Vote is unanimous; school board set to vote July 22.

Crookston School Board member Tim Dufault, head of the board’s Negotiations Committee, tells the Times he’s confident the board on Monday, July 22 will follow in the Crookston Education Association’s footsteps and approve the new three-year contract tentatively agreed to by the board and teachers’ bargaining unit last week.

“I haven’t talked with all of the board members yet, but I’m very optimistic that the board will approve the contract on Monday,” Dufault says.

The full CEA membership on Wednesday unanimously ratified the new contract, which will be in effect until June 30, 2021. Sara Geist, the CEA’s chief negotiator, echoed what Dufault described last week as negotiations that were different in tone than typical negotiations. He said the negotiations climate was more positive than it normally is, with board negotiators and teachers identifying things both wanted to do to make the school district better and how they’d work together to make positive changes.

“This round of negotiations might be described as ‘sitting at the same table’ rather than ‘sitting across the table,’” Geist says. “We have a common goal and that is to provide outstanding education, opportunities and services for our students and families.”

“The negotiations were different this time,” Dufault adds. “The discussions were productive and everyone was very amicable. While much of the negotiations is about teacher compensation, we also dug into a lot of ideas about improving the education our students receive.”

The CEA’s previous contract expired on June 30.

Since the board has yet to vote on the contract, Geist and Dufault declined to discuss specific terms of the new accord.