The Anchorage School Board unanimously approved a new contract for teachers on Monday night.
The district saved money in two ways, by not providing benefits for some part-time teachers and by issuing bonuses that do not count toward benefits for other teachers instead of increasing their salaries.
The new contract impacts about 3,500 teachers who are members of the Anchorage Education Association.
It was negotiated over the past six months.
It gives teachers a 1 percent salary increase for the next three years along with $1,500 bonuses in the first and third year.
About 150 part-time teachers will lose benefits. Salaries for all the other teachers will not keep up with inflation and the bonuses will not count toward benefit programs.
For several years now, the district has been wrestling how to deal with the ballooning cost of benefits.
The district’s CFO encouraged the board to approve the contract and school board members expressed overall satisfaction with it.
Board Member Natasha Von Imhoff, although she voted yes, said she had worries about how the district would pay for the additional $24 million the new contract would cost them and noted that that the district can’t afford it without additional funding from the state legislature.