An unusually large number of Minnesota school districts are heading into the end of the year still trying to reach contracts with their teachers unions.
The protracted negotiations are largely driven by conversations about inflation and the rising cost of health care benefits amid an increase in state funding for schools. Unions want major boosts in pay while districts say they need money to cover new state mandates including summer unemployment insurance for hourly workers.
As of Dec. 6, nearly 100 of the state's 330 school districts have settled contracts with their teachers unions, Education Minnesota spokesman Chris Williams said. At this time in 2021, more than 150 had settled. The state's two largest school districts - Anoka-Hennepin and St. Paul - are entering mediation with their teachers unions.