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Willmar School Board to vote on teacher contract Monday

WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board is set to approve a two-year contract for the district's teachers at its meeting Monday.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W.

The board will listen to public comments related to items on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Those who want to comment on issues that are not on Monday's agenda may do so at the end of the meeting.

The agenda includes the teacher contract as well as an update on the administration's progress in developing a budget reduction proposal for the board.

The board will also consider the district's application to participate in the federal Race to the Top program, which must be filed by Wednesday.

The contract for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years includes a 1 percent increase in salary and benefits costs in the first year and a 1.9 percent increase in costs for the second year. The state requires teacher contracts to be settled by Friday.

The salary schedule for teachers will stay the same for both years.

Teachers will still receive small raises as they move to higher steps in the salary schedule based on experience or additional education. However, those raises will not go into effect until mid-year in each year of the contract.

The teachers ratified the tentative agreement in December.

Administrators have been meeting to develop a list of budget cuts for the board to review at its Jan. 25 work session. The budget cuts coming this spring are expected to be at least $1.4 million, possibly more.

In information provided to the board, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard wrote, "This year's reductions will be particularly difficult because the impact will be deep and wide-ranging across the district."

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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