teachers for the ratification vote. 

Under the agreement, all of the full-time teachers in the district will receive a $2,000 increase across the board in the first year of the agreement (2017-18) with a 2.5 percent increase in year two.

The base salary for a teacher with a bachelors degree will increase from $38,000 to $40,000 in the first year and to $40,500 in the second year.

In total, the salary increase goes from the current amount, with benefits of $5,878,759 to $6,102,003 for 2017-18 and to $6,251,798 for 2018-19.

One of the other big changes in the agreement is a move that allows the school board to increase the compensation rate for certain teaching positions in the district as a way to retain those people. Buckley said trends show there are certain teaching roles that are getting harder and harder to fill, and so this would allow the district to provide additional compensation to try and keep those educators.

Prescott added the decision to increase compensation would be done on a case by case basis, as it is a moving target and could change from one year to the next based on what teaching positions are in demand.

What this does, said Boots, is it gives the board flexibility, and, he added, it could provide incentives for teachers to enhance their own value by earning additional licenses.

“This is new ground for us,” said Buckley, adding he sees this as a good opportunity for the district to keep the people it currently has in place.

The option would be available for those already employed by the district.

In addition to approving the agreement for the teachers union, the board approved new agreements with the following groups:

• The maintenance staff, with a compensation increase of $1,355 for 2017-18 and $1,300 for 2018-19.

• The paraprofessional staff, with a flat rate increase of 45 cents per hour for 2017-18 and a 3 percent per hour increase for 2018-19 for all of the paras employed in the district in 2017-18.

• The 10 - and 11-month secretarial staff, with a 60 cents per hour flat rate increase for 2017-18 and a 3 percent increase for 2018-19.

• The 12-month secretarial and clerical staff, with a 60 cents per hour increase for the first year and a 3.15 percent increase in the second year.

The board also approved hourly rate agreements with those working under the Title VI federal funding, Minnesota Indian Education funding and Lower Sioux gift funds, including Ruth Good Thunder, under a 200 day contract at a rate of $18.61 in year one and $19.17 in year two; Jackie Probst, under a 200 day contract at a rate of $23.21 for 2017-18 and $23.91 for 2018-19; Pete Nez under an 184 day contract at a rate of $22.13 in the first year and $22.79 in the second year; Holly Schmidt under a 200 day contract with a rate of $18.25 for 2017-18 and $18.80 for 2018-19 and Dorothy Neis under a 200 day contract at a rate of $16.55 for the first year and $17.05 in the second year.

School staff who have “other employment” status had their agreements approved, including:

• Jim Scoates, audio /visual tech/media center, at a salary of $29,733 in year one and $30,670 in year two.

• Todd Holte, technology technician, at a salary of $42,043 for the first year and $43,367 in the second year.

• Ida Gatfield, Early Childhood Cardinal Kids Club coordinator, at a salary of $38,000 for 2017-18 and $40,000 for 2018-19.

• Tami Riley, Redwood Area Education Foundation executive director, at a salary of $14,000 for year one and $14,441 for year two.

• Anna Thomas, school nurse assistant, at a rate of $20.50 per hour for the first year and $21.12 per hour for the second year.

• Cindy Swierenga, mental health - special education, at a salary of $62,370 for 2017-18 and $64,283 for 2018-19

• Andrea Iverson, student accountability advocate, at a rate of $52,607 for 2018-19. (Iverson’s 2017-18 salary was negotiated upon hire for the 2017-18 school year.)

• Jenn Kuehn, SACC coordinator at a stipend of $8,858 for year one and $9,124 for year two.

Agreements with administrators and directors were also approved. They include:

• Darcy Josephson, director of teaching and learning, at a salary of $92,760 for the first year and $95,218 for year two.

• Paul van der Hagen, Reede Gray school principal, at a salary of $86,575 for 2017-18 and $88,869 for 2018-19.

• Amanda Pederson, RVMS principal, at a salary of $85,000 for the first year and $87,253 in the second year.

• Rick Jorgensen, RVHS principal, at a salary of $89,575 for 2017-18 and $91,949 for 2018-19.

• Scott Becker, director of buildings and grounds, at a salary of $60,000 for year one and $61,800 for year two.

• Steven Lien, technology coordinator, at a salary of $64,000 for the first year and $66,016 for the second year.

• Scott LeSage, finance director, at a salary of $86,000 for year one and $88,729 in year two.

• Andy Ourada, activities/community education director, at a salary of $75,00 for 2017-18 and $76,988 for 2018-19.

Agreements approved for the Cardinal Kids Club, Early Childhood and SACC assistants included a 3 percent increase per hour for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Agreements approved for the Early Childhood teaching staff included 3 percent increases for 2017-18 and 20180-19.