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Letter: Don't delay teacher contracts

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The governor was a no-show at Monday's meeting on education funding, rejected the Republicans' offer of $110 million, and "insists that Republicans find $1.8 billion in new revenue, such as his plan to increase taxes" as reported in Thursday's West Central Tribune. Looming right around the next corner, our Willmar School District is preparing a property tax levy increase for us. It doesn't have to be this way!

I appeared at a recent School Board meeting on behalf of Willmar-StudentsFirst (local citizens committed to excellence in education) urging the School Board to immediately begin negotiating the expiring (June 30) contract with our district teachers instead of waiting until the fall, as is the custom. There is no benefit to business as usual, no benefit to maintaining the status quo.

When the board begins months late and then faces a huge fine if not completed by Jan. 15, you can imagine the lack of effectiveness in negotiating productivity gains, like more teaching time in the classroom or a longer workday.

Someone needs to represent the taxpayers everywhere who are calling for reform to improve educational outcomes at a lower cost. More delay means the School Board is unwilling and walking away from securing contract gains to relieve taxpayers of additional burdens. We are hopeful they will respond and begin contract negotiations now. Let me add that WSF is non-partisan, not affiliated with any political party or organization. We are pro-teacher, pro-student, and pro-taxpayer. Read our blog at http://willmarstudentsfirst.areavoices.com/

Linda Kacher

Willmar

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