Kenai Peninsula Board of Education approves employee agreements

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education approved agreements with its employee associations at its meeting Monday, finishing the approximately 18-month long negotiation between the district and the Kenai Peninsula Education Association — representing district teachers — and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association, which represents other school workers.

Of the sessions in which negotiating teams bargained on behalf of the two associations and the school board, only the last meeting on September 7 was open to the public. At that meeting the district negotiation team and the two associations reached agreement. On October 24, the two associations ratified the contract, and Monday’s school board approval finished the process, allowing a new employee health care plan to take effect January 1, 2017, and a new salary to take effect next school year.

The 9-member school board approved both agreements with opposing votes from board member Dan Castimore. Board member Tim Navarre was absent.

Before voting on the two agreements, new board member Mike Illg disclosed a possible conflict of interest: his wife is a part-time librarian for the district. Board president Joe Arness allowed Illg to vote, and said afterward that other board members also have spouses who work for the school district, and legal advisers had previously told the board this did not present a conflict of interest.

The new agreement — which will be in effect until the end of the 2017-2018 school year — provides teachers and staff with 1.5 percent salary increases in each of the next two school years and the same percentage increases for support staff wages. In the previous agreement, which became effective in July 2012, members of the educator’s association received 2 percent increases each school year.

The health care portion of the contract included new elements which, according to previous Clarion reporting, the district introduced to employees in its original offer to the associations made in Feb. 2015: a limit to the health care costs the district will pay per employee per month, and a second plan option with a higher deductible.

The associations’ negotiators accepted both the high deductible plan and the cap, compromising with a provision allowing employees to opt-out of the district’s health care plan immediately after the agreement is approved rather than when the plan becomes effective January 1 of the next year, as in previous contracts.

Castimore cited funding concerns in his objection.

“One of the things that concerns me about this contract greatly is the fact that it includes a salary increase up to 2018 when we are looking at declining budgets every single year for the next couple years,” Castimore said. “Typically you don’t raise employee salaries while at the same time looking to be cutting on services.”

At the end of Monday’s meeting, board members entered a closed executive session. In an interview afterwards, Castimore said the session had been the start of similar contract negotiations with the school district’s third employee association, the Kenai Peninsula School District Administrator’s Association.

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com

 

More in News

Lars Arneson runs to victory and a new event record in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
A speech, a smartphone and a bike

Circumstances lead Arneson to Kenai River Marathon record

Trees with fall colors populate the Shqui Tsatnu Creek gully as seen from Fourth Avenue on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai to use $770k in grants to remove hazard trees along Shqui Tsatnu Creek

The money will be used to mitigate hazards caused by dead and dying spruce trees over more than 100 acres of city land

Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, is shown seated on the House floor on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Alaska judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge Jack McKenna on Thursday ordered elections officials to delay certifying the result of that particular race

An image purportedly from the computer screen of a digital media specialist for Gov. Mike Dunleavy shows numerous files and folders of campaign advertising. A complaint filed against the governor, plus other individuals and organizations, claims administrative staff is illegally doing paid campaign work on behalf of the governor. (Screenshot from complaint filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission)
Dunleavy faces more accusations in campaign complaint

Governor calls it “specious and unfounded.”

A recent photo of Anesha "Duffy" Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
A 2019 photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, who went missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
Calderwood indicted for murder

Indictment charges man accused of killing Anesha “Duffy” Murnane with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20 of that year. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council gives Triumvirate more time to build theater

The Kenai City Council voted last summer to conditionally donate a 2-acre parcel of city land near Daubenspeck Park and the Kenai Walmart

Leaves fall at the Kenai Senior Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Senior Center makes plans for $715,000 endowment

The money comes from the Tamara Diane Cone Testamentary Trust

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
On Thursday morning at what police described as an active crime scene, JPD Officer Austin Thomas and Officer Taylor Davis walk the fielded area which was blocked off by crime scene tape. Multiple tents and a police vehicle sat in the field where the tape surrounded, another police vehicle sat in a dirt parking area.
No arrests made as Juneau death investigation continues

Shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday that a woman’s body was found

Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

About 21,000 people living along a 1,000-mile stretch of Alaska’s western coast were affected by the storm

Most Read