School board OKs contracts: 3-year deals cover district's teachers, school support staff

Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2009

After a little over a year of negotiations, three-year contract agreements for the Kenai Peninsula Education Association as well as the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association were passed unanimously at a school board meeting Monday.

The organizations represent Kenai Peninsula Borough School District certified staff and support staff, respectfully.

"It's a positive message," said LaDawn Druce, president of KPEA, speaking to the unanimous vote. "It feels supportive and I would hope teachers feel supported."

Druce said she felt both the district and the organizations wanted to reach an agreement.

The negotiations have been low profile compared to other union activities in the area over the course of the past year.

"It sounds like there weren't any bumps," she said. "There were bumps, but they were kept internal to the process."

The contracts are effective through 2012.

Changes to the KPEA contract include $3,000 added to every pay cell 2009-2010; and a 2 percent increase in both 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.

Changes to the KPESA contract include 2009-2010 salary increase of 4 percent; and a 2010-2011 salary increase of 2 percent. In 2011-2012, the salary schedule is condensed from 16 columns to eight plus an initial column. After condensing the columns, on average employees will receive a 2 percent increase.

Changes were also made in health care coverage for both organizations. In the third year of the agreement, if an employee desires to cover a spouse and/or children, the cost added on to the employee's portion will be $10 for the spouse, $5 for each child up to four, and $30 for family coverage; the 50/50 split remains in the language for all three years. In years two and three of the contract, all new hires working less than 6 hours a day will be given the option of opting out of health coverage.

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