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Pequot Lakes: School district begins discussing negotiations

On Monday, Feb. 16, the Pequot Lakes School Board negotiating team met with the district teachers union - not to negotiate their contracts yet, but to discuss their plans for upcoming teacher contract negotiations.

On Monday, Feb. 16, the Pequot Lakes School Board negotiating team met with the district teachers union - not to negotiate their contracts yet, but to discuss their plans for upcoming teacher contract negotiations.

Individuals from both sides spent roughly 80 minutes discussing what should happen during negotiations in what superintendent Chris Lindholm described as a positive interaction.

"We walked away with three main talking points," Lindholm said. "We scheduled an initial slate of meetings for negotiations. We spent some time discussing the district-wide culture we wish to create, which we did in mixed groups and not in a 'us vs. you' conversation. Thirdly, we discussed norms for the negotiations process that would help facilitate creating that culture. It was a very healthy and positive meeting."

Negotiations will begin Monday, April 13.

The district's previous contract negotiations - which began in July 2013 - lasted 15 months, with a deal being finalized in October 2014 that saw teachers' 26-step schedule for pay increases condensed into 15 steps, with more equity between each step's increase. It also adjusted teachers' pay increases year-to-year.

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The changes made to the teacher contracts retroactively applied to the 15 months of negotiations and will need to be readjusted by July of this year.

On Monday, Feb. 23, the board will hold another retreat, which will serve as a followup to their retreat held in January, in which they discussed ways to develop as a team and make sure they are doing the best work they can for the school district.

The meeting is at the Breezy Point Resort Convention Center at 6 p.m.

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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