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The Blaine County School District and Blaine County Education Association reached a tentative consensus on updating the district’s master agreement last week, after weeks of at-times tense negotiations.

Changes to the districtwide 2021-22 agreement, which acts as the overarching annual labor contract, were formally approved by the district’s board of trustees in a unanimous vote Tuesday evening. At press time, the changes had not yet been formally ratified by the Education Association, which acts as the district’s teachers’ union. A vote was scheduled for Thursday.

“We are appreciative of all the BCEA members, district staff and board members who worked to reach this agreement,” Superintendent Fritz Peters said in a statement. “We look forward to taking the next step in the process.”

Conditions of the tentative 2021-22 agreement include the district’s paying for increases in insurance costs for employees and making a one-time payment of $750 to each certified staff member.

Negotiations took place over the course of six sessions, beginning in late April and concluding on Thursday, May 27. The negotiations were briefly delayed by the postponement of the two final sessions, initially scheduled to take place on May 13 and 19.

If members of the Blaine County Education Association vote to ratify the master agreement, it will be signed by BCEA President John Thomas and board of trustees Chairman Keith Roark. The agreement will then be posted to the district’s website for the public to view.

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

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