Education

Contract negotiations underway between Anchorage School District and teachers union

Anchorage School District, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pandemic

Contract negotiations are underway between the Anchorage School District and the Anchorage Education Association, and initial contracts have been released by the district and the union that represents 3,100 teachers and certified employees.

The district’s initial proposal would run through June 2024, with no change to union members’ pay scale for three years.

AEA is proposing a one-year contract to cover the 2021-2022 school year and a 3.5% increase to the pay scale for educators and employees.

AEA President Corey Aist said it seems acceptable to ask for a “moderate increase” in salary and health benefits. “Every other association” within ASD has gotten increases, as well as Superintendent Deena Bishop, Aist said.

“If you look at their proposal, there is no increase in the salary schedule over the next three years, so basically they’re asking teachers to get zero, zero and 0% raise,” Aist said.

School district spokesman Alan Brown said the district’s proposal doesn’t mean AEA members wouldn’t get raises over the three-year period. He said they can complete supplemental education to get a pay raise, and members get 2% raises each year they are part of the union.

Brown also said in an email that, “judging from the team’s initial proposal, health insurance will be a significant focus during these negotiations.”

ASD’s initial proposal, released on April 14, requests that AEA members join the district’s self-funded insurance plan.

But AEA wants its members to continue to receive health care through the Public Education Health Trust, which Aist said has been successful in managing cost increases over the years and keeping increases below the industry standard. AEA’s proposal asks the district to increase contributions to monthly health premiums.

“Educators have been working really hard this past year, have been doing everything the district has been asking them to, plus more, to support students and families,” Aist said.

Both the union and the school district have agreed to open bargaining, meaning members of the public can livestream sessions. Negotiations continue April 21.

Brown said it is difficult to know how long bargaining will continue, but past negotiations have gone on for months.

Samantha Davenport

Samantha Davenport is a former ADN reporter.

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