More than 100 Minnesota school districts have reached new contract deals with their teachers.
Teacher contracts in Minnesota are approved every other year. State law previously required contracts to be in place by January 15 of every even-numbered year, or districts risked a fine from the state.
That deadline was removed last year. The state's teachers' union Education Minnesota says 104 districts have reached deals for the current budget cycle. Two years ago, 126 districts had deals in place at this time and 148 districts did four years ago.
The union says those numbers prove the deadline helps by giving both sides a due date. Just 77 districts had contracts in place at this time in 2004, the last time there was no deadline.
Opponents argue the penalties are unfairly levied against the school district, which forces them to make deals they otherwise might not.
The state's largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin, is among those that already have a contract in place. Minneapolis and St. Paul do not and both have requested state mediation services.