What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

Minneapolis teachers positioned for 2 percent annual raises

Posted by: Steve Brandt under Politics and government, Public records Updated: March 4, 2014 - 7:37 PM

Minneapolis teachers would earn at least 2 percent increases for this year and next under a proposed labor deal that has yet to be acted on by either side.

"It's pretty much what the board was comfortable with," said Rebecca Gagnon, who chairs the school board's finance committee.

Those increases represent salary scale adjustments, before any additional money a teacher would earn from moving up the pay scale for additional experience or education.  The district negotiated cutbacks in the rate at which a teacher gains those increases in the current contract.

That pay raise would be the first general increase in the cost of living granted to teachers in at least four years. However, many teachers saw their pay increase by $3,090 in the last contract in exchange for increasing the length of the school year by four days and the non-teaching part of their school day by 15 minutes.

The size of the salary hike is the only concrete detail to emerge since a tentative agreement was announced Saturday night. The district said Tuesday it doesn't plan to release terms until at least after the board considers the deal in private next Tuesday, and then only if it finds the deal satisfactory. In contrast, the St. Paul district and its teacher union released a summary of highlights three days after reaching a deal. That two-year contract included a general increases of 2.25 percent and 2 percent.

The Minneapolis board doesn't expect to vote on the proposal until sometime in April, after a teacher vote the district said it expects to be held during the first week of April after spring break. That couldn't be confirmed with the teacher federation immediately.

The size of the raises was disclosed, perhaps inadvertently, when a member of a board committee sought assurance that they would fit within next year's proposed $541 million budget.

Minneapolis teachers are paid an average salary of $65,224 this school year, according to data posted by the Minnesota Department of Education. That's third highest in the state, behind St. Paul's $65,840 and $67,848 in the Rosemount district. A district's average is affected not only by its salary scale, but also by the relative level of experience and education of its teaching staff.

The current Minneapolis pay scale starts a teacher with a bachelor degree and no teaching experience at $39,147, and tops out at just under $98,000, a level that few teachers reach.

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