(Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire File)

(Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire File)

One down, one to go: School hammers out agreement with teachers union

One agreement is in place but another was postponed

Chris Cairns entered the meeting room in Juneau School District Office to mild applause.

The Juneau Education Support Staff president was making his entrance Friday afternoon on the heels of Juneau School District Board of Education’s unanimous decision to approve a three-year agreement with JESS, the district’s second biggest bargaining unit.

“We don’t have to do this for three years,” Cairns said to good-natured laughs. “Thank you all very much. I think we have established a really good working relationship for the next three years.”

After the meeting, Cairns said he thought the school board was still in executive session, hence an almost-tardy arrival.

The terms of the agreement include a raise of 60 cents per hour per cell — a step on the district’s salary schedule — for fiscal year 2020, a 1 percent raise for the next year, and a 20 cent per cell plus 1 percent increase for fiscal year 2022. Increases in monthly health insurance contributions are $25, according to the tentative agreement.

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The agreement goes into effect July 1 and ends June 30, 2022, and the net cost to the District per year is estimated to be $539,000 in the first year, $687,000 in the second, and $1,160,000 in the final year.

Still being hammered out

During the same special meeting, the school board voted to unanimously postpone giving first reading to a tentative agreement with Juneau Education Association.

Board members said by delaying the reading, it would give a chance for members of the educator union to read the terms of the agreement and possibly vote to ratify the agreement.

The meeting, which concluded just before 3 p.m. during a school day, was not attended by a teacher, and JEA President Laura Mulgrew did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The decision to postpone the first reading means at least two more meetings will be required for an agreement to be official.

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The terms of the tentative agreement were included in the meeting packet, and the agreement calls for a 1-percent raise in fiscal year 2020, a .5-percent raise the next year, and a .5 percent raise the year after that. It would also be effective July 1 through June 30, 2022.

The agreement also adds a teacher workday to the calender starting in fiscal year 2021 and an additional student day in fiscal year 2022.

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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