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After three meetings, Mandan teachers have reached a tentative agreement with the school district over salary increases.

All Mandan teachers will get a $1,700 bump in pay for the 2019-20 school year, and then an $800 increase, along with increases in pay based on education and experience, for the 2020-21 school year.

Barb Luetzen, lead negotiator for the Mandan Education Association, said there was a good teacher turnout for their third meeting with district representatives Tuesday night, which is when they reached an agreement.

"We're happy," Luetzen said, of the agreement.

Jeff Fastnacht, assistant superintendent of Mandan Public Schools and the district's head negotiator, said the negotiations went well.

"This year we really did work cooperatively to come to an agreement," he said. "We came to a good consensus — something we could both accept."

Teachers and the district negotiate a contract every two years. Last year, in Bismarck, a key sticking point was classroom safety and student violence, which resulted in the formation of a new health and safety committee. The committee now collects data on safety incidents involving teachers.

Luetzen said classroom safety was not a topic that was discussed this year at negotiations, as teachers have already been working with administrators to address any such concerns.

"We're meeting within our school district, and we feel our conversations are going somewhere," Luetzen said.

Luetzen said MEA teachers will vote to ratify the agreement at a meeting on Monday, which will require a majority vote. Fastnacht said he's hopeful the school board will then sign off on the agreement next week.

Meanwhile, teachers in Bismarck prepare for their second negotiations meeting with district officials on Friday. Mike Crouse, a lead negotiator for the Bismarck Education Association, said the groups will exchange proposals on Friday.

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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