The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District tentatively settled four contract points with the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and three points with the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association as collective bargaining for teachers and support staff resumed Thursday.
The agreements still leave a number of points -- including pay scales and health benefits -- unsettled, with contract negotiations continuing today.
But, while agreements were few, conversations were, for the most part, pleasant and productive.
"It seemed like it was cordial," said district spokesperson Joe Arness, offering a joint statement with KPEA spokesperson Dave Larson and KPESA spokesperson Buck George.
The teams have hit a number of snags in past months, including staunch disagreements about financial matters and legal battles stemming from an alleged e-mail security breach in the district in April. With no resolution to the legal dilemmas immediately at hand and an expired contract, however, the teams are continuing to meet and try to work through the new contract language.
The district and KPEA agreed on status quo language for contract articles dealing with life insurance, forced absences, military leave and civic leave. Likewise the district and KPESA settled on current language for articles dealing with military leave, life insurance and personnel files.
The district and KPEA teams addressed a range of topics, from unpaid leave and sabbaticals to inservice planning and grievance procedures to extracurricular program hires.
The district and KPESA discussed terms of employment, reductions in force, personal leave and resignations, among other topics.
The district also presented both association teams with new pay scale and health plan proposals, though the documents were not available for public review. The associations agreed to take the proposals under advisement.
The meeting was the first for the teams since May 31, when conversations stalled over financial matters. The teams did not meet during the summer due to scheduling conflicts.
"We're getting rolling again. We saw movement in some areas, primarily dealing with language," Arness said. "There are other areas we haven't gotten to, but we will."
The teams will meet again from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Soldotna City Hall.
The negotiations are open to the public, but comments are not taken from observers.
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