Mediation yields no results for school district, associations

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Tuesday, September 22, 2015 10:29pm
  • News

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and the Kenai Peninsula Education and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support associations did not reach a tentative agreement through the closed mediation process that took place Monday and Tuesday.

From here the school district’s negotiation team or the associations, which chose to work together during collective bargaining for teacher and support staff contracts originally set to begin on July 1, may chose to again meet face-to-face or request entering advisory arbitration. The next step in the dispute resolution process, arbitration, involves a mutually selected arbitrator to recommend solutions for areas where an agreement has not been reached.

School district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff, speaking on behalf of the school district’s negotiating team, and KPEA President Matt Fischer and KPESA President Patti Sirois, who were speaking on behalf of the associations, said they will not discuss the content of the mediation. The school district sent out a press release following the conclusion of the process Tuesday.

The school district “is still analyzing and reviewing what occurred in the mediation process,” before they submit a decision to move into arbitration or meet again face-to-face, Erkeneff said.

The teacher and support associations compiled a mutual statement Tuesday. Fischer said the statement generally addresses the 2015 collective bargaining process, not specifically mediation.

“The main sticking points remain salary, health care and contract duration,” according to the statement. “The (school) district is offering a one-year agreement (for this current year) that includes a one-time only $500 bonus outside of the salary schedule and the addition of an optional, high-deductible health care plan. The last offer from the associations was for a three-year agreement which includes a 2 percent increase to the salary schedule each year and a common sense and affordable health care plan.”

Fischer said offering competitive salaries, benefits and health care is essential because it encourages educators to work and continue working on the Kenai Peninsula.

While the school district also did not comment directly on mediation, Erkeneff cited concern over available funding as one reason for the lack of a tentative agreement.

“Throughout these negotiations which began in early 2015, our hope has been to reduce the rising cost of health care,” Erkeneff said. “The uncertainty of education funding in our state is also a concern that impacts wages and salary.”

Erkeneff said the American Arbitration Association provides a list of arbitrators the school district and associations may choose from if a party decides to request arbitration.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Carol Freas (right) helps a voter fill out absentee election materials in Kenai City Hall ahead of the Oct. 4 municipal election on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Absentee voting already underway

Absentee in-person voting has been made available across the borough

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
What’s on the ballot: Reapportionment, new field house, school bond

Voters will decide on ballot measures that address schools, public safety and legislative bodies

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out elements of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Aging school on the brink

Renovations are cost prohibitive at Soldotna Elementary

Rep. Mary Peltola, an Alaska Democrat, delivers a speech on the U.S. House floor before Thursday’s vote approving her first bill, establishing an Office of Food Security in the Department of Veterans Affairs. It passed the House by a 376-49 vote, although its fate in the Senate is undetermined. (Screenshot from official U.S. House video)
Poll: Peltola’s a popular pol

Food for vets bill passes House, pollster says she is “the most popular figure in Alaska right now.”

A parking sign awaits the new executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund at its Juneau headquarters, Three finalists will be interviewed for the job during a public meeting Monday by the fund’s board of trustees, who are expected to deliberate and announce the new director immediately afterward. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Interviews, selection of new Permanent Fund CEO set for Monday

Three finalists seeking to manage $73.7B fund to appear before trustees at public meeting in Juneau

Principal Sarge Truesdell looks at cracked siding outside of Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The siding is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Split siding at SoHi

The damage has been given patchwork treatment over the years

Most Read