Anchorage school district and teachers’ union reach tentative agreement on contract

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The Anchorage School District Education Center road sign. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage School District and the Anchorage Education Association announced a tentative agreement Friday on a three-year contract. It includes salary increases and more opportunities for teachers to move up the pay scale.

On average, salaries will increase by about 2% each year. Teachers will also have more opportunity for increase as they continue their own training. Teachers with master’s or doctoral degrees will receive additional bonuses.

Superintendent Deena Bishop said it’s a sustainable way to attract new teachers and retain current staff.

“It lets our employees know they’re valued, lets them know that they do important work every day for the young people of the Anchorage School District,” she said.

Bishop said the district and the union spend much of their bargaining time discussing teachers’ meetings and scheduling time.

The tentative agreement changes how teachers are paid to cover other classes. Teachers can either get extra planning time to make up for lost time or get $40 per hour. This is up from the current hourly rate of $30.

Pay for Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings for special education teachers would also increase from $30 to $40.

The tentative agreement also gives Tier III teachers the option to cash out unused sick leave and put it into a supplemental pension plan.

Union president Corey Aist said the tentative agreement is designed to increase the earning power of all teachers. He hopes this will help retain staff after a difficult few years.

“Educators have worked in a really difficult environment with COVID and staffing shortages, and they’ve worked so hard to keep schools open and students learning,” he said. “It’s a good proposition for our educators and our community.”

In an email to union members, he said he was confident the teachers would want to ratify the deal.

The teachers’ union will spend the next two weeks meeting with teachers and answering questions. Members are due to vote on the deal in mid-February. The school board will consider approving the ratified agreement at its February 22 meeting.

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