Put kids first and come to school labor deal

As the months go on, we continue to see the differences between the Kenai Peninsula School District administration and the two local unions — the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association — drag on.

And on.

These disagreements are a drain on time, money, resources and staff hours. They distract all from what should really be the main priority of district administration, teachers and support staff — the education of our children.

To what end is this all when, at this rate, we will be doing it all again just a few months after a new contract is penned?

Most everything else has been agreed upon, but two main points of contention remain — salary/benefits and health care — read: the usual suspects.

The district is maintaining a fiscally conservative standpoint while the unions are fighting for what every employee should get, a chance for a better wage, benefits and health care.

The unions need to keep in mind that fiscal sustainability is not only what’s best for the district, but also for the students and therefore the unions in the long run. The district isn’t crying wolf when it says state funding is unstable and draws the purse string tight.

The district needs to remember that without competitively-paid teachers, we run the risk of losing the best among them to other parts of the state or Outside. With so many changes in education on the horizon, the district can’t be caught unprepared. Teachers are required to be highly qualified and required to have continuing education to keep up those qualifications, both of which cost out-of-pocket money.

So the logical conclusion is to do what two adults do when faced with an impasse — compromise. It’ll take the district surrendering on some points and the unions doing the same on their holdouts. Get everyone in the same room and iron out a three-year contract, or longer, so we can put this issue in the rearview mirror.

In short: We’d like to see these labor talks end swiftly so that both sides can stop talking about their jobs and start doing them. That’s best for the students and that should be everyone’s priority.

More

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more

Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

Read more