The negotiation process is in the mediation phase. We are hopeful that a fair contract settlement will be reached at this point. If this does not happen, the next step will be arbitration. If that is unsuccessful, there could be a strike.
Now is the time that we need community members to step forward and stand up for the employees and the schools. Our jobs are very important to us. We love doing what we do for kids, but we want to be compensated for the job we do with a fair and equitable salary and health-care benefit package.
We would like for our salaries, at a minimum, to keep up with inflation. This has not happened in the last 10 years. We do not feel like we are asking for the moon. We simply ask for parity with recent contract settlements in the Mat-Su, Fairbanks and Anchorage.
A few local community members have suggested that we would be hurting kids by taking strike action. Without a current contract, it is difficult to recruit and maintain quality teachers in this area.
We feel that we would be hurting kids by not fighting for a fair contract. We feel we are doing not only what will be best for the kids, but also what is best for the employees and their families by holding our ground in demand for a fair and comparable salary.
We respectfully urge the school board and district negotiating team to take a fresh look at where we are today. We want to work together to find a way to end this impasse.
We strongly encourage community members to contact the school board members and express their feelings. Please ask them to settle the negotiations now with a fair and equitable contract for all employees of KPBSD.
Wendy Todd and Debbie Turkington