by Katie Friedman, Correspondent: At their most recent meeting, Monday, January 8, members of the Maple Lake School Board approved a new master agreement with the Maple Lake Federation of Teachers for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. Approved by MLFT on December 18, the tentative agreement called for a total package increase of 5.9 percent including steps, insurance, new money negotiated into the contract and other factors. Salary schedules A-D will reflect a 1.2 percent increase in new money each year; an increase on career increments from $4,750 in 2016-17 to $5,000 beginning in 2017-18; a 403(b) retirement plan increase to 1.75 percent of salary beginning in 2018-19; unused sick leave of $100 per day over 130 days to $900 per year beginning in 2018-19; personal leave used or paid to employee at substitute teacher rate if unused, to be subtracted from accumulated sick leave; and an increase in the district contribution toward single health insurance by $63.60 per year and toward family health insurance by $169.68 per year, with a 1.99-3.46 percent increase in the second year, depending on the health insurance policy. A new “unrequested leave of absence” provision states that the school board and the teachers’ exclusive bargaining agent must negotiate a plan providing for unrequested leave of absence without pay or fringe benefits for as many teachers as may be necessary due to discontinuance of position, lack of pupils, financial limitations, or merger of classes caused by consolidation of districts. This will apply only to new hires, with current staff to be grandfathered into the former contract’s language. Superintendent Mark Redemske said that as no new dollars have been collected yet on the recently approved referendum, none of that money was factored in to this agreement. “We haven’t received those dollars yet, and we’re not doing anything that would cause us to spend those dollars yet,” he said. “That’s important to note. We’re working strictly with new money we got from the state. We want to utilize the new money we’re getting from the state for this purpose, for new money to staff, and we’ve lived within that.
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