NEW ULM - Board negotiator Susan Nierengarten told the District 88 Board of Education Thursday that no progress has been made in contract negotiations with teachers, and the sides are heading for mediation May 17.
No further meetings with the union have been scheduled before the mediation date.
Mediation is intended to facilitate the sides coming together, she explained. The only possible potential outcome of mediation is an agreed settlement. The mediator would not be making any contract decisions.
If mediation fails, the sides could be heading to arbitration. In arbitration, someone else (the arbitrator) makes decisions.
Superintendent Harold Remme added that scheduling mediation does not necessarily mean another meeting with the union cannot happen before the mediation date.
Retirement incentive for clerical, food service and custodial staff
The board also approved a retirement incentive for clerical, food service and custodial staff, similar to the early retirement incentive for teachers approved earlier this year.
The one-time deal with the union representing clerical, food service and custodial employees allows employees who have worked for the school district for 25 or more years to retire early, helping the district save money on their pay.
In turn, the district would pay 12 months of single health insurance premiums at a rate specified in the union contract.
The dollar amount may be applied to family coverage if the employee so chooses.
The board approved partial contract reductions for five tenured teachers, technically by placing them on an unrequested leave of absence.
Three non-tenured teachers were notified the district would not be renewing their contracts.
Both of these steps are a direct result of current student enrollment and the need to make faculty cuts.
The board posted vacancies to replace two retiring teachers and the school nurse.
The board increased fees for renting school facilities such as classrooms, commons and kitchens, the auditorium and lecture theater.
The new fees will be scheduled on the district's web site.