by Dennis Dalman
The teachers in the Sartell-St. Stephen School District now have a new two-year contract, which was approved unanimously by the school board at its Sept. 16 meeting.
The teachers have already agreed to accept the contract.
Salaries for this school year (2013-14) will increase about 2 percent, and for the next year they will increase about 3 percent.
A beginning teacher with a bachelor’s degree will make an average of $33,800 the first year and $35,000 in the second year. A teacher at the highest level with a master’s degree and 20 years of teaching experience will make about $69,200 in the first year of the contract and $71,500 the second year of the contract.
There are 250 teachers in the school district. The total salary costs, with lane-change increases and extracurricular-activities costs added, will be $13.610 million in the current school year, an increase of $658,000 over the past school year. For 2014-15, the costs will be $14.937 million or a $661,000 increase over this year’s costs.
The teachers’ salaries, when a variety of benefits is included, will cost the district an additional $1.7 million over the two-year life of the contract. Benefits include such items as health care, life insurance and retirement-investment matches.
Total teacher-related costs, including salaries and benefits, will total $19.957 million, an increase of $936,000 from last year. For the next year, the total cost will be $20.780 million, an increase of $822,000 from this year. Those totals equal about a 4.9-percent increase in the first year of the contract and a 4.1-percent increase in the second contract year.
Teachers will work an average of 182 days in this school year and next, just as they did in the past year.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.