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Kenai Peninsula Education Association &
Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association

Representing educators and education support staff on the Kenai Peninsula

We have just launched a 2020 Reopening page here on our website to help you find information you need about reopening and to give you tools to take action. Please take a look. This page will be updated regularly.

2020 Reopening >>>

Good evening, educators. I've transcribed and organized my notes from today's Leadership Academy in an effort to bring as much information to our members as possible. You received an email today introducing me (Nathan Erfurth) as the point person on the Smart Start plan, so please feel free to contact me via email or Facebook, or contact your building rep to voice your concerns. 

Some highlights:

  • Masking will be required for all staff, and for students grades three and up.
  • The board has requested of DEED that KPBSD be funded based on last year's enrollment rather than this years, since a dramatic budget impact may happen with the number of students moving to alternative online options.
  • Pay was increased for subs recently, but we still need recruitment.

A brief summary of some areas of concern:

  • No barriers or any other PPE beyond state-provided masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer will be provided by the district.
    • Additional barriers are a site-based decision.
    • Educators are strongly discouraged from implementing their own barriers, and if they do must get approval through their building admin and facilities. There is a Plexiglas shortage, so requests for barriers from district will be prioritized by need.
    • The fire marshal does not want many barriers, citing too much plastic in classrooms may be a hazard if there's a fire.
  • Buildings will not be retrofitted with sufficient filtration.
  • There is not yet a plan for winter, when we have to teach indoors, but cannot have outdoor air piped in through central air systems due to low temperatures.
  • The sub problem is not yet addressed; advice was to have educators do their best to encourage community members to sign up to sub.
  • There is not yet a clear tool to determine how various types of leave would be used due to a positive test, symptoms, or because a student tests positive. HR is working on it. Cited are the nearly infinite possibilities in leave needs, and the complicated leave landscape.
  • Options to telework are dependent on the number of students attending school in person at your site; it may not be permitted if you are needed there. This is handled case-by-case.
  • Most decisions have been left to site leadership teams, leaving us with few answers and placing the weight of these choices (and their consequences) on administrators.
  • There are more questions than there are answers.

Please see my notes for details on these concerns and highlights. I have also linked, in a few places, relevant literature and tools.

I have received many questions and concerns about safety. I am answering them as I am able. Please keep them coming. It's my honor to represent you.

- Nathan

The letter that was sent by the Executive Board of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association. 

Here is the proposed Student Bill of Rights advanced by NEA-Alaska.

HSA Overview Document

Available information about the HSA is posted here.

HSA Overview Document

View the Tentative Agreement between KPEA-KPESA and KPBSD here.

Bargaining >>>

State of the Bargain, Sept. 13, 2019 (PDF)

The September 12th 2019 negotiating session was not publicized. After receiving threatening phone calls Wednesday, the Associations and the District felt it was prudent to move forward with an abundance of caution.

Then KPBSD provided us with their proposal. Their proposal increases the District contribution to the healthcare cap by $300 over the current HDHP rate. Employees would be expected to pay $455.27 per month for health insurance over nine months. 

Our team responded with a counter proposal. Our Counterproposal had the same health insurance plan as our previous proposal, so under our proposal employees would be expected to pay $204.92 per month for health insurance over nine months.

Other changes include this change to the 2.0% increase for FY21

The parties have expressed concerns related to FY20 money outside of the funding formula. Should KPBSD receive those moneys, the salary schedule increases in the amount of 2.0 percent in FY21.

Should that money be mitigated or diminished, the salary schedule increases shall be proportionate to the amount of 2.0 percent in FY21.

So our 2.0% raise for FY21 is contingent on KBPSD receiving the money. Our team is confident that we will receive the money. The District team has not been open to listening to our evidence. So instead of trying to change their mind, we made a move with this new proposal.

We also provided the District a legal opinion from Mr. Friedman’s former colleague Howard Trickey, a leading education attorney in Alaska, supporting our position that KPBSD will receive that money.

The other clarifying detail was the effective date of our health care cap. As in our previous proposals, the Associations’ propose increasing the cap to $2338.85. We proposed this increase for FY20 and our position was that it would be effective July 1, 2019. In our proposal we added that effective date to make it clear. This was not “new transition language”

At the table the District negotiating team seemed to be on the same page

Video Here (https://www.facebook.com/342612112448816/videos/355563061989587/)

And lastly, our proposal included a sunset clause of September 13th at 4:00 PM. This protects our previous position and allows us flexibility in negotiating. KPBSD did not respond to us by this deadline. The District did not request more time. They did not indicate they would make a counter proposal. Instead our deadline came and went, and they issued a press release.

The School Board has scheduled an Executive Session for Monday at 6:00pm.  The Association will available immediately after this session to talk with the District about settling this bargain.

Critical Talking Points

This bargain is about securing quality, affordable healthcare for all public school employees in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. The lack of an affordable health care option is causing educators to leave which negatively impacts students. KPEA/KPESA is ready to settle the moment the District makes an offer that reduces the financial burden healthcare premiums are having on educators.

 

  • Over the past three years’ teachers’ health insurance premiums have doubled.
  • Kenai educators currently pay the highest monthly premiums of any comparable school district in Alaska while making less money than their counterparts in other districts.
  • KPBSD has the money to settle this bargain right now.
  • KPBSD ended last year with a nonexempt fund balance of $12,807,636.00
  • KPBSD has more than $3 million in their Equipment fund
  • Despite submitting a formal Public Document request on September 7th, KPBSD has not yet told us how much they paid Saul Friedman (attorney) for negotiations.
  • In the District’s cost estimate of our proposal, they include more than 180 employees who are not paid through the general fund. The cost of these employees’ salary and benefits should not be included in the cost estimate given to the Associations and the School Board. We have asked for weeks for them to be removed from the cost estimate.
  • We anticipate health insurance costs will be lower than Brokers and Dave Jones is portraying to the board. The new plans have higher deductibles than the current benefit. This would lower usage. The Health Care Committee expects further savings from switching to the AETNA network. The newly negotiated contract with Central Peninsula Hospital will continue to keep costs down.

 

See more detail and more information on our bargaining page.

Your bargaining team just wrapped up yet another bargaining session with the District. As you likely know, the meeting was not publicized due to ongoing security concerns for all parties engaged in this process. Thank you for your patience and support.

Here are the key takeaways from tonight’s session:

  • The District rejected the proposal we had given them during our last bargaining session citing concerns over the fate of one-time State money currently tied up in a lawsuit between the legislature and Governor Dunleavy. Despite the Association’s presentation of an expert legal opinion that the funds will be distributed, the District would not budge on this issue.
  • The District provided a counter offer which did not satisfy our demands and would have continued to place an undue financial burden on our members and their families concerning healthcare premiums.
  • At roughly 9:30 pm, your team provided a counter offer that contained our previous healthcare proposal but attempted to acknowledge the District’s concerns regarding the one-time funding from the State. This offer would include contingency language in the contract that would tie our FY21 salary increase to the fate of the one-time money.
  • Our offer is currently with the District and we have given them a deadline of 4:00 pm on Friday, September 13 to respond.

We have been bargaining for over 575 days. For even longer than that, healthcare premiums have cut into our financial stability and peace of mind. Our recent offer acknowledges that fact and continues to place healthcare at the top of our priority list. The District is now faced with a choice that will determine how we proceed. They can choose to respect us and agree to the compromise that we have proposed, or they can reject it and we will show them how strong and united we really are.

Link to the Association's proposal and KPBSD's proposal

In Solidarity

David Brighton & Anne McCabe

 

Association Proposal:

Association Proposal (PDF)

District Proposal to KPEA:

District Proposal to KPEA (PDF)

District Proposal to KPESA:

District Proposal to KPESA (PDF)

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