As a teacher of 21 years, I feel it is time to weigh in on the potential strike and the possible results.
Seems this crisis is a two-way street. Alaska is in its own recession and there seems to be no give other than to add more taxation onto the back of the struggling taxpayers.
Perhaps the KPEA could recommend places to trim 10% from the annual budget, which is less than the amount of loss in number of students by the district over the recent decade (a drop from in enrollment from 9,591 to 8,647 pupils).
I hear all these statements the school district needs to do … What do the members of the KPEA need to do?
The district has offered increase to its current contributions to the cost of health insurance by $3,600 per year per employee health plan member. Seems original posts by the KPEA were that health insurance coverage was inadequate.
WHY BRING IN AN ARBITRATOR and then oppose their recommendations?
The arbitrator stated the evidence is irrefutable that it is costing [the District] more to provide health care coverage than virtually all of the other comparable Districts. Yes, he also stated the cost of health care in this area is higher. The district has since increased it by $919,000. The KPEA says we’ll take it AND STRIKE.
The arbitrator recommended a 3.5% salary increase which the district said YES to. The KPEA says strike. BTW, this is in addition to the automatic 2.67% the teachers are getting annually.
The district has a limited amount of tax dollars to fund education. That is monies out of the pocket of taxpayers. I’m waiting for my Social Security to go up 3.5% and 2.67% but dream on.
In closing, YES I SUPPORT our teachers and the jobs they do, but perhaps they are being overdemanding! Perhaps they too need to accept the INDEPENDENT arbitrator who came in to help divert this crisis.
— Robb Geesen, Kenai