Anchorage School District and teachers’ union reach tentative contract agreement

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

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

On average, salaries will increase about 2% each year. Teachers will also have more opportunities for raises as they continue their own education. Teachers with masters or doctorate degrees will receive additional bonuses.

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

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

Bishop said the district and union spent much of their negotiating time discussing meetings and teacher planning time. 

The tentative agreement changes how teachers are compensated for covering other classes. Teachers can either get an additional planning period to make up for that lost time, or get $40 per hour. That’s up from the current contract’s rate of $30 per hour.

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

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

Union president Corey Aist said the tentative agreement is designed to increase earning power for all teachers. He’s hopeful it will help retain staff after a difficult last few years. 

“Educators have been working in a really challenging environment with COVID and staff shortages, and they’ve worked so hard to keep schools open and students learning,” he said. “This is a good proposal for our educators and our community.”

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

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

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