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House approves new teacher negotiation guidelines

The House has approved a bill that puts some time limits on teacher negotiations.

The bill says by July first – unless agreed to be the teachers and the school board – negotiations must be completed. If no agreement is reached, the parties go to impasse.

Supporters of the bill argued in committee that one side or the other often used delaying tactics in negotiation strategy.

"The process will allow local school districts to offer contracts sooner, and will provide districts with a better understanding of personnel needs, and, more importantly, will have the time to adequately fill any vacancies," said Rep. Pat Heinert (R-Bismarck). "This process will create respect and trust for teachers and school boards."

But Rep. Ron Guggisberg (D-Fargo)  said this bill is unnecessary. He said the issue of “delayed negotiations” is not a widespread problem.

"The only thing that solves negotiation issues is trust, empathy and leadership," Guggisberg said. "Let's keep the onus of negotiations on our school boards and teachers, and encourage leadership, not regulation."

The bill – SB 2215 – passed 63 to 29. It now goes to Gov. Doug Burgum.

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