On the eve of the new school year, the Juneau School District and Juneau Education Association have reached a tentative agreement.
After months of negotiations, the administration and teachers union reached impasse in May and called for mediation.
Juneau attorney Vance Sanders met with both sides on Wednesday and Thursday. JEA president Ben Kriegmont called them intense days.
“Vance Sanders did a great job,” he said. “You know I think both the school district and JEA moved away from some things that they wanted so we could reach an agreement.”
In a news release, District Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich said the two sides “were able to develop an improved contract within severe financial limitations.”
The teachers’ last three-year contract expired on June 30th. Kriegmont said it’s disappointing the new agreement is for only one year.
“It doesn’t really put it behind us for very long. I believe December is when the district or the association would file a letter to open negotiations, which we’ll do,” he said. “When they’ll schedule the first negotiation sessions probably won’t be until January, but for the new year that’s where we’ll be; looking at getting back to the bargaining table.”
JEA has about 400 members. Kriegmont said they will vote by Aug. 30th on the tentative agreement. The school board will take a ratification vote the following week.
The 2012 – 13 school year begins Monday.
- Juneau Finance Director Bob Bartholomew projected Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of about half of dividend funds will cost the city.
- Only three votes now separate two northern Alaska House candidates. Dean Westlake of Kotzebue has 780 votes, ahead of 777 votes for incumbent Rep. Ben Nageak, who’s from Barrow.
- Bus passes, child-care assistance, work clothing and other resources to get low-income tribal members into jobs are being cut in seven Southeast Communities..
- The U.S. Northern Command and Coast Guard have launched a major field-training exercise off Alaska’s northwest coast. Arctic Chinook is intended to demonstrate how local, state and federal agencies would respond to a simulated cruise ship accident. Coincidentally, a big luxury cruise ship will sail through the area while the exercise is under way. And to further complicate things, bad weather has just set in.