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, employees to resume contract talks

After contract negotiations hit a standstill, peninsula educators and staff voted May 22 to strike.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and two peninsula educator and staff associations will resume contract negotiations Aug. 13, David Brighton, president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, said.

“We’ll see what (the district) have to say,” he said. “I hope we can come to an agreement and avoid a strike.”

Pegge Erkeneff, communications liaison with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, said in an email that a time and place has yet to be determined.

“The district is hopeful that a agreement can be reached,” she said.

The Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association remain without a contract after their last bargaining session, June 11, ended without a labor agreement.

The district offered ideas for a new contract at the June meeting, which took place just weeks after the associations voted to strike.

After contract negotiations with the district hit a standstill, peninsula educators and staff voted May 22 to strike, with more than 75% of certified staff voting “yes” on a walkout. The associations planned to choose a strategic time to start the strike.

For over a year, contract negotiations between the borough school district and the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association have snagged on the rising cost of health care. A previous agreement effective through June 2018 remains in use for employees without contracts.

The associations are required to give the district a 72-hour notice ahead of any strike. District employees cannot be fired for participating in a legal strike.

Brighton said the strike will not impact sports, which are already starting up prior to the school year’s start Aug. 20.

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