First ASD, Teachers Union Proposals Far Apart

AEA President Andy Holleman. Photo from the Anchorage Education Association.
AEA President Andy Holleman. Photo from the Anchorage Education Association.

The Anchorage School District and the Anchorage Education Association began bargaining on a new contract this week. The district and the teacher’s union are discussing salaries, benefits and more. The initial proposals are far apart.

The Anchorage School District and the Anchorage Education Association published their initial proposals online Thursday. The documents show the district wants to freeze pay. Andy Holleman is president of the AEA. He says not keeping salaries linked to inflation could be bad for recruiting teachers.

“We are going to let the bargaining teams work on this and see each other’s proposals better. They’ve just seen them for a few days. We do feel like our proposal basically keeps Anchorage competitive with other school districts on the west coast, with the places where we’re trying to recruit teachers out of. And even in a year where we may lay off some teachers, we’re still going to be recruiting people from out of state to come up here and fill position in special education or math in science,” Holleman said.

What the district is proposing is about the same salary agreement that was in place. A teacher starting off in the district would make around $47,000. The starting salary for a new teacher under the union’s proposal would be around $500 more. The difference in salary for a fifth year teacher with a masters degree — is about a thousand dollars or around 2 percent.

Holleman says the district’s proposal not only stays with the same salary structure, but expands the teacher work-day by at least 15 minutes and adds four more work days to the calendar year.

Also being negotiated are benefits. ASD is proposing that teachers join the ASD medical plan rather than use their current N.E.A Alaska Health Trust plan. Holleman says the ASD plan offers less coverage. They’re also negotiating leave and planning time, among other things. The current 3-year contract expires June 30. Contracts can be from 1-3 years.

AEA represents about 3,500 workers, most are teachers.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.

Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email.

Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

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