Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:53 PM on Wednesday, January 11, 2012

District begins negotiations with teachers, support staff

By Logan Tuttle
Morris News Service - Alaska

Tuesday marked the start of negotiations between Kenai Peninsula Borough School District officials and employee groups about teacher contracts.

The district and the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and the Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association have begun talks in hopes of reaching contract agreements, a process that takes place every three years.

"Our goal is to complete the negotiation process with the combined team of KPEA and KPESA by the March 5 school board meeting," KPBSD Assistant Superintendent Sean Dusek said.

In accordance with Alaska Statute AS 23.40.235 Public Involvement in School District Negotiations, the board conducted a public hearing during the Monday work sessions.

Also during the work sessions, the board heard a preliminary General Fund budget presentation from KPBSD Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones about Fiscal Year 2013. The budget Jones presented is still in the preliminary phase, specific details will be available next month.

The preliminary numbers project $2,481,443 worth of expenditures over revenues, requiring use of fund balance for the deficit, Jones said.

Jones said the budget is likely to change as the district negotiates with employee groups, makes decisions about student transportation issues and learns about state and borough funding levels.

The board approved revisions to a board policy regarding criteria for closing schools. The policy now states that "Once a school has fewer than 10 students at the end of the 20-day count period in October, the superintendent will recommend to the board either:

• The school will stay in operation; or

• The school will close during the current year.

If a school has less than 10 students for one year, the school will be closed the following school year in the absence of unique circumstances as documented by the superintendent, said KPBSD communications specialist Pegge Erkeneff. If the board approves to close a school, there will be a school closure plan presented at least one month before the closure can go into effect.