School district, support staff union reach tentative contract agreement

The Juneau School District reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with its second largest employee association on Monday.

The three-year contract with the Juneau Education Support Staff (JESS) would be effective July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019. It would succeed the current two–year contract set to expire on June 30.

JESS President Cricket Curtain, who works at the Juneau-Douglas High School activities office, said she’s “satisfied” with what the administration is willing to offer.

“Negotiations were very upbeat and very give-and-take. No animosity whatsoever. Everything was kind of laid out on the table. I wouldn’t say it was enjoyable, but at the same time we did all come to an agreement,” Curtain said on the phone Wednesday.

JESS represents about 295 of the district’s 672 staff members. The employee association includes office and instructional support staff, school nurses, RALLY employees, maintenance and custodial personnel. JESS is a local affiliate of the Alaska Public Employee Association (APEA) and American Federation of Teachers.

The five-member JESS negotiation team and a staff member of APEA started contract talks with the district in December. Curtain said they used a traditional bargain process.

In a press release, JSD Superintendent Mark Miller said he’s pleased by the outcome.

“I sincerely appreciate the willingness of both teams to come together and negotiate in good faith. This cooperative effort produced a settlement that both respects the work of our employees and can be accomplished with our available resources,” Miller said.

Curtain said she can’t release details of the contract until the membership meets in May.

“We’ll have a meeting and explain the changes, how it affects them, then they vote. If they vote yes, which of course we hope they do, we’ll let the district know,” Curtain said.

The district’s Board of Education vote will follow. Details of the contract will be released to the public as part of the school board’s action.

• Contact reporter Lisa Phu at 523-2246 or lisa.phu@juneauempire.com.

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