District counters unions' proposal

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District did not accept the joint Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal package from the two unions that represent the district’s teachers and staff introduced during Monday’s negotiation session. The district introduced a number of counter proposals Wednesday for the unions’ consideration.

 

The two unions are the Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association and Kenai Peninsula Education Association.

KPBSD representative and assistant superintendent Sean Dusek said the district countered Monday’s proposal because it is difficult to project the cost of the proposal after the first year it goes into effect, and because the proposal would cause negative effects on the district’s employees and students. Dusek said the proposal package called for a $2 million more in the employee salary portion of the FY13 budget than what’s been budgeted to account for a 3.2-percent increase for a cost of living adjustment in the first year.

“Our first year estimated cost above and beyond we believe would be $2 million and the other problem we have here is we can not reasonably project the next two years after that,” Dusek said. “The ramifications for that $2 million above and beyond, we believe, will impact work conditions negatively for all employees and students.”

The district’s counterproposal kept donations of sick leave in the contract for the next proposed agreement — in the current agreement, the provision regarding donations of sick leave expires at the end of the agreement, which is June 30.

“The only things we have that might be different is that the leave shall not exceed 10 days instead of 20, and the other thing is that we (left) in there that it shall sunset at the end of the agreement,” Dusek explained.

For health care costs, the district’s counterproposal states it will contribute $1,312 for FY13 and FY14 then increase that number to $1,444 for FY15. The district’s estimate of health care costs for each qualified employee is $1,600. In the current agreement, qualified employees pay $340 per month while the district pays $1,115. Under the district’s proposal made Wednesday, employees would be required to pay $288 for FY13 and FY14, and $316 in FY15.

The unions previously proposed a 90-10 percent split of the $1,600 the district estimates is the cost of health care for each qualified employee. Based on district and union calculations, the increase in health care costs to the district would be $2.783 million to cover all district employees under the unions’ Monday proposal.

“Most of the money that’s in this proposal, that would cost the district, is health care,” Kenai Peninsula Education Association representative Joe Rizzo said.

Dusek pointed to the cost of living adjustment as a big increase to the budget.

“The cost of living adjustment and steps, those are costs, and those are increases,” Dusek said.

Steps in the salary schedule refer to the number of years a teacher has been with the district. A step is taken after each year the teacher is with the district.

The salary schedule also includes lanes, which indicate a teacher’s education experience. For example, if a teacher came into the district with a bachelor’s degree, and the next year obtains a master’s degree, they would move one lane to the right.

The unions did not accept the district’s counter proposals during the negotiation session on Wednesday, and can only do so at the next session, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 1 at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Risk Management building.

 

Logan Tuttle can be reached at logan.tuttle@peninsulaclarion.com.

 

 

 

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