Contracts a Hot Topic at School Board Meeting

Shaylon Cochran

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     The Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board met last week in Homer.  One of the hot topics up for discussion was teacher and staff contracts, as presidents from both the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and the Education Support Association addressed the Board.  

     Margie Warner is the president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association, or KPESA.  She had a simple request for members of the School Board.

     “When you’re in these buildings, visit with the support staff," she said. "Ask them what they do ... what fills up their day."

     Warner praised the district’s teaching staff, but posed to the Board some questions about the role of the support staff she represents.

     LaDawn Druce also addressed the Board.  She’s president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association.  She focused on the proposals being made by both her organization and the District as contract negotiations for teachers continue and made the case for a return to a defined benefit for retirement plans.

     Druce also spoke to proposed legislation in Juneau that would create a fourth tier in the Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS, asking for their support of the measure.  That legislation passed the Senate, but stalled in the House last year.

     The next step in the bargaining process is currently in what’s called Dynamic Status Quo.  Essentially, the staff is starting the year without a contract, while the contract for 2012 rolls over into this year. In October, the District and the Association will go into non-binding arbitration, with each side presenting their case to an arbitrator.  

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