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Willmar School Board approves teacher contract with 3% salary increase

Willmar's teachers will receive pay raises of about 3% each year of a two-year contract. With other benefit changes, it will equal a 10.5% increase over the two years.

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WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board approved a new contract for the district’s teachers.

The agreement with Education Minnesota — Willmar includes a 10.48% increase in salary and benefits over two years. It covers 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

The total cost of the contract is about $3.25 million over the two years of the contract, said Human Resources Director Liz Windingstad.

The salary increase is about 3% each year. The contract settlement includes changes to the lanes in the salary schedule to equalize the changes from one lane to another.

The salary schedule determines pay in a steps-and-lanes grid. Those who complete post-graduate college credits can move into a new lane with higher pay. Each lane has steps with raises given for years of experience.

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In the previous contract, salary differences between steps were adjusted to make them more even, Windingstad said.

In this contract, the differences between lanes were adjusted. For that reason, raises could vary this year as the adjustments are made, Windingstad said.

Several changes in contract language were made.

The rules on determining seniority in the event of staff layoffs were changed in the contract. Bonuses offered to employees who do not use their personal leave days during a school year were adjusted. The bonuses are paid into employees health savings accounts or retirement accounts.

The equivalent of 364 full-time teachers are employed by the district. Because some teachers are part-time, the number of teachers is higher. It is the largest employee group.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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