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As the beginning of the school year nears, I wish to focus my energies on preparing my learning environment for the arrival of students. This focus has been splintered by the fact that teachers do not have a contract.
My Juneau Education Association negotiating team has been meeting with the Juneau School District representatives since February. It was only just prior to the Memorial Day weekend that our school district's superintendent came to the negotiating table. Mr. Gary Bader's lack of attendance until this late date is one indication that my district's chief administrator has yet to seriously address the issue of negotiations.
Juneau teachers are asking for a pay raise; they have not received one since 1994. A teaching colleague who retired this year discovered when her three highest years were averaged, 1996 was the highest paid year.
I wish to encourage Mr. Bader and the Juneau School Board to cease the delaying tactics and negotiate a contract giving to teachers the raise that is long overdue. The school board and Mr. Bader are as responsible as I am in working to guarantee a successful and positive start to the school year for all the children of Juneau.
Mary Beth Parsons