Anchorage school district, teachers reach tentative contract agreement

Posted: Monday, May 01, 2000

ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage School District and its teachers have reached a tentative deal on a new three-year contract.

The district's 3,200 teachers, school nurses and librarians were to gather for a ratification vote Monday night.

The proposed deal was announced about 11 p.m. Sunday and it came after five months of often strident negotiations and a weekend of talks that included a Seattle-based mediator.

``To be perfectly honest, it doesn't do everything we wanted, but it makes significant enhancements in the recruiting of new teachers,'' said Anchorage Education Association President Rich Kornberg.

``We didn't get everything we wanted, either,'' said Anchorage School Board President Peggy Robinson. ``But we're satisfied the tentative agreement satisfies most of our joint bargaining priorities.''

The agreement would take effect July 1. It includes pay increases for teachers over two years of the contract, with the largest boost in the first year. The raises would range from 3.4 percent to 7.7 percent, depending upon experience.

There is no increase slated for the second year. Teachers would get a 1 percent raise in the third year.

Other contract provisions include:

$3.1 million to be distributed this fall to achieve equity among bargaining unit members, as determined by the union.

Salary schedule revisions, including $32,600 for new starting salaries, up from $30,079; and topping out at $62,266, up from $59,255.

A $500 bonus for earning a master's degree.

Increases in the district contribution to health insurance.

The two sides had been $13 million to $15 million apart before the weekend negotiations.

The school district originally offered a two-year contract worth $9.2 million in increases the first year and $3.8 million more in the second year. The offer included minimum pay raises of $1,250 for each teacher.

The union originally proposed a one-year contract that included a $3,500 raise for each teacher, plus an extra raise for experience to make up for one of the years when salaries were frozen.

That contract would have cost the district at least $26.5 million.

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