Anchorage teachers agree to 1-year contract extension with raise, bonus

Members of the Anchorage Education Association voted this week to accept a one-year contract extension, which includes 1 percent raises next school year and one-time bonuses for the union's 3,400 educators.

The Anchorage School Board still must vote on the extension to the union's current three-year contract. Andy Holleman, Anchorage Education Association president, wrote in an email to the union early Wednesday that the board had already reviewed the extension and would likely approve it.

By extending the current contract, the union and Anchorage School District administrators have pushed off formal bargaining until next year. The union would have started bargaining in January. But Holleman said last month that union members worried their contract would get caught up in budget debates in Juneau as lawmakers wrestle with a multibillion-dollar shortfall.

The decision to extend the contract grew out of conversations between union officials and School District administrators, Holleman said last month in an email to the union.

The contract extension includes 1 percent raises for each cell of the salary schedule plus one-time $1,000 bonuses in October 2016. The School District would also increase its contribution to health insurance premiums by $40 a month -- from $1540 to $1580. The expiration date on the contract would move back a year, to June 30, 2017.

Holleman said in an email that the union would not reveal the voting results on extending the contract.

The union's current three-year contract started July 1, 2013, and gave educators 1 percent annual raises, plus $1,500 bonuses in the first and third years. This school year, a teacher with a bachelor's degree, at the bottom of the pay scale, earns $48,402. A teacher with a doctorate and who has reached the highest step on the 20-step pay scale earns $89,091.

In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District, a starting teacher at the bottom of the pay scale earns $46,213, according to the Mat-Su Education Association contract. In Fairbanks, that teacher earns $48,308, the union's contract said.