The two unions that represent the faculty and staff of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District proposed a joint package proposal during negotiations on Monday. The proposal to the district will sunset on Wednesday, which is the next scheduled negotiation.
“(The district) has said they wanted to get this done and over with, this will get it done and over with,” Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association representative Terri Tidwell said to the district negotiation team.
If the district accepts the proposal, negotiations will be finished on Wednesday; if the district does not accept the joint proposal, negotiations will continue.
Kenai Peninsula Education Association representative Joe Rizzo told the district that in the beginning of the negotiation process, the district was hesitant of hiring a mediator, Rizzo said he was not as optimistic.
“We’re giving you an opportunity to let your optimism pay off,” Rizzo told the district negotiation team. “We are handing over to you an extremely reasonable proposition.”
Rizzo said the joint proposal does not ask for a raise, but the unions would like to see a 3.2 percent inflation increase factored into the salary schedule for the 2012-2013 school year. Rizzo said the reason the unions are not asking for a raise is because he has heard from faculty that whatever raise the district gives, that money gets “eaten up” by health care costs.
“We’re sitting here watching our checks get chewed up by inflation and by health care costs, so we’re asking basically for the salary be where it is, except we want the inflation proofing just like the superintendent does,” Rizzo said. “The 3.2 inflation percentage is in the cells, and that is based on the inflation percent that came out in January. We did not do that for the other two years, as far as within the cells because we don’t know what those inflation costs could be or if it will be deflation or what it’s going to be.”
For the health care section of the joint proposal, the district would pay $1,440 per eligible employee per month on a 12-month basis while the employee pays $160 a month for the same time period. According to the district’s original proposal in January, the cost of health care is $1,600 per qualified employee. The joint proposal works out to be a 90 percent/10 percent split of the cost with the district paying the 90 percent. The joint proposal takes out the extra fees for dependent, spouse and family coverage. In the current contract, dependent coverage costs $5 per month (up to four), spouse coverage costs $10 per month and family coverage costs $30 per month.
The district’s proposal in January also called for employees no longer being able to donate sick leave under section 343. The joint proposal keeps the language from the current contract with the exception that provision H would not be included in the new contract. Provision H states “This provision shall sunset at the conclusion of this agreement and will be subject to review for future agreements.”
The joint proposal brought to the table Monday keeps the language in the current contract, which says “employees represented by the bargaining unit shall not be required to join KPEA; however, all employees who choose not to join KPEA shall be required as condition of employment to pay a representation fee to KPEA.”
The fee to join KPEA is $1,152 for full time teachers and the representation fee is $863.
“We’ve got a lot to look at,” KPBSD representative and assistant superintendent Sean Dusek said after the proposals were presented.
The next negotiation session will be Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the 4D building.