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School districts going into impasse over teacher contracts

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ND United
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At least four North Dakota school districts have gone to impasse in their contract negotiations with teachers.

And a member of the fact finding commission – which is called in when an impasse is declared – says there will probably be more districts reaching that point.

North Dakota United is the union representing teachers. President Nick Archuleta said he agrees with the fact finding commission chairman. He said it’s due to the state’s tight budget situation.

"It's not as bad as it was for higher education or some of the state agencies," Archuleta said. "We saw some of those groups getting 15 to 20 percent cuts to their budgets."

Archuleta said thanks to the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund, the 2017 Legislature was able to hold funding for schools even for the next two years, sparing local schools from the same cuts most other state agencies have had to make.

"My organization -- ND United -- helped to pass Measure 2 on the November, 2016 ballot," Archuleta said. "That freed up about $300 million for K-12 education. The Legislature wisely used about $295 million. And that's why you're not seeing those huge cuts."

But Archuleta said schools really aren't making gains, either.

"The $9646 perpupil is frozen for the next two years," Archuleta said. "That leaves some districts with very limited resources."

Archuleta said some districts will get more money, due to increased enrollment. And he said some of those districts have reached agreement with their teachers.

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