Lawsuit Could Impact Teachers and Future Negotiations - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Lawsuit Could Impact Teachers and Future Negotiations

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It's a landmark case in North Dakota that could impact every teacher in the state and their future negotiations.

The Dickinson Educators Association has filed a civil lawsuit against the Dickinson Public School Board.

Donnell Preskey has the details.

<< Dickinson teachers say they want the flexibility to negotiate their contracts every year.

The Dickinson Educators Association which represents 231 teachers has filed a civil lawsuit against the Dickinson Public School Board over the issue.

"We have had cases before where school districts have unilaterally issued contracts, but not for two years. And we just think it's a huge disadvantage to the teachers," says Michael Geiermann who represents the Dickinson Educators Association.

The School Board in July decided to issue two year contracts for this school year and the next.

Teachers object.

Geiermann says, "as we all know the cost of living is greater, prices are higher. Teachers didn't want to have themselves in a situation where a deal they make this year won't be good next year."

Michael Geiermann represents the Dickinson Educators Association.

He says the increase in living expenses isn't the only concern.

The population of students changes on a daily basis, creating greater challenges and workload for teachers.

DEA is on the record saying they believe the new elementary school has been built on the backs of the staff.

"The biggest complaint the teachers have is they believe the school has the money, they just would rather spend it on buildings," says Geiermann.

While school will start before any decision is made on this case, Geiermann says it will not affect how teachers do their job.

"This action will not disrupt the education at all. The members of the DEA will put education first."

Geiermann says this kind of case is very unusual.

In fact it's been 20 years since anything similar has been filed.>>

The Dickinson School Board is meeting Tuesday night to discuss the pending lawsuit.

Attorney Rachel Bruner-Kaufman says she believes the DEA's claims are "merit less" because teachers knew they were negotiating a two year agreement from the start.

The case is scheduled to be heard in Stark County September 23rd.

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