They’re known officially as ‘Education Support Profesionals’

    It was a long time coming, but the Crookston School Board on Monday approved two contractual agreements with special education paraprofessionals in the public schools, one retroactive in nature that covers the two school years from 2011 to 2013, and one covering the current school year as well as the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.   

    The retroactive agreement includes an hourly pay increase each school year from $14.54 to $14.93. The wage increase for 2013-14 is to $15.32 an hour, in 2014-15 the pay increases to $15.71, and in 2015-16 the hourly wage increases to $16.38.   

    In addition, the staff members are no longer known as special educaiton paraprofessionals. They are officially known as "Education Support Professionals, Local #7336."   

    Board member and Negotiations Committee Chair Robin Brekken was absent from the meeting, but board chair Frank Fee said he'd spoken to Brekken and he had indicated his support of the two agreements. "I compliment both parties on this one," Fee added. "It's nice to finally get this done."   

    Superintendent Chris Bates said not all negotiations are "friendly, happy and jovial" and that the negotiations that triggered the agreements approved Monday weren't always friendly, happy and jovial, either. "But they hadn't had a contract in a long time and they came to the table with dignity," he said. "We were able to go back and fix two years and add three more as well."