Members of the Anchorage teachers union have voted to approve a three-year contract, the union president announced Monday. The vote marks a significant step forward after months of tense contract negotiations between the union and the Anchorage School District.
The Anchorage School Board still must approve the contract. If it does, the contract will take effect retroactively to July 1, 2018, and will expire June 30, 2021.
The contract includes increases to union members’ salaries and to the district’s contribution toward their health insurance premiums. The pay increase is more than what the school district originally proposed, but less than what the union asked for. The contract also includes new language that addresses a wide range of issues from physical activity for students to special education to lesson plans.
“I think it adequately addressed many of the workplace issues that we’ve been discussing,” said Tom Klaameyer, president of the Anchorage Education Association teachers union.
The union has roughly 3,300 members, including classroom teachers, counselors and school nurses. They’re currently working under the terms of a contract that expired June 30.
Klaameyer declined on Monday to release how many union members participated in voting on the contract. He said he also couldn’t disclose how many union members voted for the contract and how many voted against it. Union policy prohibits the release of that information, he said.
“I will say that our participation rate was really good,” he said.
The union’s board of directors still must certify the voting results Tuesday to make them official, Klaameyer said. He said he didn’t expect anything to change.
The school board will vote on the contract next week, according to a statement from Deena Bishop, school district superintendent. Bishop said she was thrilled to hear that the union had approved the contract.
Most Anchorage students also returned to school on Monday for the first time since the Nov. 30 earthquake.
“It has been a great Monday all around as we have been back to school today,” Bishop said.
Read the entire three-year contract here.