Juneau’s teachers’ union and school district officials say they’re optimistic both sides will accept the tentative agreement reached Wednesday night.
Final details will not be forthcoming until early next week, when the proposal goes to teachers, according to Sara Hannan, spokesperson for the Juneau Education Association negotiating team.
“In that final round, we were going back and forth with counter proposals verbally and agreed that night that until we have it all in writing, we wouldn’t release it,” Hannan says. “But we have to release it and our bylaws require we release it to our members in writing for a full week before they can vote on it.”
Alaska statutes require that initial proposals, last best offers, tentative agreements before ratification as well as final agreements are public documents and can be released to the public.
Hannan says the two-year tentative agreement improves teacher salaries and benefits.
“Our team believes that our teachers will see small improvements in language, monetary benefits including wages and health benefits, and personal leave,” she says.
On Tuesday, Superintendent Glen Gelbrich told the district budget committee that negotiators were weighing an offer that would increase the budget about $1.3 million.
“That included the offer that was on the table at the time with our teachers association and the implications that that offer would have for our other employee groups as well,” Gelbrich says. “And all I can say is that just in terms of the amount there will be a modest change to that number, based upon the (latest) agreement.”
It’s expected the tentative agreement will go to teachers early next week, with a vote scheduled seven days later. Then the school board will vote.
The last year of bargaining has been marked by impasse, failed mediation, and arbitration. Teachers have been working without a contract since June, when the previous one expired.
The arbitrator’s advisory report is expected early next month. Maybe it won’t be needed. Both Hannan and Gelbrich are confident both sides will approve the proposal.
NOTE: This story updated Friday afternoon with new information.