From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Alejandra Matos, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Anoka-Hennepin and its teachers back at the bargaining table tonight

Posted by: Shannon Prather Updated: March 31, 2014 - 10:17 AM

The Anoka-Hennepin School District and its teachers union will head back to the bargaining table Monday night for an 18th meeting aimed at reaching a new two-year contract. 

The two sides met for six hours on Thursday night but couldn’t reach a deal. They disagree on pay and health-care benefits.

The district negotiations team requested the Monday bargaining session. It will be held at the offices of the state Bureau of Mediation Services.

Anoka-Hennepin is the last large Minnesota district still at the negotiating table. The contract would cover the two-year period from July 2013 through June 2015.

The district has offered raises and $1,000 one-time bonuses. Senior teachers, who make up 60 percent of the faculty, would receive raises of 1.5 percent the first year and 2 percent the second year. Less experienced teachers would receive 0 percent the first year and 1.5 percent the second.

Representatives of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota, the union representing 2,800 teachers, said they wanted the $1,000 to be in the form of two $500 raises vs. one-time bonuses.

“We don’t have any details about the district’s new proposal may be, but we are looking forward to learning about it and working toward an affordable settlement that is good for our members and our students,” said Julie Blaha, president of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota.

Anoka-Hennepin salaries range from $37,000 for new teachers to $80,000 for those with more than two decades of experience and advanced degrees. The average Anoka-Hennepin teacher salary in 2012-13 was $62,300, the eighth-highest in the state. The St. Paul School District topped the list at more than $67,000 while neighboring Centennial was around $56,000.

The teachers union set an April 17 strike authorization vote after talks deteriorated earlier this month. If the vote passed, it would authorize their leaders to call a strike.

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