Teachers and school support staff will get a 3.5 percent pay hike in the first year of a three-year contract worked out by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and education associations.
The contract must be approved by Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association members and by the board of education.
During a news conference Tuesday conducted by all bargaining group representatives, it was announced the tentative agreement has been posted on association Web sites for members to review before attending information meetings slated for Tuesday at the new Seward Middle School, Wednesday at Soldotna High School and Aug. 17 at Homer High School.
A ratification vote will be scheduled for sometime during the first week of September.
At the news conference, KPEA President Cathy Carrow said, “We felt really good about the Interest Based Bargaining process we used this year.
“We used a federal mediator as our trainer who instructed us in such things as active listening, open dialogue and searching for solutions,” she said.
The school district and teacher and support staff associations elected to use the IBB process rather than the traditional form of negotiating, following highly contentious contract negotiations three years ago.
“We made two major accomplishments,” Carrow said. “We reached the tentative agreement and we re-established our relationship between the district and the associations.”
In addition to the initial pay raise, KPEA and KPESA members will receive a 2.5 percent increase in the second year and a 2 percent raise in the third year.
Other changes in the contract include a provision allowing accumulated sick leave to be used as bereavement leave, allowing members to cash in three of four personal days per year and adding some longevity bonuses for members in their second or third year in a salary range with no room for movement.
Support staff members who work less than a four-hour day typically food service workers will now receive personal leave. Prior to this agreement, if they worked less than four hours a day, they did not, according to Patty Rich, KPESA representative.
KESA has approximately 600 members and KPESA has 500.
School district Human Resource Director Tim Peterson said the bargaining representatives worked at the table for a combined total of seven weeks to reach the tentative agreement.
He said perhaps the biggest challenge facing the groups in the future will be “continuing the trust we’ve developed over the past year.”
Besides Peterson, school district negotiators included Chief Financial Officer Melody Douglas and Lynne Sandahl. KPEA was represented by Carrow, Katie Turnbull, Tim McIntyre and LaDawn Druce. KPESA bargainers were Rich, Terri Woodward, Marnie Bartolini and Richie Cafferoy.
Following ratification by members, the school board will vote on the contract at its next meeting, on Sept. 11.
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