I have dedicated my professional life to helping students become the best version of themselves. I love going to work each day engaging with students in the learning process. For the last few years, I have had the honor and privilege of serving as the president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association. I miss the daily interactions with students, but I know that everything I do is focused on one mission — to improve student learning.
I do not want to strike. I do not want the disruption a strike will create, but I can’t ignore the impact of the status quo. A record number of teachers moved last year due to low wages and higher health care costs. Among those who left were the 2017 Alaska Teacher of the Year, James Harris, and multiple BP Teachers of Excellence.
We have always attracted excellent teachers to the Kenai Peninsula, but I’m afraid we’re losing that ability. I have two boys in our school system and I want them to get the same excellent education their older brother got. This cannot happen without a contract that will attract and retain excellent educators. Our offer to the district brings us in line with comparable districts regarding the cost of health care, an issue we’ve been dealing with for years.
The school board has the opportunity to get our district back on the right track, attract new educators, and retain those of us who still want to raise our families here. They have the money and the power to stop this strike. I truly hope they do so.
David Brighton is president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association.
• David Brighton is president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association.