ASD and AEA reach tentative contract agreement, again

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District and the Anchorage Education Association announced together on Friday that they reached a new tentative agreement, in regards to teacher contracts, again. This comes after members of the local union voted to reject the previous tentative agreement, back in November 2017.

The new contract will extend through June 30, 2018, according to the joint press release. It is described as a "one-year contract," because the current contract – covering over 3,300 employees – expired last year on June 30.

While the new agreement does not include a cost-of-living raise, it does include a "step and column" raise. According to Catherine Esary, director of ASD Communications and Community Outreach, employees have been receiving these raises – based on their education levels and time of service – since July 2017. She explains that Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop decided to approve these raises last summer, prior to negotiations being finalized, so employees would receive payment even after the initial contract expired.

The new tentative agreement includes the following highlights:

• A one-year contract agreement that expires on June 30, 2018.
• Salary increases for employees making applicable "step and column" movements.
• District health insurance contributions of a $65 increase per month, per employee, for health care benefits.
• Additional personal leave days.
• And $800,000 added to the District Health Reserve Account, for the benefit of AEA members.

On Friday, Channel 2 News reached out to Tom Klaameyer, union president of AEA, in order to get more specifics about what is different compared to the last contract offer that teachers rejected.

While Klaameyer says the new tentative agreement "clarifies language about working conditions," he would not elaborate further. He adds that the union is currently preparing a summary of the new proposal for members. He expects that this information will be posted to AEA's website, today. And as a result, Klaameyer says he didn't want to comment on the specifics, until the membership gets to view the changes.

AEA members will vote on the tentative agreement, between Feb. 13 and 16. If passed, the Anchorage School Board will take action on the item at its Feb. 20 meeting.

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