Anchorage School Board Approves Teacher Contract

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.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

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