School district, associations start mediation

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Monday, September 21, 2015 10:45pm
  • News

Closed mediation has begun between the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and the Kenai Peninsula Education and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support associations.

Negotiating teams for the school district and the two local associations met on Monday with a mediator, Ligia Velazquez, from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service’s Seattle office, breaking the impasse mutually declared by the three organizations in April. Currently, the only other set meeting date is Tuesday. Both will be held at the George A. Navarre Administration Building in Soldotna.

“The mediator initially meets with the district and bargaining teams to explain and discuss the mediation process,” said school district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff. “The mediator will meet separately with the district and associations in order to discuss confidential information about bargaining positions and strategy.”

During the mediation process, the school district negotiating team sits in a separate room from the negotiating teams for the two associations, which agreed to collaborate on the negotiating process for the teacher and support staff contracts, originally set to start on July 1, 2015.

The mediator will work as a liaison between the school district and both associations, Erkeneff said. The mediator, who can request a joint session at any point, will deliver questions and proposals from both sides, and identify potential areas of collaboration, she said.

“Salaries and health care are the two primary bargaining areas that have not been resolved,” Erkeneff said.

The two September dates were submitted by the conciliation service, and best worked for the school district and both associations, Erkeneff said. It is unknown at this time whether those two meetings will provide enough time to resolve anything unsettled, she said.

“Due to the confidential nature of the conversations, mediation is not open to public attendance,” Erkeneff said.

KPEA President Matt Fischer declined to comment, to uphold the privacy encouraged by the process.

The associations and the school district submitted their original offers in the form of modifications to the 2012-2013 through 2014-2015 school year contracts on Feb. 9. The school district proposed one-year contracts, and the associations proposed again signing three-year contracts.

Once a tentative agreement is reached, in which both sides agree on the resolution of a revision, the two associations and school district must separately ratify contracts. The Board of Education must approve all contracts before they can be ratified.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

COVID-19 (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 3 more COVID deaths, more than 900 cases

The newly reported deaths push Alaska’s total to 594 COVID fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

In this July 1908 photograph provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear sits at anchor while on Bering Sea Patrol off Alaska. The wreckage of the storied vessel, that served in two World Wars and patrolled frigid Arctic waters for decades, has been found, the Coast Guard said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office via AP)
Coast Guard: Wreck found in Atlantic is storied cutter Bear

The ship performed patrols in waters off Alaska for decades.

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

Kyle Kornelis speaks at a public meeting about the Runway 7-25 Rehabilitation Project on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna airport unveils revamped runway

Runway 7-25 was temporarily closed earlier this year while it underwent renovations.

Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Redistricting proposals draw concerns from local residents

The state is seeking feedback on the best way to redraw the state’s legislative district boundaries in the wake of the 2020 census.

Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Ordinance seeks more funding for sports complex renovations

Approved for introduction by the Soldotna City Council during their Oct. 13 meeting, the legislation would put an extra $583,000 toward the project

Most Read