The board for Williston Basin School District No. 007 unanimously approved an agreement with teachers for its first two years.

The board and the Williston Education Association negotiated for weeks leading up to Monday’s approval.

The approval came about 10 days before District 7 officially opens, on July 1. The first day of school will be in August. WEA approved the agreement Thursday, June 17.

The 2-year agreement seemed unlikely to materialize a few weeks ago. In early June, the board for District 7 voted 5-2 to continue negotiations.

Notably, the two voices suggesting the district and teachers were at an impasse were board President Christ Jundt and Vice President Kyle Renner, who were also serving as two of the three members of the district’s negotiating team.

After another negotiation session lasting more than two hours on June 14, teachers and the district reached a tentative agreement.

The parties approved a 2-year deal that leaves a reduction in force plan as part of the agreement as well as the pay schedule for extracurricular activities.

Originally, the board resisted including both of those in the negotiated agreement. The reduction in force language, however, is different from what was used before.

While seniority was the main criteria in previous policies, others are included explicitly in the newest agreement.

“When attrition is not sufficient to alleviate the necessity for reduction-in-force, then the process of this district shall be to retain those teachers with the greater adaptability,” one part of the policy reads. “Adaptability includes education; past experience; teacher evaluations; contributions to District (1, 7, and 8) in terms of teaching programs, committee work, and extracurricular activities; subjects taught; variety of grade levels; recommendations of the principals and/or superintendent to meet the present and future staffing and educational needs of the District.”

The salary for a new teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no other experience will be $47,250 for 2021-22 and $47,400 for 22-23. For a teacher with a master’s degree and no other experience, the salary starts at $55,750 for next year, rising to $55,900 the next year.

The highest base salary is $82,240, for teachers with a master’s degree, 24 additional credits of education and 22 years of experience.

Voters in Williston Public School District No. 1 and Williams County School District No. 8 approved a reorganization plan in December. The plan created District 7 out of District 1 and parts of District 8, with other parts being transferred to adjoining school districts.

A meeting for the District 7 board to set initial policies and organize the district is scheduled for Thursday, July 1.

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