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Tentative agreement reached for school district and support staff association


The negotiating teams for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and the Education Support Staff Association reached a tentative three-year agreement May 9. The agreement will require ratification by the ESSA membership and the Board of Education before it can be finalized.


ESSA members are scheduled for a ratification meeting on May 18 at the West Valley High School DeWild Theater.


“The ESSA is happy with the outcome of our negotiations with the district. The professional atmosphere led to open conversations and problem solving,” said Daryl Walker, the chief spokesperson for the ESSA team. “We move forward now to support the district’s ability to provide a quality education to all our students.”


The School Board is scheduled to vote on the agreement at the June 4 regular meeting.


“The negotiations process with ESSA was very positive. The teams started with an interest-based bargaining model to identify interests and lay the foundation for common solutions,” said Superintendent Karen Gaborik. “I am so pleased we are able to take care of our support staff with a reasonable salary increase. ESSA staff are the backbone of our district, and we are grateful for their work every single day.”


The previous three-year agreement expires June 2019 and negotiations between the two teams opened when initial proposals were exchanged March 8, 2019. ESSA represents approximately 40% of school district staff, such as secretaries, aides, custodians, nurses, and nutrition services personnel.


Some key points of the new tentative agreement include:



The tentative agreement would provide a 2 percent increase to the salary scale for each of the next three years.


Health Plan

The teams agreed to maintain the current healthcare structure to include a hard cap of district contributions set to go into effect after the second year of the contract.


Lead Nurses Compensation

Registered Nurses providing oversight to LPNs and Health Assistants were given an additional $2.00 per hour for their guidance and expertise in managing student health needs.  


Longevity Recognition

Both teams agreed to personal leave increases in recognition of support staff who have been with the District for over 10 years.  


The full final tentative agreement is available on the school district website at