Teachers and Coeur d'Alene SD work towards deal - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Teachers and Coeur d'Alene SD work towards deal

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - With the first day of school set for next week, teachers in Coeur d'Alene have not yet agreed with the school district on benefits and wages for the year.

The teachers say they are taking all the cuts, but the district argues rising costs in areas like health care are forcing their hands. Even if no deal is reached by next week, school will start as planned.

"In the big scheme, school is going to happen," said Derek Kohles from the Coeur d'Alene Education Association. The only difference if no deal is reached by next week is a mediator will be hired to help the two parties negotiate.

"So there will be a contract at some point. There is a little bit of anxiety because there isn't one now," Kohles said.

Teachers are asking for a 0.9 percent increase to the salary base, however the school board traditionally offers salary increases based on years of experience.

Adding to the tension is health care costs, which increased by $500,000. The teachers are asking the school district to pay the cost, while the school board is hoping the teachers will help take on the burden through higher co-payments.

Even though a mediator has not been determined and there is no timeline for negotiations, both sides are confident an agreement will be met in the coming weeks.

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