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District counters unions' proposal

Posted: February 23, 2012 - 12:08am

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




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gjones 02/24/12 - 05:55 pm
Clarion Reporter Needs to investigate

What ever happened to the days of investigative reporting. If this is all they Clarion is getting out of their reporter after being at the meeting for six hours, it is time to get a new reporter. As I understand it and it appears, the District PR person basically wrote the article, even looking at his laptop as he wrote it.

There is no mention of issues that were brought up such as the district has over 5 million in unallocated funds (also known as slush fund) for next year and over 9 million in health care reserves. More than enough to cover the teachers proposal.

No mention of Mr. Peterson saying he thinks teachers and support staff should pay $240 per month extra for their spouse and each dependent. He will be the one that controls that fee in the new contract.

Hopefully the Clarion can find a reporter to actually investigate what both sides say and see if their claims are accurate instead of trying to write a story in an hour and not checking on facts.

robert white
robert white 02/25/12 - 08:35 am

Seems NY and Calif are ahead of the curve by focusing on "teacher data reports". This is a rating system by which an educator is rated or how well his or her students perform. What this does is, and the ratings are published in the paper, is show teacher performance and how it plays into pay and tenure. Unions don't like it one bit but they could care less about education. NY times today... Maybe it's about time we give our children what they deserve, a quality education, and quit throwing money at the teachers and hoping for the best.

jlmh 02/25/12 - 08:37 pm
Teacher data reports fair?

I don't know if that's necessarily a good idea. Rate teachers by their students' performance? That is only fair if students' performance is dictated entirely by the quality of their teacher on any given year. It's not. It's a function of past teachers in their lives, parental support and involvement, and innate abilities too. Perhaps a good teacher inherits a set of students from an inexperienced teacher the year before, and their performance is behind from the start. What about special ed teachers, whose students are not as likely to perform as well as most of their peers? What about teachers at schools who practically vet their student populations, such as Aurora Borealis - who technically accepts any applicant drawn in the lottery, but scraps certain functions like bus route and hot lunch, thereby excluding students whose parents can't drive them or who might depend on free-or-reduced-price lunch - thus ending up with a demographic group with higher-income, more involved parents, and therefore better performing students and higher rated teachers? That isn't exactly fair to teachers whose jobs are inherently more challenging.

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