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Tentative deal reached: Mat-Su school district and teachers union announce new teacher contract

After 18 months of negotiations, both sides finally strike a new deal
Teachers sit in unity during a school board meeting. Mat-Su teachers have worked under old contract for over 18 months
Teachers sit in unity during a school board meeting. Mat-Su teachers have worked under old contract for over 18 months(none)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 2:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On Thursday afternoon, leaders from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School district and the Mat-Su Education Association held and a joint press conference announcing both sides have reached a compromise on a new teacher contract.

“We’re happy to announce we’ve made a tentative agreement with the union and the district regarding the MSEA’s collective bargaining agreement,” MSBSD Superintendent Dr. Randy Trani said. “What I’m most excited about is we’ve come up with a solution, a compromise over a long period of negotiations. I’m happy that we’ve been able to come to resolution. We can focus on the most important thing which is educating kids.”

The deal comes days after MSEA members voted to authorize a strike.

“We are very excited to come to a compromise agreement,” MSEA President Dianne Shibe said. “We are about to sign a tentative agreement and we will put this agreement out to all of our members to see if they will ratify it, I believe they will be pleased when they see it.”

MSEA members still need to ratify the contract. The tentative deal is for three years which includes a two percent increase in each year.

“It’s a three year contract but is retro to last year because the association went without a contract last year,” Dr. Trani said. “So its last year, this year and the following year.”

Insurance benefits were another sticking point in negotiations, and Shibe said that information will have to wait to be released until all members are informed and educated on the insurance language.

“Right now MSEA is setting up times for to push out information and educate our membership on what the agreement entails,”Shibe said. “Those education pieces will begin on Monday and will run for a couple of days. Next week we will put the ratification votes to the members.”

Shibe hopes to have the contract ratified late next week or early the following week. Once complete, the contract goes before the school board for approval.

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