Teachers in over 200 Minnesota school districts are currently working without contracts, according to the Star Tribune, a significant jump from two years ago. The problem should only increase now that the 2011 legislature has dropped the financial penalty for distracts that fail to reach contract agreements with teachers by January 15. In 2010, Minneapolis had to pay nearly $800,000 in penalties because it missed the January 15 deadline.
Only 100 of Minnesota’s 331 districts have agreed to contracts with teachers so far, compared with 126 districts at this point in the 2009-11 contract cycle (though many more settled within a few weeks of the deadline). Many of the unions that have settled with their districts have accepted nominal (1% or less) or no cost of living increases, as they have for the past three years, to accommodate their districts’ pleas of poverty.