Williston teachers, school board meet this week to begin negotiations

WILLISTON, ND (KUMV) – Negotiations are set to begin this week between the Williston School District and its teachers.

The school board and the Williston Education Association will soon return to the salary table to discuss contract terms for the next two school years. They managed to reach an agreement in 2021 and avoid deadlock. It is hoped that the negotiations will go much better this time.

A change in lead negotiators, concerns about a bad deal and a recent decision to resume talks were just some of the issues the two sides faced last time they met. Today, they say they have one goal: to attract and retain teachers amid a national teacher shortage.

“The school board looks forward to working with the Williston Education Association to develop a negotiated agreement with each association that will promote employee retention and enhance our recruitment efforts to fill open positions throughout the district,” said the chairman. Board member Chris Jundt said in a statement. .

“Teaching is not an easy job in today’s society, there is a shortage of teachers not only in Williston, but across the country. We believe we have a unique opportunity to work with the board to create a salary and benefits package that differentiates Williston from others in the state,” Williston Education Association Lead Negotiator Matt Liebel said in a statement.

However, reaching an agreement is easier said than done. On July 11, the school board authorized attorney Seth Thompson to negotiate with the Vogel Law Firm. Jundt said this was necessary for smoother negotiations.

“I personally am looking for a much smoother negotiation cycle than the last one, and I think this is the best way to achieve this,” Jundt said at the meeting.

The association released a statement a day later regretting the decision. For now, Liebel said he is cautiously optimistic about the negotiations.

“WEA is willing to work with everyone at the table, and we hope we can have positive conversations that will guide us toward the future of the Williston school district,” Liebel said in a statement.

The two sides will meet to set ground rules on Wednesday at 6 p.m

Jundt and board member Chris Walstad will join Thompson to represent the board. Libel will be with teachers Amanda Moe and Heath Glenn to represent the association.

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