Denali Borough teachers' union files complaint

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The union representing teachers in the Denali Borough School District has filed an unfair labor practices complaint.

The union says the district failed to bargain in good faith when it negotiated a three-year contract.

''We just want our original contract honored,'' said Stephen Castor, president of the Denali Education teachers' union.

At issue is a clause allowing the district to reopen negotiations on salaries at the end of the last school year, the first year of the pact.

Superintendent Bob Whicker said the contract doesn't specify a reason for reopening.

But Castor said notes from bargaining show both sides agreed the reopener would come only if enrollment fell.

In May, the district was projecting an enrollment drop, Castor said, and reopened negotiations, which froze teacher salaries at 2001-2002 levels. But that projection wasn't right.

According to the state, the district's enrollment is about 310 students, up 23 students from last year.

Starting teacher salary in the district is about $33,000 a year, according to Whicker. The salary schedule tops out at about $67,000, he said. The district has the equivalent of 26.5 teachers this year, Whicker said.

The complaint was filed with the state labor relations agency.

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