Gelbrich passed up by Kalispell; JEA-district resume bargaining

Juneau School District superintendent Glen Gelbrich will remain in his job for a while.  He has not been selected to lead Kalispell Public Schools.

Gelbrich was one of five finalists for superintendent in the Montana community  near Glacier National Park.  He interviewed with the district’s education board earlier this week.

Cle Elum, Wash. superintendent Mark Flatau was the front-runner, according to the Daily Inter Lake newspaper in Kalispell.

Gelbrich said last month that he applied for the job because it would have put him closer to family.

He has been superintendent in Juneau since 2009 and last year signed a three-year contract with the Juneau School District. It expires in June 2016.

Meanwhile, Juneau teachers and the administration go into negotiations again Thursday.  Teachers have been working without a contract for nearly a year and have unable to reach agreement.

The Juneau Education Association still hopes the district will agree to a raise, but has scaled back its proposal.

Dirk Miller is JEA spokesman. He says the latest proposal was presented to the district last week in what was described as a positive meeting.

Teachers have been picketing school board meetings this fall and even threatened a strike if efforts fail to produce an agreement.  Their one-year contract, which included no financial increases, expired last June.

Miller says teachers are more positive as negotiating teams go into Thursday’s session.

“I can’t tell you how close, but we have come a lot closer. So we are moving, we are negotiating.  I hope to see that same effort on the district’s side,” Miller says.

Calls for this story were not returned by district officials.

After several delays, the two sides await an arbitrator’s decision, due sometime next month. It will be advisory only.

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