Kenai Peninsula Borough School District administration, members from the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association meet at a collective bargaining session to continue contract negotiations for employees who have been without contracts for a year, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District administration, members from the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association meet at a collective bargaining session to continue contract negotiations for employees who have been without contracts for a year, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

School district, employee associations continue contract talks

The district rejected one proposal from two employee associations and is analyzing another

In an all-day collective bargaining meeting on Monday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District rejected one proposal from two employee associations, and is currently analyzing another, a press release from the district said.

The associations also rejected a district proposal offered during Monday’s meeting.

President of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, David Brighton, said the negotiations are heading in the right direction.

For the last year, contract negotiations between the school district and two employee associations, Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Support Association, which represent non-tenured teachers and support personnel, have snagged on the rising cost of health care. A previous agreement effective through June 2018 remains in use for the employees without contracts.

After months of negotiations, district and employee associations could not come to an agreement, so in February, an arbitrator held a hearing to help guide contract negotiations.

The school district has offered proposals for each employee association, based on recommendations from the arbitrator’s report, released April 26.

“The district proposal accepts the recommendations in the arbitrator’s report,” Pegge Erkeneff, communications liaison for the district, said in a May 8 press release.

Since 2017, the district has provided employees with two options for health care benefits, which include a high-deductible plan and a traditional plan. Employees pay 10% of the costs for the high-deductible plan, and 15% of the costs for the traditional plan, according to the report.

The proposal made by the associations, which is now being analyzed by the district, includes salary recommendations from the arbitrator, and asks the district to migrate employees from the traditional plan to the district’s high-deductible plan. The traditional plan has more expensive premiums, meaning more money taken out of employee’s paycheck. The high-deductible plan ensures less expensive premiums, but has a higher upfront cost to employees receiving medical care.

“If the district terminates the traditional plan, we are willing to agree to the 85% split rather than the current 90/10 split, if they terminate the cap,” Brighton said. “I believe that will lower premiums for employees and make the cost more affordable for the district.”

Brighton said he’s concerned the traditional plan offered by the district will cost employees over $1,000 a month next year.

“They can’t afford that,” Brighton said. “We’re willing to accept higher deductibles.”

The associations will expect a response from the district on their last proposal at the next collective bargaining meeting at 9 a.m., on Thursday, May 16.

More in News

Council member James Baisden speaks in favor of an amendment to the City of Kenai’s budget that would add funds for construction of a veteran’s memorial column in the Kenai Cemetery during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai budget amendment allocates funds for veterans’ columbarium in cemetery expansion

A columbarium is an aboveground structure that houses cremated remains

Council member Alex Douthit speaks in favor of an amendment to the CIty of Kenai’s budget that would reduce funds allocated to the Storefront and Streetscape Improvement Program during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Funding reduced for City of Kenai’s storefront improvement grant program

Just over a year after the City of Kenai established its Storefront… Continue reading

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Hilcorp only bidder in Cook Inlet oil and gas lease sale

8 million acres were available for bidding in the sale, spread across Cook Inlet and the Alaska Peninsula region

Council member Phil Daniel speaks during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
City of Kenai approves budget

A draft of the document says that the city expects to bring in around $19.5 million in the next year, and spend $20.2 million

A sockeye salmon rests atop a cooler at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
A sockeye salmon rests atop a cooler at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kasilof River personal use setnet opening delayed

Low counts for Kenai River early-run king salmon motivate restriction

Ben Meyer, environmental scientist and water quality coordinator for the Kenai Watershed Forum, teaches children about young salmon freshly pulled from the Kenai River during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River Fair debuts with array of activities and education

Previously called the Kenai River Festival, the newly refocused fair featured booths and activities dedicated to education about the outdoors, wildlife and ecosystems

A sign welcomes visitors on July 7, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward Pride Alliance rallies after bomb threat displaces drag story hour

The event was able to continue after a delay and a fundraising effort has brought in more than $13,000

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
City of Kenai Public Works Director Scott Curtain; City of Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel; Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Peter Micciche; Sen. Lisa Murkowski; Col. Jeffrey Palazzini; Elaina Spraker; Adam Trombley; and Kenai City Manager Terry Eubank cut the ribbon to celebrate the start of work on the Kenai River Bluff Stabilization Project on the bluff above the Kenai River in Kenai on Monday.
‘The future is bright for the City of Kenai’

Kenai celebrates start of bluff stabilization project after developing for 40 years

A Kenai Peninsula Food Bank truck in the Food Bank parking lot on Aug. 4, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Peninsula Food Bank’s Spring Festival set for Friday

The event will feature a wide swath of vendors, including lots of nonprofits, who will be sharing information about their services

Most Read