ASD and Teacher's Union reach tentative contract agreement

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - After months of frustration over contract negotiations, the Anchorage School District announced Wednesday it has reached a tentative agreement with the Anchorage Education Association.

According to ASD, the one-year contract will extend through June 30, 2018. The current contract, which covers more than 3,300 employees, expired on June 30 of this year.

The tentative agreement includes raises for educators based on changes in their experience and education. But it was not the three percent salary increase the union originally asked for.

"This is a larger fiscal issue than just the Anchorage School District," said Superintendent Deena Bishop. "Three percent on the scale was unaffordable in our state at this time."

It tentative agreement also includes $65 a month from the district that will go toward health care benefits and two additional personal leave days, bringing the number up to five days.

Tom Klaameyer, union president of AEA, said while these negotiations have been going on, low morale has not improved as teachers are asked to do more with less.

"Financially it [the tentative contract] probably falls short of expectations of many of our members. In fact, that's a concern when it comes time to vote to ratify," said Klaameyer. "This does not adequately address the need to attract and retain high quality teachers that our students deserve."

But Klaameyer says coming to an agreement is a step in the right direction. He says this now allows the district and the union to focus efforts on the upcoming legislative session.

"This at least gets us through this school year without beating each other up and allows us to focus together on that fiscal problem the state is experiencing," Klaameyer said.

AEA members will vote on the tentative agreement between November 27 and 29. If passed, the Anchorage School Board will take action on the item at its December 18 meeting.

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