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Tentative agreement reached for school district and education association


The negotiating teams for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and the Fairbanks Education Association reached a tentative three-year agreement on Wednesday, May 8. The agreement will require ratification by the FEA membership and approval by the Board of Education before it can be finalized.


The FEA members are scheduled to ratify the agreement at a meeting on Friday, May 17 at the West Valley High School Performing Arts Center.


“It has been a lengthy negotiations process. The teachers bargaining team worked over 200 hours since October to reach a tentative agreement and we know the District's team worked just as hard,” said FEA President Sandi Ryan. “Both teams were committed to getting a settlement before the end of the school year and we're pleased to announce we made that happen.”


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


“I am so proud of both teams and the positive approach they engaged in during these negotiations. They addressed important language issues, developed innovative solutions to the Tier III recruitment and retention challenges, and established financial stability for our teachers during a time of economic uncertainty in Alaska,” said Superintendent Karen Gaborik.


The previous three-year agreement expires in June 2019 and negotiations between the two teams opened when initial proposals were exchanged Feb. 4, 2019. FEA is the largest of the school district’s three bargaining units, representing over 900 certified school district staff, such as teachers, librarians, and counselors.


Some key points of the new tentative agreement include:



The tentative agreement would provide a one percent salary increase during the first two years of the contract, and then a two-percent increase during the final year.



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.



The teams considered ways to boost the retirements of the members. They agreed the district will match member contributions up to 1 percent of the employee’s annual salary into the employee’s 403b supplemental retirement account. Teachers will also be able to cash out personal leave for further contribution to their supplemental retirement accounts. Tier III teachers will also be able to cash out sick leave for contribution to a 403b account.