After 18 months of negotiations, Mat-Su School District and teachers union reach tentative contract agreement

Class desks in front of clear windows with alternated yellow and blue tints
A classroom at Dena’ina Elementary School near Wasilla. (Mat-Su School District photo)

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District and local teachers union announced Thursday that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

The announcement follows more than 18 months of negotiations, and a recent vote by the union authorizing a strike if a compromise couldn’t be reached.

“Both sides were very generous with each other in compromising,” president of the Mat-Su Education Association, Dianne Shibe, said during a news conference about the possible contract. “We are very pleased with the district and their willingness to work with us.” 

Union members still need to approve the contract, and so does the Mat-Su School Board.

For more than a year, the union’s nearly 1,300 members have been working without an updated contract.

If the new three-year agreement is approved, it would begin in 2019, when the union’s last contract expired. The agreement includes a 2% salary increase for union members each year — including one applied retroactively to last year, said Mat-Su Schools Superintendent Randy Trani.

“I’m happy that we’ve been able to come to resolution,” Trani said, “and that we can focus on the thing that’s most important, which is educating kids.”

Mat-Su students started the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 19. The Mat-Su School District is Alaska’s largest school district to hold in-person classes this fall. 

RELATED: ‘It has exceeded my expectations’: Here’s what in-person school looks like in Mat-Su

Tegan Hanlon is the deputy digital editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at

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