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
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.